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.
- 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