Visitors to Southern Spain can look forward to a whole new kind of beachside bliss, with the arrival of Ikos Andalusia, the new upscale resort that opens May 17, 2021, writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).
So, get planning your next holiday, and yes, definitely start getting excited; as I’ve been lucky enough to have had a sneak peek at this magnificent resort and it’s really special!
Fine dining is included at seven signature à la carte restaurants, with menus designed by Michelin starred chefs, paired with wines from a cellar of over 300 wines (and there’s inclusive 24-hour room service too).
Wellness encompasses pampering at the Anne Sémonin Paris spa with indoor heated pool, as well as water sports, tennis, padel, yoga, bicycles and an impressive high tech gym.
There’s also a British OFSTED standard Kids’ Clubs.
Its sounds impressive doesn’t it? Well the reality actually exceeded my expectations, and that’s because all this was delivered with stand-out friendly service and a genuine focus on quality.
Ikos Andalusia has been created by Ikos Resorts, a collection of award-winning 5 star luxury all-inclusive destinations that started in Greece. Yet I urge you to put aside all preconceptions you may have about ‘all-inclusive’.
Ikos has refined the concept into something truly compelling which they call Infinite Lifestyle and Infinite Care. In fact, you’ll not really come across any reference to all-inclusive here. This is an upscale destination that just happens to include everything in your room rate. That means elegant details like a bottle of Taittinger Champagne in your room at check-in, and gourmet meals with premium wines and spirits.
Cocktails are designed by the award-winning bartender and mixologist, Marian Beke, of The Gibson bar in London.
The selection in the main Bar is hugely impressive including highly prized sprits from across the world – even high end whiskies from Japan!
Ikos Andalusia is on Playa Guadalmansa, a stretch of coastline about 15-20 minutes’ drive from Marbella, and less than an hour’s transfer from both Malaga’s international airport and Gibraltar’s airport, making it very accessible.
The property runs right down to the beach with open expansive views over to Gibraltar and the mountains of north Africa. The crystalline pools draw your eyes out to the sea. It’s a memorable setting.
The seven outdoor pools each have their own design creating spaces dedicated to different guests and different moods. There’s the family pool, the scented pool, the adults only pool, the Deluxe pool and more. Each have lifeguards and waiter service.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at some stunning resorts including all-inclusive. Usually it’s a case of ‘the sum is greater than the parts’, these resorts when taken as a whole, offer a great holiday experience.
Yet at Ikos Andalusia I got the impression that each element wanted to be able to stand alone as world-class, whether that was the super-stylish Anne Sémonin Paris spa, the elegant restaurants with sophisticated menus, to the architecture and design.
During my stay Timos Antonakis the General Manager of Ikos Andalusia, explained that it was his goal to provide an experience that was 5 star all the way. So, for example, each meal was like going to a destination restaurant not just staying on a resort.
Strike a Pose
Yes, Ikos Andalusia brings striking, photogenic design to Andalusia’s shores. Madrid architecture & design firm, Studio Gronda has created a style that reflects modern luxury, as well as accents referencing the Greek roots of Ikos Resorts, and also of course, conveying the allure of Andalusia.
As a guest one’s experience begins with the impact of the hotel’s triple height lobby, where the Mediterranean sunshine is filtered through the custom made solid wood latticework of the walls – a contemporary masterpiece that’s also evocative of the ancient Al Andalus Moorish heritage of the area.
Then out of reception, past a classic Palm-lined meditation pool, into the gardens, which are punctuated with century old olive trees, and onto the pools and sun terraces.
Design features are everywhere, from the serenity of the spa, the chilled elegance of the Beach Club, to the high flying sophistication of the Main Bar.
There are so many places where you can create amazing holiday memories. I was inspired by the look and feel of the place.
Culinary Star Turn
Dining is one of the highlights at Ikos Andalusia. A la carte fine dining at well as the informal restaurants are all included.
Anaya is the Asian restaurant with menus created by Chef Thiou, renowned for her Thai and Asian cuisine served at her award-winning Paris restaurant.
Provence brings the culinary pleasures of Mediterranean France to the shores of Andalucia, with exquisite dishes designed by Michelin-starred chef, Anthony Jehanno.
Michelin-starred chef, Lefteris Lazarou is the talent behind the Greek restaurant Ouzo – bringing the specialties and modern recipes from Ikos’ homeland.
Italian is probably the world’s favourite cuisine and here at Fresco guests can indulge in meals created by Michelin-starred chef, Ettore Botrini.
Of course, this is Spain, so for typical Iberian gastronomy with a contemporary twist, head to Oliva.
My personal favourite was the Beach Club. I adored the design – such a captivating fusion of the Mediterranean and Africa, amplifying the view from the restaurant that looks out to the shores of another continent – this is where Africa and Europe meat. The food is upscale beach restaurant fare including international dishes and of course superb fresh fish too as you might expect here so close to the sea.
The Ikos Infinite Lifestyle means that guests can explore their destination and eat out at local restaurants with the bill included in their room rate. What a great idea! Partner restaurants include the swanky Tikitano restaurant that’s right on the beach; as well as restaurants in nearby Estepona and also Besaya Beach restaurant in chic Marbella.
Ikos Andalucia is such a compelling destination you probably won’t want to head out too much during your stay. But Ikos certainly encourage guests to explore and experience Andalucia. Cultural attractions can be included in your holiday, including for example tickets to the award-winning Picasso Museum in Malaga capital.
What’s more you can book a Ikos Mini adventure and take one of the Ikos Andalucia Mini cars out for a spin. Maybe you want to head up into the mountains to visit Ronda, or cruise around Puerto Banus rubbing shoulders with the super-rich.
The Ikos commitment to quality continues when it comes to the guest’s rooms. At Ikos Andalusia, I am told that each guest room has a sea view, and from what I could tell that is certainly the case. Beautiful views over the pools and gardens and out to sea.
I stayed in a Deluxe Suite and it was a delight. The space sparkled and felt relaxing and calming. Natural materials and muted tones of blues, greys and creams let the Andalusian sun be the protagonist. The terraces and balconies are elegantly furnished with day beds, hammock chairs and a place to enjoy a private meal al fresco.
Inside expect the latest in comfort and entertainment tech; as well as a fully stocked mini bar that is included in your room rate – full size wines, spirit measures with mixers, refreshments and water, and there’s a coffee machine and kettle too.
Bathrooms are spacious contemporary and beautifully presented and include fab toiletries by Anne Sémonin Paris
Deluxe Rooms are really worth the little extra – not only for the additional space but also for the sensational extras like access to a dedicated beachside Deluxe Bar, use of a dedicated Deluxe Pool that’s frontline beach.
…and also, additional perks like sunset cocktails at the private, dedicated Deluxe Tented Bar on by the beach – evocative of a Bedouin encampment.
Ikos Andalusia works on the basis of Room Rates (not prices per person), so for example a Deluxe One Bedroom Suite with private pool can accommodate two adults and up to three children, with everything included in the Ikos Infinite Lifestyle, making this kind of exclusive luxury affordable.
Of course, staying in Andalucia, with probably the best all year climate in Europe, means you are going to want to enjoy the great outdoors, and Ikos Andalusia has thought of this, having built a sports area with racket courts and additional services like water sports. If you’re looking for pampering, then head to the Anne Sémonin Paris spa with indoor pool. There’s a gym too, that’s got the very latest kit, a yoga meditation garden and more.
Feel at Home
Ikos, I believe, comes from the ancient Greek word Oikos, that encompasses the notion of home. For me that makes complete sense. I felt very welcome at Ikos Andalusia. Yes, it’s upscale, yes, its refined but also its fun, its relaxed, it’s all about having a great holiday, whether you’re making it a family affair or looking for something more intimate and romantic as a couple. There’s the space and the different facilities and venues that mean each guest can feel at home. I left feeling extremely impressed; by the design, the quality, the cuisine, and the generosity of the Infinite Lifestyle concept – and of course the best thing was the friendly and professional team.