Hotel Claude Marbella

Marbella, Malaga & Cordoba, Spain Book from

A ritzy hideaway with stylish rooms and a roof terrace, in the prettiest part of Marbella's old town
The hippest hotel retreat in Marbella takes its name from the opera singer Claude Devoize who once lived here. At that time the house was a hub for the local intelligentsia, and the dream of its present owners, Franz and Désirée, was to hear the house ringing to the sound of animated conversation again, and to see it full of happy guests. Right now it certainly is, and their diminutive 7-room hotel - reborn after 5 years of restoration and decoration - has set a new benchmark in the boutique-is-beautiful league of southern Spanish hotels.

The focus of Hotel Claude is a marble-flagged patio where the original columns and wafer-bricked arches, along with a 17th-century well, are juxtaposed by two eye-catching purple pouffes. This same ritzy note is carried throughout the hotel: in the library-cum-drawing room where the feel is one of plush boudoir, in the black-and-white diner where you feast on inspired gourmet cuisine, and in its 7 bedrooms, which are among the sexiest in the Costa.

Highs

  • A perfect position on a pedestrian street at the heart of Marbella's labyrinthine old town, yards from some of its best bars and restaurants
  • Sumptuous bedrooms come with every conceivable gizmo
  • Don't let the 'grotty Costa' image put you off coming: the old town is pretty with a capital 'P'
  • Franz and Désirée's pride in their hotel is both tangible and justified: its creation was a labour of love for this brother and sister team

Lows

  • Rates include continental breakfast only; other items cost extra (which seems a little churlish at these rates)
  • Some rooms are on the small side (around 25 sq.m.)
  • Marbella's beaches can get crowded, and the town can feel more international than Andalucian; but as a chic city- and seaside break rolled into one, it's hard to beat
  • There's no parking - but there's a car park 2 minutes away

Best time to go

Marbella's mild, Mediterranean climate means that any time of year is a good time to be here. But don't consider coming in August: the roads surrounding the town grind to a halt, it's impossible to park and what should be a 10-minute drive can take an hour. If you take a chance and come in winter you may find that it's warm enough to sunbathe and, perhaps, to swim.

Our top tips

Marbella has always attracted the wealthy beach set and the surrounding hillsides are stuffed full of millionaire mansions. Few people are aware of just how pretty and how Spanish the old town really is: in amongst the chic boutiques and design shops there are some great little shops and tapas bars where you won't hear a word of English spoken.

Great for...

Beach
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ other meals by arrangement)
  • All ages welcome, but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are just 6 rooms and 1 suite. Each has a distinctly individual feel and takes its decorative cue from its name, but a bottom line of top-notch comfort is present in all of them. We particularly liked our Oriental room, which was tucked away beneath the beams at the top of the house, as is the gorgeous suite Francesca. However we've heard that the little Provencal room can be noisy, being by the hall.

In general, there are high padded leather headboards, chaises longues, angular wood-and-chrome writing desks and bedside tables, and plenty of wardrobe space. Colour schemes vary, as do floors, which are made of terracotta, Turkish marble or dark parquet. Beds are of kingsize proportions with a double bank of embroidered pillows and sheets of the finest Egyptian cotton.

You're treated to all kinds of nifty gadgetry: a Bosé iPod dock, 32" plasma screen TV, individually controlled air-conditioning and free WiFi. Other treats include a basket of fruit, freshly cut flowers and chocolates left on the pillow after turndown service.

All rooms bar one have open-plan bathrooms; some with rain showers, others with claw-footed bathtubs and all have handsome polished sandstone floors and stucco walls. A whole stack of Molton Brown goodies awaits you, including shower and body lotions, sea moss hydro-soak and pine milk soap, along with fluffy towels and flannels, bathrobes and slippers.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast at Claude can be taken any time from 8 through to 11.30am: you may find that you'll be turning in late, especially if you visit the flamenco club just along the street! In warmer weather you eat on the rooftop terrace which grabs a distant sea view, whilst to the north La Concha, Marbella's magic mountain, rises volcano-like above you. All rates include continental breakfast: a pretty platter of seasonal fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice, yoghurts, warm croissants and bread with jam or honey, and unlimited tea or coffee. If you book at full (non-discounted) rates, you also get hot and savoury dishes, including jabugo ham, salmon and eggs as you like. You may need to be a little patient while the dishes are prepared and brought up to the roof terrace.

Although full lunches and dinners are not currently offered, there's a snack menu available throughout the day - sandwiches, Spanish cheeses, jabugo ham, pitta and humus, gambas al pil-pil, crepes and ice cream, that sort of thing. You can also order drinks in your room (there's no minibar) or on the roof terrace.

If you really want to eat in (if you're arriving late, for example), give the staff a day's notice and they can arrange a chef to come and rustle up a simple kitchen-style dinner for you. Alternatively you're only a minute's walk away from a lovely bistrot with fresh market food called Casanis; or a bit further from Michelin-starred Skina for modern Spanish cuisine. Down on the beach you'll find Trocadero, whose authentic menus, kiddies' playground and sunbeds make it perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch; or the slightly kitschy but deservedly popular Altamirano for family-run fresh fish.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Marbella is a playground of the rich and beautiful; hit the beach and watch them on parade
  • Wander the narrow streets of the old town, stopping for an alfresco drink or meal beneath the orange trees in one of its tiny squares
  • Have a leisurely lunch in the Puerto Banus marina and watch the comings and goings of the glitterati's yachts and ocean cruisers
  • Drive up the snaking mountain road to Ronda and visit its extraordinary bridge and gorge, as well as the famous bullring
  • Put one evening aside to see a show of flamenco dance and music at Ana Maria's peña (a club). Nightly performances begin at 11.30pm, later in summer
  • Drive to Málaga (50 minutes away) and visit the wonderful Picasso museum
  • Head west along the coast to Gibraltar and if you've got time, drive on to the Tarifa beaches (approx 90 minutes from Claude and well worth it to watch the windsurfers)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Children are welcome at Claude, babysitting can be arranged and cots are free to borrow. The stairs could be a problem for toddlers though and the overall vibe of the place is pretty grown up. Kids would get a lot of mileage out of the nearby water parks, Selwo (a kind of Andalusian Whipsnade) and, of course, the beach.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Two rooms have a single sofabed suitable for a child.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
7/
Service
6/
Value
7/
Overall

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Rates for Hotel Claude Marbella