We'd had some pretty good hotels on our trip to Andalucia, and we hoped that the hotel we had picked for our final three days wouldn't be any different. We wanted a comfortable room in a hotel on the beach with a nice sea view, but nothing too remote so that we could still enjoy all the facilities of a resort. Did we get what we wanted?
Well, read on...
We booked the HOTEL PERLA MARINA, in the town of NERJA, through bancotel.com. This is a Spanish based travel site whereby you purchase 'cheques' for ? 50 each. Depending on the hotel, season etc, a room costs between 1-3 cheques per night. This can mean savings of over 60% in some cases.
Being the intrepid bargain hunter (some would say tight-fisted git) that I am, I managed to book a series of 3 and 4 star hotels for ? 50. This hotel was no exception.
Nerja is around 50km north of Malaga on the south coast of Spain. The hotel is situated directly on one of the beaches at the extreme west of the town (though still an easy, 5-minute walk to the the town centre). It's easy to find as it's signposted all the way, but the streets are a little narrow and the one-way system makes it ...um, interesting. Still, we got there in the end and in fact, we conveniently parked right across the street from the hotel's front door. The hotel has private parking in an underground garage which costs only ? 1.50 per day.
We quickly stepped across the quiet street - quiet as far as traffic went, the hotel was in the process of having a large annexe built nearby...no need for an early morning call then.
The hotel was built in 1990 and has 106 rooms spread over 4 floors, all with balcony and sea-view, and is of a modern design. On entering the building, you descend a few steps to the large, airy reception area. There are all sorts of little corners with easy-chairs, sofas and occasional tables laden with various magazines should you have a long wait to check-in...or out...or maybe you just fancy a read...or a sit-down.
Speaking of reading, the upper floor of the reception area is a huge library on a sort of balcony overlooking the main entrance. They had hundreds, if not thousands of books to choose from as well as lots of board games etc. Plenty of comfortable sofas and chairs complete with reading lamps made for a very peaceful oasis.
Downstairs from the main reception led to the restaurant, function rooms, bars and swimming pool.
We checked in reasonably quickly, although I have to say the staff were a little lackadasical - maybe that's a bit strong, but they certainly weren't leaping over the counter to rush us up to our room.
Check-in completed, instead of using the large sweeping, glass-enclosed staircase, we took the elevator to our room. We had requested a room with two beds and a sea-view. What we got was a poky little room with a small double bed that completely took up all the floor space. I could see a view, not a sea-view. Granted, by carefully balancing on Mrs P's shoulders, tightly clenching my buttocks, turning my head to one side and placing my left hand over my right eye, I could just about make out something which might possibly have been the Mediterranean over the roof some buildings. Well it was blue, at least.
We might have settled for the crappy view, but there was no way we were spending the last 3 nights of our holiday bumping into each other in this closet of a room.
Telling Mrs P not to unpack the cat, we strode purposefully back down to reception. To be fair, they sorted it out in no time at all and we once more headed for our room.
We were a little apprehensive. If that other room had been so cramped with one bed, what was a room with two beds going to be like?
I'll tell you what it was like. About three times the size, that's what. Not to mention a balcony that almost hung over the sea with a full-on, uninterupted view of the Med.
See what happens when you stick to your guns?!
As I said, our room (MkII) was 3x the size of the cupboard they had try to pan us off with at first, but it was actually no more than average in size. Still, we're average people so that's not a problem. The room was kitted out in a pretty standard fashion - two comfortable twin beds (althought the pillows were anything but!), and a sideboard-come-desk thingy on which sat a small TV that had plenty of multi-lingual channels to choose from. We also had bedside cabinets and a small table with a couple of comfy chairs - all the furniture was in dark, olive-green stained wood which contrasted well with the mustard-yellow curtains and bedspreads. Pure white walls kept the room bright. There was adequate storage space in the mirror-doored wardrobe which also concealed the safe (no charge) and the A/C was quiet and efficient.
The balcony wasn't huge, but it was large enough and because of the building's design, completely private. It came equipped with table and chairs and was perfect for watching the sun go down while sipping on a beer. We only got partial sun for a while in the afternoon, but this meant it didn't get too hot either.
The bathroom was fairly roomy and completely tiled in smooth marble with wooden borders. As with most hotels in Spain, it was a 4 pc affair...5 if you count the shower! Speaking of the shower, great pressure and lashings of hot water - very good. Toiletries were fairly ordinary and nothing to get excited about, but I thought the towels were a little on the small side. The bathroom was spotlessly clean, as was the bedroom...in fact the whole hotel was immaculate.
We didn't use the hotel's restaurant as such, although we did have a snack at the poolside bar and that was fine. The bar was fairly busy without ever being crowded and it couldn't have been closer to the lapping waves without actually gettin wet. There was a far larger bar area inside the building with a stage and dance-floor. The hotel provided live entertainment most nights which at that time of year took place on the terrace. Most of it didn't interest us, but they had a pretty good flamenco show one night that we, and the many passers-by who stopped to watch, enjoyed.
The pool wasn't very large, but there were plenty of sun loungers available on the terrace surrounding the pool and in the adjacent gardens. A few steps led directly onto the beach.
All-in-all a very good hotel that, after our initial disappointment with the first room they showed us, turned out to be exactly what we wanted. Also, considering the rack rate is around ? 80, 30euros more than we paid (although that does include breakfast), I think we got a bargain into the...um, bargain.