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“Very good, very relaxing but very pricey”

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Kempinski Hotel Bahia
Ranked #3 of 34 Hotels in Estepona
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 31, 2011

Family stay (2x adults + 1x 9 y.o. child) in late August 2011.

Firstly, this hotel absolutely deserves its Five Star Gran Luxe classification. The building, service, the wonderful gardens and the pools are utterly top-notch. Zero complaints.

Taking the advice of others on Trip Advisor to avoid rooms at the back overlooking the very busy motorway, we stayed in a Deluxe 'Side Sea View' room. Very spacious balcony, well proportioned room and good bathroom (slight leakage around the shower cubicle door). No noise issues, slept soundly every night. This hotel has the quietest air conditioning we have ever experienced. Which is good, because we needed to leave it on all night at this very hot time of year.

Getting there: a week’s car hire from Malaga airport is cheaper than an out-and-back hotel transfer and it gives the freedom to move around independently. Which is necessary at this hotel, because any trip beyond the hotel’s own gardens/beach and the nearby Laguna Village cannot be done on foot. Beware very pricey food and drink at Puro Beach in the Laguna Village development (and the other restaurants there are not exactly good value either).

The driving directions on the hotel’s website are comically inaccurate. Basically you need to take the AP7 toll motorway to the Estepona Este exit, then head back towards Marbella and Malaga on the A7 free motorway. You’ll see a gigantic Kempinski sign on the LEFT of the road, pointing to the hotel on the RIGHT. But beware, the sign is located AFTER the exit into the incredibly narrow slip road (which looks like a cross between a bus stop and an F1 pit-lane entrance) which is the only way into the hotel. On arrival, a flunky will valet park your car. We were not charged for this, although this may have been an oversight.

Getting around: car essential. Carrefour is just down the road towards Estepona. Which is good for buying cheap food and drink for snacks/lunch (which will save you the 18 EUR hamburger experience at the Kempinski’s poolside bar). Try Puerto Banus for absurdly high bling levels. Good selection of restaurants around Estepona port for dinner. Gibraltar also worth a day trip, but be prepared for a long traffic jam getting to the car parks just on the Spanish side of the border. Ronda, high in the mountains, is a good historical town - a great drive up there too. On returning, just park your own car in front of the hotel: no problems and no charge. There is supposedly a charge for the underground garage, but we never used it so cannot say.

Breakfast is superb, best buffet style breakfast we have ever experienced. Very wide selection of all the usuals plus good local air-dried ham. Outside terrace is airy and staff were very good at accommodating guests who wished to sit outside.

Pools: three very large, exceptionally maintained pools with lifeguards on constant duty. 11 out of 10. Just brilliant. Excellent for kids, but lifeguards kept beady eye to prevent kids getting rowdy. Very good.

Gardens, subtropical, with plenty palm trees, running from hotel to beach. Exceptionally well maintained. Never a shortage of sun loungers. Beach towels provided. Staff will assist in shunting loungers into the shade if required. Zero insects. Wonderful. Beach is stoney. Bring a pair of silicon soled diving shoes and you’ll be fine.

Negatives: as many others have noted on this site, the food and drink is monumentally overpriced. We simply could not bring ourselves to pay the price the hotel was demanding for dinner, so eat ate every evening. And we were far from alone in this. The pool bar (home of the infamous 18 Euro hamburger) is astronomically pricey, although kid’s ice cream at 1.75 a cone (generous) was OK. Another problem at the pool bar: the staff never managed to deliver the same cocktail, to the same recipe, in the same sized glass, twice in a row. And they charged different amounts each time too. We also experienced a major mess up, with a 95 Euro charge for another party’s food being wrongly added to our bill. Beware, when two or more parties are using the bar at this facility at the same time, the staff seem incapable of ascribing items to the correct bill.

The big negative. On checkout, not only did we have to get rid of the incorrectly charged F&B items (see above) but the accommodation element of the bill originally presented to us at the desk was more than ONE THOUSAND Euros overcharged, compared to the pre-booked deal (made via the hotel’s own website) that we had secured. When we showed our booking to the desk clerk, he made no fuss about adjusting the bill down to the correct amount. But this kind of thing simply should not happen.

Overall, we had a wonderful time at the Kempinski and would definitely recommend and visit again. This is a superb establishment, let down only by its silly pricing on food and drink. Great for kids: when we were there, 80%-ish of guest were with kids, but adults were in no way disturbed by them; the gardens are big enough for all. We trust that cock-up with our bill was a one off, but we suspect that there are many guests staying in this hotel who simply wouldn’t notice a thousand euro overcharge.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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Thank AJ_and_KJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded October 10, 2011

Dear Guests,
Thank you very much for your comments on your recent stay at the Kempinski Bahía, which I much appreciated, giving much detailed information for travellers and also some valuable feedback for us to work on and to improve facilities and services further.
You are right that many GPS systems cannot get the Kempinski in the right spot and direct falsely. As we are located at the "Rio Padron" it is the safest to key in Rio Padron, as we are next door.
Your comments about our Restaurants are welcome and we are in the process of altering our concept and menues, as well as we will enhance the staff training in certain areas, to improve the services you mentioned.
We have very good news concerning our beach, as we were informed by the local city authorities that they will next year also put more attention to the beaches, which will improve our quality on leisure facilities a lot. As you may know, beaches in Spain need to be maintained by Costas, the Beach and Coastal Department of the local governments. The hotels are not allowed to touch the areas outside their properties.
My apologies for the incorrect billing of your room. I can unfortunately, not knowing who you are, check the origin of the mistake, but can assure you that this is quite unusual, and hope that everything has been solved instantly.
Thank you for staying with us and I am pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us. It would be my pleasure to welcoming you once more in the near future to Kempinski Bahía.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger Hollweg
General Manager

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Reviewed August 20, 2011

We approached this holiday with some concern based on some of the more negative reviews on here.However, whilst the hotel is not perfect, it makes for a fabulous place to unwind and relax.
We felt that the greeting and check in was in keeping with any other five star hotel we have experienced. The rooms were lovely, spotlessly clean, if slightly smaller than you might expect.
Breakfasts were superb. Comparable to the best we have experienced with excellent service.
On the down side there are three things that you cant escape from.
The location of the hotel is next to a major (very busy) highway which locks the resort into into a small piece of land that you need a car or a taxi to escape from.This is only a problem if you are adventurous.
Secondly the beach is very narrow and the rocks around the shoreline make it very difficult to enjoy a dip in the sea.This is only a problem if you enjoy bathing in the sea.
Thirdly, the cost of food and drinks is off the scale ludicrous. Apart from breakfast we ate out at some fabulous restaurants in Estepona (as recommennded on Trip Advisor) Le Petit Paris and La Pampa are superb and great value for money.
I know that the food in the hotel comes from their own eco-garden which adds to the costs but there are not many families that are going to pay €200 - 300 for dinner each night. The empty tables in all the restaurants is testimony to this.
The costs of treatmenst at The Spa were also the highest we have ever encountered consequently the facility was as busy as the restaurants.
If previous Trip Advisor reports were accurate from last year then the hotel has learnt a lot over recent months and improved the five star experience. They can't do much about their location or the beach, but they should think long and hard about the underutilisation of the restaurants and spa and their pricing policy. The drinks pricing is in line with the Ritz in London. You dont expect this on the Costa Del Sol.
Having said all of that. The gardens, pool areas and landscaping is utterly wonderful and you won't find a better place to relax and unwind than the Kempinski Bahia.
We had a fabulous time and we would certainly return again.

Room Tip: Try to get a sea view
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Gazzapster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded August 29, 2011

Dear Guests,
Thank you very much for your valuable comments on your recent stay and as much I liked your positive feedback I also would like to respond to your "can't escape" points.
Since the hotel opening in 1999 traffic has uincreased and the road next to the hotel also has become busier. As we promote ourselves to be a resort for the mobile, many guests take a rental car. Once you know that you are close to the road, guests use the positive side and find the proximity to the over 50 golf courses in the regend a big plus, and are in easy reach from Marbella towards Malaga, and from Sotogrande to Gibraltar, to explore the coastline and to dicover Ronda in the mountains.
As for the beaches, the upkeeping and cleaning comes under the responsibility of "Costas" , which is the coastal department of the Province and we are not permitted to take action there. Just last week a larger clean-up has been done and improved the beach, but the stones cannot be taken aways as it would hinder the settlement of sand.
The higher cost in meals is certainly due to the high staff level we have. We presently have 260 employees for 147 rooms, but the gardens also have 45.000 sqm, meaning the facilities are very much spread out. Also the fact that we have our own ecological vegetable garden and the fact that we only buy ecological produce accounts for the prices. But guests use to compliment the good taste of our food on the other hand. I hope you would agree on this fact also.
I would like to thank you for staying with us and hope we'll meet during your next stay at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2011

We spent four nights in the Kempinski to finish off a two week holiday on the Costa del Sol. This is a five star hotel, and fully deserves its ranking. From beginning to end, everything was smooth, friendly and relaxed; the staff really make you feel cossetted. The hotel itself is beautifully decorated in warm Spanish colours with a vast, light-filled reception area. The bedrooms are a bit smaller than others I've been in in 5 stars, but are extremely comfortable; bathroom spacious and with everything you could possibly want. Housekeeping was excellent.

I particularly liked the breakfast area (especially since the previous week we had been in a huge, noisy one in the Fuerte Estepona Suites); you could eat inside or outside, but we preferred to stay in the dim,cool, quiet interior. The breakfast buffet had an excellent choice of hot and cold foods and fresh confectionery and the service from the young, polite staff was flawless; attentive, highly efficient, low-key and friendly. In fact I would have to say that overall, the service in the Kempinski is the best we've had anywhere in Spain, including the Canaries.

We stayed in two nights and had dinner in two of the hotel's restaurants, one specialising in fish and the other in Mediterranean/Italian cuisine. Both were excellent in all respects, though I preferred the fish one because of its views to the sea. We also tried the bar at reception which serves tea and delicious cakes in the afternoon in beautiful surroundings. The pool-side restaurant was the only place we ate in where we felt that the service was not up to the hotel's general superb standards, but we only went once and might have been unlucky on the day. The waitress mixed-up our order and was a bit impatient.

The grounds and pool area of the hotel are generally magnificent; however, one aspect of the hotel that lets it down slightly is its strip of beach which is very narrow and stony - you couldn't walk along it with any comfort. There is a playground on it, though, which is great for the kids. Another disadvantage is the hotel's location as it's just off the motorway and not within walking distance of towns/villages. You need a car to go into Estepona or San Pedro. Was a bit disappointed with Estepona, it seemed quiet compared to Marbella and Puerto Banus. Overall, though,our stay in the Kempinski was a great end to a great holiday, and we would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank LaurenDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded August 29, 2011

Dear Guests,
Thank you very much for your comments and complimenting feedback on your recent stay at our property. As service makes the difference I am very happy that you noted the positive staff attitude and courteous manners. I have gladly passed it on to my team via the staff news board.
I have also well noted your comment on the pool bar service to improve upon and training has been put into action.
As for the beach, I am also disappointed that this had not been up to usual standard this summer. "Costas", the coastal department of our province, is in charge of cleaning and maintaining the beaches, and we are by law not allowed to do works there.
Thank you for being our guests this summer and we all are looking forward to welcoming you back again to Kempinski Hotel Bahía.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2011

I just left there with my family of 5. Although the facility is beautiful, the beach sucks. The rocks are so big you can't stand getting into the water. You need to stay by the pools. The pool bar only has 1 or 2 bartenders to service all the wait staff and customers. They usually served the wait staff first. Every time we got our extremely expensive drinks ($14 euros for a piña colada $8 euros for a kid's strawberry daiquiri), the first drink was already consumed before the last one got there. Every time we ordered drinks, they cost something different. Super expensive dinners for a family (think $250-$300). You pay 7 euros for an hr of Internet and more if you want it in your room. Everyone my kids asked the staff for something (like a ping pong ball to actually use the ping pong table) they were told to go to the kids club to ask. They never helped either. Once I went in to ask to a ping pong ball after everyone blew off my kids and the girl said she would bring it o me in 5 min. I waited 15 min. Then left and heard from her. Not 5 star service and way too expensive for what you get. Leaves you feeling ripped off. Just because I can afford a 18 euro hamburger doesn't mean I think I should buy one.

Room Tip: Rooms were great actually
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank Chris G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

Nearly perfect hotel; a nice garden, where You can find sun and shadow - as you want. Fine rooms (prefer the diret view to the sea, because on the dirctly eastern, northern an western side you can hear and see the main street between Estepona an Marbella). Food at the beach-restaurant is good, the view is better than in the house-restaurants. The once point to get al little minus: there is nothing arround, you can reach without a car or a taxi.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank cyberman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded August 25, 2011

Dear Guests,
Thank you for your valuable comment on your recent stay at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía, which I appreciate. It was good to learn that you enjoyed your stay and our facilities.
In reference to your comment on the location I would like to add that the Costa del Sol in general is a destination for the mobile guest , except you like to just relax and stay on property. Most guests have rental cars to make it easier to go to the nearby shopping or tourist sights.
I hope to have the pleasure to welcoming you again to the Kempinski Hotel Bahía in the near future.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2011

I stayed here with my family for 5 days mid July. We had great spacious rooms. The staff was very friendly and helpfull. The breakfast buffet offered plenty of choice although the pancake queue was too long. The children enjoyed the approach of the young people running the kids club. So definitely a good hotel but the resturant food was definitely beneath par. We were served burnt paella without a real apology. The price the food commanded was in no way related to the quality served. This was also the case for the pool bar, uninspired food but expensive. The pools are not heated which makes them chilly and the pool furniture needs refreshing

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank ElsDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2011

A proper hotel. One of the top hotels in the world. Friendly helpful multilingual staff. Clean, fresh, outsanding all round. You do really need a car if you want to get out and about and view the local area, but the hotel does have everything for the weary traveller. You can walk down the beach to Laguna beach where the beautiful people hang out. Or walk past 100 yards to Crusoes for cheaper fare. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Stewart K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 18, 2011

Dear Guests,
Thank you very much for your excellent feedback on your most recent stay at Kempinski Bahía, which I much appreciated, especially in view that you could notice our efforts of training standards and languages.
I am also likewise happy that you comment positively about our next door Laguna Village with Shopping, Restaurants and Puro Beach club, which this year has really revived.
My team and I look forward to welcoming you soon again to our resort.
With kind regards,
Rüdiger C. Hollweg
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kempinski Hotel Bahia

Address: Carretera de Cadiz, km 159 | Playa El Padron, 29680, Estepona, Spain
Phone Number:
Location: Spain > Andalucia > Province of Malaga > Costa del Sol > Estepona
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Estepona
#2 Luxury Hotel in Estepona
#2 Romantic Hotel in Estepona
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Estepona
#3 Spa Hotel in Estepona
#5 Family Hotel in Estepona
Price Range: $198 - $722 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kempinski Hotel Bahia 5*
Number of rooms: 145
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just a short drive from Marbella, the Kempinski Hotel Bahia is a lavish, five-star property sitting within breathtaking subtropical gardens, and affords extraordinary views of the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar and African Coastline. The Kempinski Hotel Bahia has created a fresh and elegant look to its 128 spacious rooms and 17 luxurious suites. It boasts a host of fabulous restaurants and bars (some seasonal), Kempinski Spa with sauna and steam room, and excellent children's facilities, amongst other things. Situated near most Andalusian cities and a mere 45 min. Drive to Malaga International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kempinski Resort Bahia Estepona
Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona, Spain - Costa Del Sol

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