“A palatial spa and golf hotel, close to the Med with sumptuous suites and superb cuisine”
Cortesin's rooms are suites in the most royal sense of the word. Even Junior Suites measure in at a generous 50 sq.m., their sense of space heightened by soaring ceilings and 3m-high doors, and all but 4 have terraces where high box hedges ensure maximum privacy. Travertine marble floors are topped with handmade Portuguese rugs, and in the Junior Suites with Views, heavy curtains frame sweeping mountain vistas. Lighting has been masterfully orchestrated whilst every suite's furnishings and muted colour schemes are subtly different. Lacquered bedside tables, elegant writing desks along with stylish lamps and armchairs complete a very plush-and-pretty picture.
Pampering begins on arrival - you'll find cut flowers, a bowl of fruit, handmade chocolates and a note of welcome. Further treats await in every corner: wardrobes are huge, bathrooms cavernous with his-and-hers sinks along with a separate tub and rain shower. Taps and shower fittings are all by Lefroy Brooks whilst your soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotions are by Penhaligon. Expect the finest Egyptian cotton sheets to be adorning your kingsize bed: it will have been turned back by the time you return from dinner. Ask at reception if you'd like a dock for your iPod or a DVD player.
Executive Suites share the same design, but are much bigger, with a separate sitting room where you can dine à deux should this take your fancy. Some of these also have a sea view. If you're really pushing the boat out, book a Pool Suite and spend your days lounging by a private lap pool. These can join to Executive Suites for a family. Groups also love the majestic Cortesin Suite, which has 2 double bedrooms (though no terrace).
Finally, there are 2 beautiful Private Villas, which overlook the golf course, and allow a more independent stay. Both are 4 bedroomed (double/twins), with gardens, parking and a private pool, and you can self-cater or eat in Cortesin's restaurants.
Breakfast is taken at El Jardin, where you're served at a table dressed in crisp linen looking out across luxuriant gardens. Freshly squeezed juices, cold cuts and a tempting selection of hotel-baked breads are laid out before you: much more of a treat than hovering around a buffet. An order is then taken for a cooked breakfast: eggs Benedict, a full English, whatever you fancy.
Head to the Club House or Beach Club restaurant for simple lunches: salads, burgers, sandwiches and tapas. If you're heading for the golf course you can have a mid-round snack delivered to your buggy. Later, gravitate to Bar Azul for an aperitif before your evening meal - its hand-painted wallpaper and delicate chinoiserie has more than a hint of Raffles. Top-name champagnes, dozens of vodkas, gins and malt whiskies plus all the classic cocktails.
Cortesin's Kabuki Raw restaurant will be first choice for dinner. It is managed by the Kabuki Group, world leaders in Japanese cooking with 3 Michelin stars. Flavours and presentation are immaculate whilst an open-fronted kitchen allows you to watch the chefs constructing dishes: dine at the counter-side chef's table to really become part of the action. You can choose between tasting menus of 4, 6 or 9 dishes, or an à la carte menu. Turbot with miso, wok-tossed crab, tempura of langoustine or perhaps crispy roast duck with soba noodles or a barbequed fillet of Wagyu beef. A sommelier will guide you through the encyclopedic wine list.
El Jardin is also open for fine dining in the evenings. Its cuisine is rather less elaborate, sticking to a 3-course formula of traditional Spanish and European cuisine. Here, too, presentation is picture-perfect. Our meal began with a scrummy cold almond soup with shaved truffle, caviar and slices of apple. After this innovative entrée we chose the beef chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce: it was superb. If you prefer Italian, head to Don Giovanni.
For a change of scene, you're close to one of Andalucia's prettiest hilltop villages, Casares, where there are several tapas bars. Venta Garcia is charming, an old favourite of every ex-pat for miles around and remarkably kind on your wallet.
Families are welcome and there's heaps for them to do but note that Cortesin's spa and golf course are very grown-up focused, so it's not ideal for the little'uns. Teenagers, on the other hand, are made much more welcome and Finca Cortesin would be a great special treat for older kids. Baby cots and extra beds are available (for a fairly hefty supplement) in all rooms.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
All rooms can fit 1 rollaway bed and 1 baby cot except the Junior Suites, which just have rooom for a baby cot. The Family Suites and Cortesin Suite have 2 bedrooms and space for an additional rollaway bed. Pool Suites and Executive Suites can interconnect to sleep up to 5. The Private Villas are probably best for larger families, each sleeps up to 8 and has a private pool plus extensive gardens and self-catering facilities.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
During high season a supervised kids club operates daily for 4-12 year olds - and is complimentary for up to 4 hours a day including refreshments (it's an additional charge for a full day). They get to do arts and crafts, face painting, board games, Playstation, Wii, video game library and movies
Children of all ages are welcome in all the restaurants and eateries, including the Beach Club, on site, with the exception of Kabuki Raw which only permits children over 10 for dinner
The Olympic-sized outdoor pool is out of bounds to children. Kids are not allowed in Bar Azul. Children under 14 are not permitted in the Gym. No kids under 5 in the Spa.