I walked into room 509 of the Petit Palace Plaza Malaga and saw a spiral staircase, so of course just dumped my case and ran up to see where it led. A door opened onto a roof terrace that framed the courtyard of this former palace in the centre of Malaga. I gazed at the view across the city, then turned around and saw that the staircase was actually enclosed in a turret and I could go even higher. From the little balcony around the top I had a 360-degree view from the Mediterranean to the mountains, taking in the cathedral, countless church spires and some tempting rooftop bars.
Back down in the very roomy room, I took in the crisp orange-and-white décor with stylish Arne Jacobsen-style chairs. As is usual in Petit Palace hotels, there was a laptop on the desk – wifi is free but the signal wasn’t great in this particular room. There was an exercise bike too – also standard in superior rooms in this chain – but you will not be surprised to read that I didn’t get around to trying it out.
I liked the reading lamps over the bed and the iPod dock, but wasn’t so keen on the very low bedside tables, which meant I couldn’t see the time easily while half asleep and made it awkward to reach out and pick up a glass of water or whatever. In so many hotels these days I find myself wishing designers would think a bit more about the people actually using the room rather than just the aesthetics.
Breakfast is in the covered courtyard, with a buffet that, again, is fine, with plenty of choice, if not particularly thrilling. You make your own coffee at an espresso machine, which is of course hugely better than stewed, grey liquid from a jug. They don’t serve other meals, but there are dozens of tapas bars and restaurants nearby so you would be unlikely to eat there anyway. The staff throughout the hotel were really great I must say; really friendly and helpful.
The grand building was originally the residence of members of the aristocratic Larios family, who were instrumental in the development of the city from the late 19th-century onwards. The main shopping street, Calle Larios, right by the hotel, is named after them because they funded its construction. The location is dead handy, as it is in a little lane just off the Plaza de Constitución and the Picasso and Carmen Thyssen museums are just a few minutes’ walk away – as is just about everywhere else you are likely to want to go. There are free bikes available too, if you fancy riding along the promenade.
All in all, the Petit Palace Malaga is a great hotel for a city break, and rates are usually pretty reasonable too, with double rooms from around €80 including breakfast.
Petit Palace Plaza Malaga, Nicasio Calle 3, (34) 952 222132.