Europe Hotel Reviews Spain

Mediterranean magic at Kempinski Hotel Bahia

This autumn we revisited the Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona, considered to be one of the most stylish hotel resorts on Andalucía’s western Costa del Sol. Found west of Marbella’s Puerta Banús and close to Estepona, this 5-star resort is where Kempinski sophistication meets the casual elegance of the Mediterranean, writes Andrew Forbes.

Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona is one of the few properties on this popular stretch of the Mediterranean coast that offers a complete resort experience. There is an excellent choice of guest rooms, junior suites, and exclusive suites for VIPs; a luxury spa; pools and gardens that reach down to the beach and sea; and a wealth of dining options including the destination El Paseo del Mar leisure and dining area.

Insider Tip: The Kempinski Hotel Bahia concierge team can design the perfect Andalusian holiday experience for you.

A holiday here is a complete experience, that can include the best of the southern Spain – a typical Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona vacation will encompass fine-dining; visits to the exclusive resort of Marbella; sailing on the Mediterranean; wine-tasting in the verdant valleys of Ronda; and being pampered with Niance and Natura Bissē products in the spa.

You can read about my unique Kempinski Experience Marbella here.

Here I showcase the property, so you know exactly want you can expect on your next visit.

Architect Designed

Completed in 1999, the Kempinski Hotel Bahia was architect-designed by the award-wining designer, Melvin Villarroel. His signature style is evident throughout; and the resort’s signature terracotta colour allows it to sit comfortably within its beachside setting.

Surrounded by verdant palms and blossoming shrubs of the landscaped gardens the hotel offers superb views out across the Mediterranean, towards Gibraltar and beyond to the mountains of north Africa; adding an exotic flavour to this beautiful, serene Andalusian setting.

I think it’s one of the best resort settings on the Costa del Sol; and now with the adjacent Laguna Village complex with beach club, independent boutiques and restaurants, there’s plenty to do within walking distance.

Beach Front Destination Dining

Insider Tip: Order a cocktail from Pascual – a favourite was the ‘Alchemist’

This summer has seen the Kempinski Hotel Bahia attract a new generation of devotees thanks to the opening of its acclaimed ‘El Paseo del Mar’ destination dining concept.

The striking new initiative has transformed the public areas of the Kempinski Hotel Bahia into a local hub for relaxed dining, and superb cocktails. This chic rendezvous for the stylish set incorporates three dining concepts well-suited to different times of time, moods, and occasions.

Black Rose the Bar

This is the hotel’s signature cocktail bar and lounge.  Here Pascual and his team will create some of the best cocktails you can enjoy in Southern Spain. On our recent visit I was impressed by the creative cocktails on offer. Few places can really capture the magic of professional mixology, and here is one of those bars. All the style details and flair you can expect from a world-class cocktail bar – and one with an amazing view out across the Mediterranean.

There is a menu of Mediterranean and international bites – the calamari with saffron mayonnaise is so tasty! There are tables inside, dappled in sunlight passing through from the glass atrium; or take a seat on the terrace over-looking the sub-tropical terraced gardens.

Baltazar Bar & Grill

Found on the level below, overlooking one of the pools, the restaurant has sophisticated design, with warm copper tones and natural materials of wood and leather.

Inspired by a cosy Spanish bodega bar, this smart restaurant and steakhouse offers Spanish & international bistro dishes – many of the meats, seafood and fish are prepared on one of the 4 main kitchen grills including an authentic josper grill.

Spiler Beach Club

The beach club, which is set for further enhancements for the 2019 season, is the other element of the El Paseo del mar concept. It makes the most of the Kempinski Bahia’s superb coastal location. This all-day venue is the place for gourmet breakfasts and healthy juice; as well as casual all-day seaside dining; and romantic dinners.

This is in addition to the classic El Mirador restaurant and terrace where one can enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

If you visit the El Paseo del Mar this autumn you’re in for an additional treat, with the stunning exhibit of original artworks by Nimrod Messeg. Among the 15 sculptures on display, there are 14 metal torsos celebrating the beauty of the female form and one striking sculpture of a bull; and they all showcase the artist’s unique innovative forging techniques used to create his delicate and extraordinary sculptures out of iron.

This is in addition to the hotel’s permanent collection of works by Pedro Rodríguez, also known as ‘Pedrín’, whose bold pieces in bronze are so evocative of the Andalusian spirit. In the gardens is the large bronze, known as ‘Toro Orgulloso’ – one of the series of limited-edition sculptures of a bull in Pedrin’s distinctive style. The work was featured in scenes of the Hollywood blockbuster, ‘A Night in the Museum 2’.

You can read our dedicated review of dining at El Paseo del Mar here.

Guest Rooms & Suites

Insider Tip: Choose an Exclusive Suite for unbeatable see views, total privacy, and unprecedented space

Timeless elegance defines the style of the more than 128 guest rooms, many which have balconies and terraces with sea views.

I stayed in a superior room – and its wow factor was the view from the balcony, out across to the 16th century ‘Torre de Padrón’, an ancient watchtower built to help protect the coast from pirates. Now the restored tower is a place for romantic dinners; and or private massages.

The room was well proportioned with a generous bathroom that included both a shower and bathtub. It would have been great to have had a shower wand in the walk-in shower; but other than that, the space was well equipped and maintained. Rooms were last remodelled some years ago, and although are in top-notch condition, maybe a little dated by some contemporary standards as they lack USB charging points; Bluetooth speaker and other technological features – but they are elegant, and very comfortable with superb, new beds and fine linens.

What really surprised me was the quality of the signature suites, available both in classical design and in a contemporary Mediterranean aesthetic.

There are Junior and Executive suites as one might expect, but there are also three unique suites that are breath-taking; from the Suite del Mar (which plays with the notion of the hotel’s maritime provenance with design motifs and features like ships clocks) to the truly impressive Presidential Suite (think private card access in the elevator for complete security and privacy) & the Royal Suite (with fab dressing room, and fun gizmos like a TV that comes up from the foot of the bed).

These are not only enclaves for VIPs and the super-rich. They are also available for events, like private cocktails and launches.

For a unique space, an Imperial Suite can be created, by combining the adjacent Presidential and Royal Suites, together with a Premier Plus room. This self-contained duplex is unique on the coast and makes for a spectacular venue for events, as well as exclusive accommodation for a multi-generational holiday. The roof terrace is huge and includes a large hot tub. There’s even an upper level ‘Sky Bar’ for private cocktails – it’s the perfect private party place!

Spa & Wellness

Insider Tip: Choose a Signature Treatment using expert techniques and elite products

In addition to the outdoor family and adult pools; there is the tranquil indoor pool at the Kempinski Bahia Spa. The spa has been enhanced over the years to create a professional wellness area, including a gym with a Technogym Kinesis wall; as well as Finnish sauna, steam room and relaxation area.  The spa is also open to the public for those also wanting to experience the range of anti-ageing, facials and massage treatments, using products by Natura Bissē (Barcelona); Niance (Switzerland); and Anne Semonin (Paris).

The spa also has a collection of signature treatments unique to the Kempinski Hotel Bahia – massage, body ritual, facial and quartz bed massage. Each has been designed by the therapists uniquely combining techniques and approaches.

I liked the spa position, overlooking the gardens. It’s private, and well sound proofed, and large enough that you feel you have you own space. The Kempinski Spa Signature massage was exceptional and ended with warm serpentine stones from Switzerland (from Niance) placed on my back.  So relaxing!

The Kempinski Experience

Insider Tip: Spend time with the hotel concierge to make the most of your holiday

The concierge area of the entrance level is not just a great looking space, it’s also where you can get a real insider’s expertise on southern Spain.

Do you want to try the best wines and tapas in the area? Head out onto the sparkling Mediterranean? Maybe head into the countryside to the picturesque town of Ronda for a private wine tasting and rustic gourmet lunch?

You’ll get plenty of inspiration and concierge will be able to make all the arrangements for you including transport. There’s also a Kids’ Club; and access to water sports; and onsite bike rental – great if you want to enjoy the new seaside walkway that runs along to Estepona and the port.

I have also learnt that the hotel also arranges and sponsors a number of signature Kempinski experiences throughout the year, from art showings like the current Nimrod Messeg sculpture show in El Paseo del Mar; to society evets like the prestigious Beach Polo tournament in front of the hotel.


Kempinski is a characterful hotel management group; they have a unique perspective on a destination and one certainly sees that at the Bahia Hotel near Estepona and Marbella. It’s a glorious location, a superbly designed property, with outstanding gardens and pools. Little wonder that after also 20 years the property goes from strength to strength.

I was a guest of the Kempinski, although my opinions remain my own.

Kempinski Hotel Bahía
Carretera de Cádiz Km 159
29680 ESTEPONA, Spain


Tel: +34 95 280 9500