The most striking feature of the Gibralfaro Parador is the view. As you go up the winding road towards the castle, it becomes increasingly spectacular. From the top, you can see for miles in each direction, along the Mediterranean coast – sadly, not a view of golden sand, although there is plenty of beach, but of urban development. So it isn't hard to feel smug that you are up here, away from the hustle and bustle.

The most striking feature of the Gibralfaro Parador is the view. As you go up the winding road towards the castle, it becomes increasingly spectacular. From the top, you can see for miles in each direction, along the Mediterranean coast – sadly, not a view of golden sand, although there is plenty of beach, but of urban development. So it isn't hard to feel smug that you are up here, away from the hustle and bustle.

With this bird's-eye view, you can see all the main sights without actually leaving the hotel. And if bullfighting is your sport, there is no better place to watch a corrida than from the terrace. The hotel itself is surrounded by pines and hibiscuses, with a swimming-pool on the top floor, just beneath the castle walls, and a beautiful restaurant with a balcony on two sides, looking out over the bay.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

The Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro, Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga, Spain (00 34 95 222 19 02; www.parador.es) is perched on a hill overlooking Malaga, the Mediterranean coast, and north Africa. It's an easy walk into the city centre; expect to take about 10 minutes on the descent, twice as long as you climb back to the top.

Time from international airport: Malaga airport is eight miles away. A taxi ride will take about half an hour, and cost around €12 (£7.50).

Transport: Taxis are always available to and from the hotel. The train station and port are only a few miles away; a taxi will get you to either in around 15 minutes, for about €6 (£4).

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

All rooms have a view of the bay, and are air-conditioned and comfortably furnished. They all have a balcony, too – in the superior rooms it's more like a terrace.

Freebies: a good selection that includes toothbrush, comb, and eau de Cologne.

Keeping in touch: All rooms have a phone, and fax and internet points are available at reception.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles from €119 (£73).

I'm not paying that: the Hotel California, 17 Paseo de Sancha (00 34 95 221 51 65) is close to both the Gibralfaro hill and the beach. Doubles from €66 (£43), but they don't have a sea view.

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