Andalucian tiling, Moorish archways, salvaged castle doors – it’s near impossible to believe that Finca Cortesin in the Costa del Sol, was recently built from scratch. Opened in 2009, this modern classic has quickly become a favourite with the discerning luxury traveller – especially for a Mr & Mrs Smith romantic getaway.
Picture the scene: Mr Smith fancies a golfing holiday. Mrs Smith is thinking sunshine and spa treatments. Both have a weakness for exciting wining and dining. What would we prescribe? A long weekend in Finca Cortesin’s flower-filled 70-acre enclave of southern Spain. Trust us, we know from experience.
We flew into Marbella on the Costa del Sol, and Finca Cortesin near Estepona was under an hour’s drive from the glamorous tourist hotspot. The 67-room property had a timeless charm from the moment we glided into its cobbled courtyard and stepped through the pristine whitewashed entrance. After a warm Spanish welcome in the breezy reception area, we had a snoop around the couple of traditional-yet-elegant sitting areas, and strayed out onto a terracotta-tiled terrace that looks out across the pretty plumbago- and bougainvillea-dotted gardens and the rolling green golf course, with the blue sea on the horizon.
For him? Golfers will be wowed by the manicured 18-hole world-class golf course designed by Cabell Robinson; the club not only has a Jack Nicklaus Academy but it is now where the Volvo World Match Play Championship are held annually. This is a luxurious land where golf buggies even come stocked with chilled drinks and snacks. Either hit the post-card perfect greens together, or meet back at the chic Clubhouse.
For her? A sleek unisexy spa with Turkish baths, a Finnish sauna and every fitness-centre thrill, Finca Cortesin even has the country’s only ‘snow cave’. Duck in for the –12º icy therapy and you’ll feel transported to the Artic while your circulation gets a livening up – especially when alternated with some steam-room action and a few laps in the heated hydrotherapy pool. True sybarites will want to sign up for treatments such as a Caviar Facial or a hot-stone therapy massage.
If there’s one thing Team Smith love (after a fabulous boutique hotel, a good rare steak, and a darn fine cup of coffee), it’s a gorgeous swimming pool. A shimmering stretch of water to sun-bask next to, sup sundowners beside, or just to admire the reflections of a starlit sky in. Occasionally, we’ve even been know to swim in one. With summer gradually making its presence felt through the London clouds, our thoughts have turned longingly to the poolside scene, so we did an office-wide round-up of our favourite Smith-style swimming holes. From glass-walled aquaria where you leave your modesty at the steps to isolated infinity-edged affairs stretching into Tuscany and beyond, here’s our guide to the 14 coolest pools on the Continent…