Sorry this is so long-winded. As I think I have mentioned before, I always seem to use 20 words when 6 would do - and, unlike The Highlander’s reviews, mine doesn’t have the entertainment value!! Also, I’m no photographer so please make allowances for the pics!!
Hotel Pez Espada, Torremolinos.
The Pez Espada (Swordfish) was the first 4* luxury hotel to open in Torremolinos in 1959 and many “stars” and VIPs have been regular visitors over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, the King of Spain …… and me!! It’s in the La Carihuela area of Torremolinos, roughly half way between the town centre & Benalmadena Marina. It is set up in a U shape with the original building on one side joined to a lower annexe by a walkway (covered) & some more rooms. The gardens & pool area at the back run down to the paseo & the beach. The paseo runs for miles in each direction so, for me, it’s a perfect location. I stayed Half Board as, when I’m on my own, I’m not very comfortable eating out at restaurants in the evening.
The staff were great with just the right mix of friendliness & professionalism and the atmosphere was relaxed and cosmopolitan – not starchy & pretentious like some other similar hotels I’ve stayed at in the area. There was a good mix of nationalities – Spanish, British, French, a few Dutch & Germans and 2 large groups of “senior” Canadians (about 35 in each) who were “doing” the Costa del Sol & having a great time!! As usual at this time of year, most guests were of the “mature” age group - some so mature that I felt like a spring chicken in comparison!!
The public areas are still the same as they were “back in the days” - a bit glitzy & glamorous (not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely mine!). The reception area was large & had 2 computer terminals (expensive at 1 euro for 10 minutes), a luggage-weighing machine (1 euro) and a couple of shops & hairdressing salon. The main area is a huge space with sofas, chairs & tables & a grand piano (nobody playing this time - but every evening during my last visit in 2006). To one side is Frankie’s Bar (in honour of Frank Sinatra) which is open all day for drinks & snacks at very reasonable prices and which opens onto an outside terrace & the pool & gardens. Right at the end of this space is the main bar & entertainment room (I didn’t go but there was something on every night – singers, flamenco etc) and a large, impressive staircase leading down to the dining room.
The “Corridor of Fame” & some of the pics there.
Although you have to go down stairs to the dining room, it has large windows looking out on to the paseo as the hotel is on a slight slope from front to back. The tables are well spaced with no sharing (my worst nightmare!!), even if you are on your own. The Maitre D’ and waiters were excellent - very efficient but friendly & welcoming. I was shown to a table within seconds of entering every meal time & they remembered things like my room number, which wine I wanted etc - which makes you feel good.
There was a buffet at both breakfast & dinner - perhaps not such a big selection as some hotels I’ve stayed at but good quality & well cooked. There was the usual selection for breakfast - cereals, yoghurts, dried & fresh fruit, cold meats & cheeses, fresh bread & rolls, cakes & pastries & a fair selection of hot food including “British” sausages! Coffee, tea & hot milk were delivered in insulated jugs to your table. I was surprised though that there was no “chef’s station” preparing omelettes etc - usually standard in this type of hotel.
Dinners, again, were of the usual kind - a different soup each evening, a good salad bar with, sometimes, unusual items (eg caviar tartlets, honey-glazed mushrooms on toast, cheese & walnut bites), 4 or 5 meat/fish dishes (all good, some excellent), a good selection of vegetables, fresh bread & rolls & a pasta bar with a couple of varieties & sauces. Most nights there was, also, a chef carving enormous joints of meat. The desserts were really good, including, again, lots of fresh fruit. The highlight for me was (every night) large bowls of poached raspberries, blackberries & redcurrants and an ice cream counter (4 flavours) which had lots of sauce toppings (including alcoholic ones) & bowls of chopped nuts, chocolate flakes, sprinkles etc. It was just as well that I walked miles every day to burn that lot off!!
There was a “Gala Evening” on the Friday when all the ladies were given a red carnation & everyone offered a glass of “fizz”.
Wine in the restaurant was a reasonable price - from 8 euros to 14.75 for Vina Sol (my tipple of choice when in Spain).
The restaurant/dining room
I booked and paid extra for a ‘superior`’ room as I knew they faced the pool, gardens & sea & had sunny balconies from about 11.00 am until sunset (important at this time of year). The safe cost 2 euros per day + 3 euros returnable deposit. I was expecting to pay for the fridge but it wasn’t locked - so a bonus!
I have to say that the corridors & rooms could do with a little updating - but my room was not as bad as I was expecting after reading various reviews. It was a little tired but freshly painted & spotlessly clean & I think it helped that the furniture & fittings etc were quite good quality. There was a flat screen TV with 5 English speaking channels (BBC1, ITV1, ITV2, Film 4 & Sky News) which is good when you’re on your own, even if only for “background noise” sometimes. There was, also, individually controlled heating/air conditioning.
The bathroom was a decent size with a powerful shower & always lots of hot water. There was a good selection of toiletries as well as 2 large pump bottles attached to the wall above the bath (shower gel & shampoo). Towels were replaced every day & bed linen changed 3 times during my 9 day stay.
The balcony was small - just enough room for a table & 2 chairs. The view made up for it though.
My room & some views from the balcony
There was a small indoor pool & spa (treatments available) and 2 outdoor pools - the main one at the back & one which ran under a walkway from the back to the front of the hotel (a bit difficult to describe). There was, also, a small children’s splash pool. The sunbeds around the pools & on the grassed area running down to the paseo were modern & comfortable but it was difficult for me to guess whether there would be enough in high season when the hotel is full. There was a gate leading directly on to the paseo which could be opened using your room key-card.
This is an off-season review so may not be very helpful for a summer holiday - but I really enjoyed my stay & kept wondering why I hadn’t returned sooner.