By Alan Fairfax
Like thousands of others in their later years I enjoy the sun but where do you go in the winter to find it? One of the closest locations is Spain’s Costa del Sol where the sun shines most days and temperatures reach the high teens.
Late November has me boarding my TUI flight to Malaga. Less than 3 hours later I am stepping out into brilliant warm sunshine. Entering the terminal, it’s re-assuring to see the Spanish authorities checking Spanish passenger locator forms and proof of vaccination before allowing you through to collect luggage.
My hotel was the All Inclusive RIU Costa del Sol at Playamar and what an excellent hotel this turned out to be. Recently rebuilt and transformed into a resort, with 3 swimming pools, 5 bars, 3 restaurants, free wi-fi, beautiful flower borders and amenities that would be the envy of many.
Room 5166, 1st floor overlooked one of the swimming pools, the bedroom had ample drawer and wardrobe space even for a long stay, safe, flat screen tv, 2 USB charging points and electric points of the continental style. Bathroom, twin wash basins, extending shaving/makeup mirror, hairdryer, very large walk in shower, soap and shower gel supplied. Separate toilet, sitting area with large comfy settee, flat screen tv, coffee table and sliding door to the balcony that’s equipped with chairs and clothes drying rack.
The 3 swimming pools are large, one is heated, sun bathing areas with loungers are vast whilst the pool at the front of the hotel affords beautiful views of the beach and sea. There’s also a swimming pool within the spa where you can enjoy a relaxing massage or exercise in the well equipped gym. Some of the spa services come at extra cost.
Good food is an essential ingredient on holiday and this hotel will not disappoint. Of the 3 restaurants 2 are themed, Italian and Spanish, these are included in the all inclusive package. The main buffet restaurant boasts an al fresco area offering a selection and quality that should satisfy your needs. Breakfast, select from a large selection of items including peaches, apricots, pineapple, melon, mango, fruit salad, cheeses, cold meats, salad items, for those wanting a cooked breakfast choose from eggs (poached, fried or scrambled), bacon, sausages, chipolatas, baked beans, hash browns, omelette, grilled tomato, chips, Spanish omelette, mushrooms etc. A choice of fruit juices, tea, coffee, toast. Lunch and dinner were both equally impressive. Three wines are on offer, Red, White and Rosé, all of which are on tap, collect a clean glass and fill it up, as often as you like.
The Costa del Sol is an area that has much to offer. A short distance away is the city of Malaga whose history can be traced back to the time of the Phoenicians making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Use the ‘Hop on, hop off’ bus operating two routes to explore. Relax in the large park amongst palm trees with a coffee whilst taking in beautiful sea views.
Travel west, discover the resorts of Benalmadina, Marbella and the area of large luxury yachts and film stars, Puerto Banus. Have a coffee in the sun at a pavement café and people watch, you never know who you might see. 44 miles further on you arrive at the crossing point to the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. Take the cable car to the rock summit, the views are breath taking, north across Spain and south across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier, Morocco and North Africa. The rock is famous for the Barbary Apes that inhabit, be careful not to get too close to them as they have been known to snatch cameras, handbags and the like. Don’t be surprised to see a red telephone box or a policeman in familiar uniform, yes, this is Britain in the Mediterranean.
The Costa del Sol is equally famous for its mountain villages, visit Comares situated in the foothills of the Montes de Malaga 2424ft above sea level. The village with its white buildings affords stunning views in a 360 degree vista, the peace and tranquillity are awesome.
The Costa del Sol has much to offer the visitor, sun, sea, places of interest, all within easy travelling distance by train, coach or taxi.
I was sorry to leave but I will be returning, definitely.