A margarita for me, a Negroni for him. We sip our cocktails watching the sun slip into the sea. A waiter glides silently to our side, just before our liquor reaches precariously low levels. ‘Another?’ he asks. ‘Why not?’.
Staying in an all-inclusive hotel makes this kind of decision so easy.
Although in the chic world of Ikos Andalusia, a new resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol, the term ‘all in’ has been smartly rebranded into ‘Infinite Lifestyle’ — and it means all food, premium booze from Tanqueray to Taittinger, unlimited hours in the kids’ club, watersports and fitness classes, hotel rooms of calming blues and creams, even a free day out to explore in one of the hotel’s cute Mini Coopers.
Easy living: Hannah Summers checks into Ikos Andalusia, a new resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol that’s set between Marbella and Estepona
Ikos Andalusia’s hotel rooms are decorated in shades of calming blues and creams, Hannah reveals
The reception area at the hotel, which is Ikos’s first resort in Spain. Hannah says that it’s ‘sure to be a hit with regulars from Ikos’s Greek counterparts in Kos, Corfu and beyond’
Michelin-star chefs have agonised 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’s first resort in Spain, and its location, between Marbella and Estepona and just a 2.5-hour flight from the UK, is sure to be a hit with regulars from Ikos’s Greek counterparts in Kos, Corfu and beyond.
We hop between the seven pools — some filled with inflatables and slides, others serene and child-free — before returning to our favourite, the scented pool.
Here, our plush padded loungers are wafted with the scent of lavender from the shrub-filled gardens and attentive staff breeze past serving up spritzes and snacks. The relaxed vibe continues in 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 filled with inflatables and slides, others serene and child-free, such as the adults’ pool, pictured
An aerial of some of the resort’s pools. Hannah’s favourite is the scented pool, where ‘plush padded loungers are wafted with the scent of lavender from the shrub-filled gardens’
I’m slathered with lavender oil by a therapist called Eva. ‘Oh no, so much stress!’ she says, kneading at my shoulders. I bet she tells most guests the same thing.
Free bike hire means you can burn off your breakfast of eggs benedict and flaky pastries on a speedy cycle along the coastline to Estepona, picking up knick-knacks from the Sunday market.
Even better, try a yoga class then head into the hills in a Mini, up to the sleepy hilltop village of Istan.
Above is the French-inspired Provence restaurant. All food is included as part of the price of a stay at the hotel as part of its ‘Infinite Lifestyle’ offering
Premium booze from Tanqueray to Taittinger is included in the price of a stay. Above is the resort’s main bar
With its whitewashed houses, water fountains and bougainvillea-strewn balconies it’s as photogenic as the chic coast.
Here, as grandmas pile into the tiny church, we join elderly flat-capped gents sipping beers in the town square, then head down a country lane to Lago de Istan — a vast reservoir — and sink into the zingy blue for a refreshing dip.
One evening we try the Dine Out experience, where you can eat out — as part of the all-inclusive — at one of their recommended restaurants.
Michelin-star chefs have agonised 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 adjoining beach, consultants are being drafted in to replicate the white sand for which Ikos’s Greek resorts are famous
Hannah wonders whether the chic new resort will ‘start a trend’ on the Costa del Sol. Above is the fire pit by the hotel’s main bar
Guests can enjoy a free day out exploring in one of the hotel’s cute Mini Coopers, pictured above
During a visit to Estepona (pictured), Hannah rounds off the night with a stroll along the palm-dotted promenade, ice-cream in hand
We’re taken to Estepona town and devour a three-course meal with wine. We follow the locals’ cue and round off the night with a stroll along the palm-dotted promenade, ice-cream in hand.
Back at Ikos, plans are in progress. The beach — with grey pebbles that make you hobble in and out the water — needs an upgrade. Consultants are being drafted in to replicate the white sand for which Ikos’s Greek resorts are famous.
Perhaps this will start a trend on this notorious Costa, to which Britons still flock year after year.
Sovereign (sovereign.com) has a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Ikos Andalusia from £2,450 pp including flights from London Gatwick and private transfers. Based on September 1 departure, with two adults sharing.