A margarita for me, a Negroni for him. We sip our cocktails and watch the sun sink into the sea. A waiter glides silently to our side just before our liquor reaches a precariously low level. ‘Other?’ he asks. ‘Why not?’.
Staying at an all-inclusive hotel makes this type of decision so easy.
Although a new resort is popping up in the chic world of Ikos Andalusia Spain‘s Costa del Sol, the term “all in” has been cleverly rebranded as “infinite lifestyle” – and it means all the dining, top-shelf liquor from Tanqueray to Taittinger, unlimited hours at the kids’ club, water sports and fitness classes, hotel rooms a soothing shade of blue and cream , even a free day to explore in one of the hotel’s cute Mini Coopers.
Simple Life: Hannah Summers checks into Ikos Andalusia, a new resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol, situated between Marbella and Estepona
The hotel’s rooms at the Ikos Andalusia are decorated in soothing shades of blue and cream, reveals Hannah
The reception area of the hotel, Ikos’ first resort in Spain. Hannah says it’s “sure to be a hit with regulars from Ikos’ Greek colleagues in Kos, Corfu and beyond”.
Michelin-starred chefs have puzzled over the resort’s menus, which range from Asian to Greek – a nod to the brand’s beginnings in Greece in 2015. This is Ikos’ first resort in Spain and its location between Marbella and Estepona and only a 2.5 hour flight from the UK, is sure to be a hit with the regulars of Ikos’ Greek colleagues in Kos, Corfu and beyond.
We hop between the seven pools — some filled with inflatables and slides, others quiet and kid-free — before returning to our favorite, the scented pool.
Here, the scent of lavender wafts from the shrub-filled gardens on our plush-cushioned loungers, and the attentive staff puffs by to serve spritzers and snacks. The relaxed vibe continues at the spa, where a free half-hour massage is one of the perks of being a Deluxe Collection guest.
Hannah hops between the resort’s seven pools — some with inflatables and slides, others quiet and kid-free, like the adult pool pictured
An aerial view of some of the resort’s pools. Hannah’s favorite is the scented pool, where “soft-cushioned loungers are wafted with the scent of lavender from the shrub-filled gardens.”
I am rubbed with lavender oil by a therapist named Eva. ‘Oh no, so much stress!’ she says and kneads my shoulders. I bet she says the same to most guests.
Free bike hire means you can burn up your breakfast of Eggs Benedict and puff pastry on a whirlwind bike ride along the coast to Estepona, and buy knick-knacks from the Sunday market.
Better yet, try a yoga class, then head into the hills in a Mini to the sleepy mountain village of Istan.
Above is the French-inspired Provence restaurant. All meals are included in the price of the hotel stay as part of the Infinite Lifestyle offer
Premium liquor from Tanqueray to Taittinger is included in the price of a stay. Above is the main bar of the resort
With its whitewashed houses, water fountains and bougainvillea-strewn balconies, it’s as photogenic as the chic coastline.
Here, as grannies flock to the tiny church, we join elderly gentlemen in flat caps drinking beers in the town square, then we walk down a dirt track to Lago de Istan – a huge reservoir – and sink in for a refreshing dip sparkling blue.
One evening we try the Dine Out experience where you can – as part of the all inclusive offer – dine at one of their recommended restaurants.
Michelin-starred chefs have agonized over the resort’s menus, which range from Asian to Greek. Pictured is the Ouzo Restaurant which serves Greek cuisine
The Beach Club Restaurant. On the adjacent beach, consultants are called in to recreate the white sands that the Greek resorts of Ikos are famous for
Hannah wonders if the chic new resort on the Costa del Sol will “start a trend”. Above is the fire pit by the hotel’s main bar
Guests can spend a free day in one of the hotel’s cute Mini Coopers, as pictured above
During a visit to Estepona (pictured), Hannah caps off the night with a stroll along the palm-lined promenade, ice cream in hand
We will be transferred to the town of Estepona and enjoy a three course meal with wine. Following the cue of the locals, we round off the night with a stroll along the palm-lined promenade, ice cream in hand.
Back at Ikos, planning is underway. The beach — with gray pebbles that make you hobble in and out of the water — needs an update. Consultants are brought in to recreate the white sands that the Greek resorts of Ikos are famous for.
Perhaps this will start a trend on this infamous Costa, which Brits still flock to year after year.
sovereign (sovereign. com) has a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Ikos Andalusia from £2,450 per person, including flights from London Gatwick and private transfers. Based on departure September 1st, with two adults.