Extended-Stay on the Costa del Sol

May 28th, 2006, 04:27 PM
  #1  
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Extended-Stay on the Costa del Sol

Has anyone spent two or more weeks on the Costa del Sol in Feb or March? In the travel section of our Sunday paper Arthur Frommer recommended three companies for extended stays in Torremolinos near Malaga. The companies were Grand Circle Travel, Sun Holidays, and Vacation Europe.com He recommended the choice as an alternative to Florida or Phoenix in the winter although the weather in Spain won't be as warm. Any opinions on chosing this for a winter get-a-way? In 1995 my husband and I did 2 1/2 weeks in Spain and Portugal in October and the trip was wonderful. We drove and got as far south as Seville, cordoba, and Granada but did not get to the coast or the Gibraltar etc. We are seniors (72) Dont' know if we could handle the driving now. Any info on train connections? Gold courses and green fees? Thanks for any help you can give.
nannibray
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May 28th, 2006, 05:39 PM
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in reply to spending an extended time in Torremolinos for say Feb. and March. My husband and I did this for several winters, traveling with Grand Circle Travel and often extended it to up to two months, some folks did it for 3 or 3 and can say I always enjoyed it. We always stayed at the Bajondillo with Grand Circle and absolutely began to feel at home more each winter, meeting some of the same folks time and time again, always some activities to keep busy, enjoyed the train from Torremolinos, one way to Malaga and the other way to Fuengirola. Many market days each week and it began to feel like home. I think if you try it, you will probably love it. Have fun. Halfpint
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May 28th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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We've stayed at the Marriott Marbella twice for a week each time, and the last time, I didn't want to leave--I easily could have stayed 2 1/2 weeks. While some people put the Costa del Sol down, and parts of it are overbuilt and tacky, Marbella is a great spot for day trips to the white villages, Granada, Nerja, and to Malaga (where the Museo Picasso is as well as the palace, Alcazar, and Picasso's house).

I'm not sure about Torremolinos--I recall if being in the "overbuilt, touristy" category, but we just went there to get leather jackets, so maybe there are parts that aren't so touristy, but I wouldn't pick that as a base. If you can, you'd be better off in Nerja or Marbella.

I don't know about the weather in Feb or March, but you can do a history check on weatherunderground.com. We were there in Oct. one year and it was mostly nice--warm, not beach weather, but we really don't go to Spain for the beaches--we go for Spain and have never been disappointed.
artlover is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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We have spent two months in Spain on the Costa del Sol for the last several years and we always go mid-January to mid-March. We go on our own and rent an apartment for the duration. We stay in Torremolinos because we have friends there and there are a lot of restaurants and small pubs that we enjoy. We are older as well and we really love the social life. Torremolinos also makes a good base for side trips throughout the area. And yes, although Torremolinos is touristy let us not forget that we are tourists. As mentioned, there are parts of Torremolinos that are less "touristy" than others. The weather in the winter tends to be cool and you will need a jacket. Some days may be in the 50's. This year we had a lot of sunny, gorgeous days in the low 60's.
I am very familiar with the Grand Circle program at the Bajondillo and I highly recommend especially for the older set. As halfpint says a lot of the guests return year after year and meet up with the same friends. The Grand Circle offers a fairly complete tour program as well. The Bajondillo offers a studio apartment which is good for lunch and snacks. The hotel has an emtertainment program which is nice in the evening.
There are several golf courses in the area and I believe the closest is at the Golf Parador in Torremolinos.
There are local trains which run from Malaga to Fuengirola (stopping in Torremolinos, of course. From the train station in Malaga you can get almost anywhere in Spain. We took a delightful trip to Seville this year.
I think you would enjoy the stay.
Raydotman is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Thank you Nannibray for this post. It is something my husband and I were considering for 2007. Also thanks to Raydotman. Can you tell me more about renting on your own. Do you rent sight unseen via the internet. Is it possible to arrive sans reservations? first time and had no problems. If there is a source of informtion for winter long term rentals for seniors, I would love to hear about it.
Lillium is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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Sorry, the sentence should have read: we rented from a web site the first time and had no problems (in Hawaii).
Lillium is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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We are fortunate because we have been doing this for several years and have contacts. In our case we have a friend who handles a few rentals and has been able to help us with our own apartment. I have never done it over the internet but I suppose it is possible. I know short term rentals are available but am not sure how a rental for two months would turn out economically. I would not arrive without a reservation if I wished to stay for an extended period. You could surely find last minute hotel accommodations during the winter. But long term could pose a problem. If you find something in the area on the internet please feel free to contact me and if I am familar with the property I will let you know. I still think for a first timer that Grand Circle may be the way to go.
Raydotman is offline  
May 30th, 2006, 09:05 AM
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I too think for a lst timer that Grand Circle is the way to go. I have friends who used to go up to 4 months in the winter and finally through contacts and being very familiar with the area, began their own apartment rental, however still getting their flight through Grand Circle and often during the day would gravitate back to the Bajondillo for a familiar feeling. However in the meantime they joined some Brits to some british clubs and had a great time. The advantage of their own rental situation was it had a laundry included. However that can be handled at the Bajondillo one way or another. But the advantage of being with Grand Circle is, especially if you are seniors, you should take out the insurance as if you are on medicare, you are not covered out of the United States for any extended period and in many cases, medical help is needed and Grand Circle is right there, ready to help and handle your situation. Therefore this couple who had gone to their own rental, this past two seasons, because of health problems have gone back to the Bajondillo with Grand Circle. A more secure feeling and actually we had compared costs at one time and renting separately was not that much of a saving. Again, for the lst timer, the secure feeling can be important, especially if you have not traveled in Europe much before. Good luck. Halfpint.
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May 31st, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Goodness, Halfpint, I wonder if I know your friends.
I do agree that health care is an important issue for us older travellers. We have a Medicare supp that picks up emergency care the first 60 days out of the US. We also bought a health and evacuation insurance policy to fill in the blanks. Still, it is much easier when the Grand Circle reps know just what to do in an emergency. The price of the Grand Circle tours have been increasing lately and they no longer offer just the basic essential Costa del Sol program. If I am not mistaken you are forced to use their Dine Around which is not to my liking. Having said that I think I will take another look at the Grand Circle offerings as it certainly is an excellent program. And yes, laundry is a big issue. We always have a washing machine in our apartments but never a dryer. We hang outdoors!
Raydotman is offline  
May 31st, 2006, 05:57 PM
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To Raydotman; Just trying to remember and get my locations straight, I believe our friends rented at Playamar, perhaps a mile or so down the waterfront from the Bajondillo. I am an active walker so no difficulty. Yes, Grand Circle has raised their rates and unlike in the beginning where you used your efficienty for possibly preparing some meals, now they include those dinearound ones. However if you add weeks on to the trip, I think you would have less of those included, unless you paid extra. Since my husband died, I have gone back twice alone and still enjoyed it, however not as much. But still a lot to do and good familiar feelings. And the entertainment at the Bajondillo was always so good, especially when Doreen was around, however last I knew, she had retired except for the Wednesday Sangria party and that was a few years ago and then she was not in the best of health. Nice visiting with you. Halfpint
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Jun 1st, 2006, 06:20 AM
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Coincidences keep coming. Playamar is the apartment complex where we rent. Most of the apartments have two bedrooms and two baths and can easily accommodate 4 persons. Like you and many others we enjoy the entertainment at the Bajondillo when we drop in the cafeteria/bar in the evenings to hear Ana Maria and Phil sing. You mentioned Doreen and she still does the sangria parties. She is one of my closest friends and has been for many years. If you want to know about her, feel free to email me. (aol.com)
In the meantime an extended stay on the Costa del Sol can be a lot of fun so I hope our friends on this board decide to go for it. You too, halfpint! Good visiting with you!
Raydotman is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Hello,
My college daughter, myself, & a friend wil be traveling to Marbella in late June and staying @ the Gran Melia' Don Pepe. Has anyone stayed at this hotel? Could any of you recommend area resturants? Do the locals speak any English? Please give me some feedback.
Hopefully,
Pgreene42
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Jun 4th, 2006, 05:30 PM
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I haven't been at the Melia Don Pepe, can't afford that !! They say its a great place here in Spain And the real locals maybe don't speak English but most of the locals at Costa del Sol nowadays are British (or even from the States) so..I suppose they do
kenderina is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 06:13 PM
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On a recent trip the big surprise was Marbella--a very inviting place.

If I were going to the Costa del Sol in the winter or early spring, I would book a room for two nights and then shop around for place for the rest of the stay.
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