Hotel Don Pepe: Craving Winter Sun?!

by Nov 29, 2023

Back in the spring I had impulsively booked a holiday for myself and my family to treat ourselves after a long winter full of coughs, colds and not much fun. I’d gone full luxury with 4 days at Hotel Don Pepe Gran Melia purely for this reason – we all needed a break. We basked in the warm sunshine, the kids were entertained by the amazing staff and the brilliant kids club, and we wandered into Old Town Marbella for ice creams and churros con chocolate. 

Fast forward to November, myself and two girlfriends were in need of a break – spot a theme here!?! We searched high and low for different options, scrolling through endless hotels, airbnbs and country cottages – before I suggested we go for it and head back to Marbella because I “knew a really great place”. 

There’s a certain pressure that comes with being the one to suggest the chosen hotel for a group holiday – yet thankfully we weren’t disappointed and my recommendation is now extending even further to you, as readers. I feel genuinely happy recommending this hotel to everyone – whether you’re booking a romantic break for two, a retreat for three tired mums or your annual family holiday. It’s really rare to find a hotel that covers all the bases, and covers them well. 

Getting to the hotel is super easy from Malaga airport – it’s about thirty minutes by taxi, and once you’re there you can walk everywhere. The seafront is a staircase away from the hotel and whether you run, walk or cycle you can easily get to Puerto Banus one way or Old Town Marbella the other way. It was great not having to hire a car or delegate drivers, especially for a shorter trip. 

The rooms are all of the standard you’d expect from a 5 star hotel although obviously one side of the building has the ocean views and one side doesn’t. If you’ve bitten the bullet and gone luxury, you may as well see the sea right?! Another option to upgrade is the Red Level room option. We did this – and it was definitely worth it. 

Red Level gives you access to the Red Level lounge which is a beautiful space from which I worked, took calls and also read my book. There are drinks (yep, Cava and Rosé included) on offer all day as well as snacks including charcuterie and cheeses. Plus there are terraces with the most comfortable sofas imaginable where you can sit for hours (or minutes if you’re with kids!) and soak up the sun. 

Most of the staff members were the same from when I visited in May to when we returned in November – that says something about a place, especially in somewhere as seasonal and transient as Spain’s sunshine coast. Nothing was too much trouble, everyone had time to talk, the atmosphere isn’t just luxurious – it is warm and it has a heart. 

It’s all about those little things really. This extends to the ‘finishing touches’ that the hotel offers. Of course there’s a vast outdoor pool, an indoor pool with a spa and sauna area, a gym workout space, conference rooms, lounges, piano bars…. yet there’s more. When I stayed with the children, the housekeeping team left a little soft toy on each of their cots. This time round, we got a bottle of bubbles in our room one evening and a bowl of fresh fruit. 

Highlights for me include: 

  • Breakfasts overlooking the verdant gardens – complete with vast displays of exotic fruits, baked breads, an entire station devoted to eggs, fresh honeycomb for your morning yoghurt and all the Spanish delicacies imaginable.
  • The versatility of the hotel for all different variations of people, at all different times of the year
  • The proximity to Marbella Old Town with its stunning squares where you can sit for hours with churros con chocolate or a glass of wine and watch the world busying about around you
  • Being told by one of the team there that this was now ‘my home in Marbella and I must come back’ – noted. 

For more information about Hotel Don Pepe Gran Melia, click here – and honestly, go for it.

About Emily Eaves

Co Founder and Editor at To Work or Play, Emily has been Freelance Copywriting for over 10 years. She is passionate about food, drink, travel, design and finding ways to keep her two children out of trouble.

With a background in Luxury Restaurant and Hotel PR, Emily moved from London to Dorset in 2019. She now spends weekends at the beach and daydreams about her vegetable garden.