Arrival/Check-in: After an all-night flight to Madrid and short hop to Málaga, I could be forgiven for not noticing where I finally dropped my head onto a pillow. But Villa Padierna is an attention-grabber, a pink palazzo (think Tuscan villa sired by Biarritz grand hotel) set on a brilliant green golf course. I was greeted by name and registered quickly. No one accompanied me to my room, but with one small rolling bag, I clearly didn’t need help. (28/30)
Guest Quarters: My junior suite was flooded with sunlight, and its big Palladian windows overlooked the rolling golf course (with real Roman columns and statuary from the owner’s collection) to the Mediterranean — and beyond to North Africa’s Atlas Mountains. A welcome plate of elegant tapas set on the glass-topped table between the king-size bed and attractive sitting area was a pleasant surprise. The roomy bath had a long marble vanity with two sinks, a make-up mirror and French bath amenities. The large tub filled one end of the room, with a separate glass-enclosed shower at the other. Plush towels were within reach everywhere. Bright reading lights illuminated both sides of the bed, where a down duvet allowed me to leave the window open as I slept that December night. Closets were large enough for luggage and equipped with plenty of removable wooden hangers. The desk offered ample workspace, but I thought the $30 daily Internet fee excessive for a hotel of this caliber. On a later tour of other rooms, I saw an executive suite, bigger, but much like my own — although I did gaze enviously at the inroom espresso machine. (29/30)
Services/Amenities: After an excellent lunch of local dishes in La Loggia, I set out to tour the resort. Guestrooms surround an airy, bright atrium that rises to a glass dome. Arcaded corridors lined with more antiquities lead to a Moorish garden with soothing fountains, pools and cooling greenery. Beyond is an opulent — and enormous — spa. Along with a full menu of ESPA treatments, it features a series of baths, including a Turkish hammam. (40/40)
The Experience: The hotel’s owner recently chose Ritz- Carlton management, assuring a continuation of the high level of service I enjoyed. This is a resort worthy of a few days’ stay to savor the spa, private Mediterranean beach (with clubhouse and complimentary shuttle), golf and daily excursions offered to Seville, Tangier, Gibraltar or the surrounding mountains.
Total Score: (97/100)
Ctra. de Cadiz, Km. 166
29679 Marbella, Spain
tel 34 952 889 150
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Get to know Mexico with ONE FREE NIGHT With Fiesta Americana Get to know Mexico with the largest hotel company in the country, offering more than 185 options in the best city and resort destinations. Book at any of our hotels with the best available rate at the time of booking and get one night free.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.