Firstly let's get the 5 Star thing out of the way. As many of the other reviewers have correctly pointed out, the Gran Hotel Guadalpin Banus is NOT in reality a 5 Star hotel. As there is no central regulating body in Spain like the RAC or AA to grade hotels, all hotels in Spain simply award themselves whatever stars they like. That's why 95% of hotels in Spain claim to be "5 Star" even though you could literally count on two hands the number of true 5 Star hotels in Spain such as Madrid's InterContinental or Barcelona's Rey Juan Carlos.
Even more amusingly, the hotel have actually awarded themselves "5 Stars Grand Luxe" that means Five Stars+ !
The hotel looks the part from the outside. It's beautifully designed and has several restaurants and bars and all the normal amenities you'd expect in a good 4 Star hotel. The location is absolutely the best, Just a 5 minute walk to the centre of Puerto Banus and is direct sea front.
As with many Spanish properties, the hotel was built without any planning permission whatsoever (they had the nod from the mayor at the time but he was later jailed for handing out invalid planning permissions) and the owners have been wrangling with the planning authorities for many years. They're demanding that it be knocked down but the owners are tying them up in red tape and in Spain you can drag things on for literallly decades. The reason that I am mentioning this is that because of the uncertainty, the owners aren't prepared to spend a single penny on maintenance or upgrades.
In the corridor leading to two of the hotel's Presidential Suites there was a bucket in the middle of the carpet collecting the water pouring from a leaking ceiling! I mean, would you ever find such a thing in the Dorchester,
The hotel was obviously a beautiful hotel when constructed around 15 years ago (that's how long Spanish justice moves) but is getting a little jaded around the edges.
Now for the good bit. The Spanish are generally the most stubborn and inflexible people on the face of this Earth. You can ring a hotel that has a 10% occupancy rate (as I've done, i.e. 90% of the rooms are EMPTY) and try and negotiate and they just won't budge an inch. They just say "not possible" and "the rate is the rate" and hang up on you. Take this inflexible attitude and factor in their incredible FOUR HOUR lunchbreaks (called Siestas) and they wonder why their economy is in such a mess?
The good news about this hotel is that they WILL DO DEALS! You can email the marketing manager and pick a time when the hotel is not so full (you can easily deduce this from their booking calendar - times where the prices are sky high mean they're almost fully booked and when the "classic double room" is down to about 60 Euros a night, you know they're nearly empty) and haggle the price and the upgrade you want.
I stayed for around 6 weeks and booked a Junior Suite with a Jacuzzi. I knew from the booking system that all four Presidential Suites were empty for most of my stay. I emailed the marketing manager back and forth a couple of times and negotiated a rate of just 160 Euros a night including breakfast and free valet parking (normally around 15 Euros a day) and a guaranteed upgrade to the best Presidential Suite (the one nearest to Banus) with an enormous roof terrace, roof garden and top of the line jacuzzi with dozens of jets provided I made immediate prepayment for the entire stay which I was happy to do. At that time the Presidential Suite's rack rate was around 850 Euros a night so I saved around 29,000 Euros!
The suite was magnificent and one of the few areas in the hotel that actually had been upgraded. This was a true Presidential Suite facing the sea. It had glass curtains so that you could open them up and hear the waves crashing at night. It was a superb feeling falling asleep listening to the lapping waves but one that I did repeat again. I tend to sleep on top of the quilt cover and was literally EATEN ALIVE by the mosquitoes overnight..Some of the bites took months to heal!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.