The trouble with seaside paradises like the Costa del Sol is that they suffer under the weight of their own undeniable attractions; they’re developed too quickly, and often a little tastelessly, in order to capitalize on the massive demand. Here and there one finds pockets of good taste, however, and the Hotel Claude, in Marbella’s old town, is one of these.
With just seven rooms the Claude is tiny, which is a welcome contrast with the Costa del Sol tower-block norm. It occupies a 17th-century mansion, and it’s been extensively renovated in a style that seems uniquely Spanish — historical elements, preserved untouched, alongside unashamedly modern ones.
Hence the peaked timbered ceilings above 32-inch flat-screen televisions and iPod docks, and Moorish-style arched doorways leading to bathrooms equipped with tomorrow’s minimalist fixtures. Each room is individually decorated, and they’re stocked with luxe touches like Playstation 3s and Molton Brown bath products.
There’s a pocket-sized restaurant and a cozy little lounge, as well as a roof terrace, home to the Claude’s Sunday lunch. And the surrounding area is a far cry from the typical Costa del Sol vista — most of us would choose classic Andalusian architecture over mid-century resort towers any day of the week.
calle San Francisco 5, Marbella
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