Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort
This dusky-pink palatial hotel makes a grand first impression, backed by dramatic mountains and fronted by manicured lawns and a picturesque lake, with classical statues and cypress trees dotted around the gardens. There’s even a Roman-style amphitheatre. Inside, the delights keep on coming: Anantara Villa Padierna Palace is adorned with more than 1200 pieces of art from the owners’ personal collection. The art-loving Arranz-Villapadierna family built the hotel in 2003 and the atmosphere is like staying at an exclusive family home.
The easy elegance continues at the restaurants. The food is outstanding and the attentive service is warm and unstuffy. Choose a table on the terrace at La Loggia and tuck into a tasting menu while looking out over the lake, or head to 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant for fresh sashimi. Plush guest rooms take influence from local regions, with local antiques and works of art. Choose a room with a lake view for total tranquillity, or if you want to go all out, bag yourself the three-storey Obama Villa – named after previous guest Michelle Obama, who stayed here with her daughter.
For complete zen, take yourself off to the huge spa, which has scented steamrooms, saunas and an indoor pool. The outdoor pool area is also a highlight – it’s beautifully framed with palms and fountains and is incredibly peaceful. As part of the hotel’s personal approach, bespoke experiences such as olive oil tastings, art tours and flamenco lessons are led by local gurus. And if you’re missing the beach, simply hop on the hotel shuttle, which will whisk you to the beach club in just 10 minutes.