Spent the first 10 days of June at the Gran Melia Don Pepe Marbella. We have been visiting this hotel for many years and have already booked again for September 2014. We have been both red level guests and the standard variety. Both options are very good but overall we prefer not to be "tied" to the excellent Red Level lounge
Overall this is a high quality 5 star GL which is relaxed in its own skin. Its not stuffy like some of its peers just up the coast. However in the evening restaurant stakes its now getting skinned by the Punto Romano for sheer variety and atmosphere.
Overall Gran Melia Don Pepe deserves an "excellent" rating. This isnt too say it has no shortcomings but these are outweighed by the good points but lets start with the not so good:
1. Bar Almirante this is for those who embrace dated repetitive lounge bar music. A well furnished characterless space where in the evening a very good pianist/singer plays very dated music which stops just this side of becoming "Muzak" its not to our taste nor by the look of the number of customers in the bar (over many stays in the hotel) is it to the taste of many others (other guests we spoke to disagree with our opinion but their presence in the bar is in the minority). Most guests seem to walk past this bar on the way in or out of the hotel averting their gaze as people of our age demonstrate that they can still Jive
2. Restaurants in the evening. There is the gloom of the indoor T Bone grill adjacent to the Almirante bar. We ate there on a previous visit one October and it was an unusual experience in that we felt that some excellent ingredients had fallen in to the hands of somone used to cooking food for senior staff at an insititution. Say a prison or a bank. You often see those words in the same sentence these days. There are good views of the car park or the bar Almirante.
Then there is the very sadly unfulfilled promise of the T bone grill outside restuarant on the pool side terrace which manages to conjure up the atmosphere of a semi deserted bus station in the evening whilst serving reasonable food supported by good service. So much could be done here to improve the guest experience. We are in Spain - better we are in Andalucia - where is the passion? there is so little Spanish influence wether its music or food - an opportunity the hotel keeps missing so we wind up with a corporate pool side space serving corporate steaks. Its Okay. It could be brilliant
3. Some of the rooms are a little dated especially the (small) bathrooms
Please read on for the good stuff because there is plenty of it
1. Restaurants in the day. Breakfasts are excellent. They are served in the La Dama De Noche (Lady of the Night) restaurant (no its not open at night). Breakfast service can get busy but the staff are very competent and keep things moving along very well. The quality and variety of what is on offer is very good
Pool Bar restaurant which is also known as the Liquid Garden pool and lounge (I dont know why). Lunch here is excellent and given the quality good value
2. Main Pool and Gardens. Excellent area well maintained great atmosphere. Made even more special by Rafael who is the best pool supervisor we have ever met (and weve been lucky enought to stay in some great hotels around the world). A real people person who enhances the guest experience. He also tolerates with good humour my pathetic attempts at the Spanish language.
3. The reception staff. I would like to mention Enrique and Bonifacio (a charming old stager) who are always helpful but there are others who will book restaurants in town - help with directions and always deal with queries in a professional curteous manner. One small point why isnt there a bus time table available for the bus service in to Marbella (there are time tables for just about everywhere else in the area)
4. The location of the hotel - couldnt be better for accessing the Paseao (promenade if you are from Llandudno) you can walk in to to town which gives you access to a wide range of restaurants and bars
5. Cappuccino Grand Cafe. The complete opposite of Bar Almirante. Appeals to all age groups. Not cheap. If you want cheap go somewhere else. Limited menu but what they do they do very well. Great location. Good service. Friendly well trained staff
6. The views of the Med from floor 3 upwards. The hotel takes full advantage of its location.
Criticisms offered here are the criticism of firm friends of this very good hotel
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Melia Don Pepe Hotel Marbella
- Gran Melia Marbella
- Gran Melia Hotel Marbella
- Don Pepe Marbella
- Don Pepe Hotel Marbella