A Mediterranean vacation may seem out of reach for travelers on a budget. But the region isn’t exclusively reserved for jet-set high-rollers. Many of the hotels in Spain’s famed region are far more wallet-friendly than their counterparts in the Amalfi Coast or French Riviera. Take a look at our picks for the best value hotels in Costa del Sol.
The two-story, 24-room Hotel Puerta del Mar is in a pretty building tucked along one of Nerja's winding, pedestrian-only streets. Inside and out, the hotel has a relaxed, bright Mediterranean feel. The rooftop terrace with saltwater pool is a lovely place to relax after a busy day on one of the local beaches or exploring nearby ancient caves. Rooms are basic and spotlessly clean with mini-fridges and electric kettles. Many restaurants, bars, and shops (and the beach) are within easy walking distance.
The Japanese-themed Hotel La Luna Blanca is incredibly charming for a value hotel. Located in a residential area of the beach town Torremolinos, a short drive from the city of Malaga, the intimate hotel delivers personalized service to guests staying in the 11 spacious rooms. Although the beach is a 10-minute walk away, there is an adequately sized pool in the back garden and a private hot tub on the roof. The hotel offers authentic Japanese cuisine at its on-site restaurant, which has outdoor seating on the terrace.
Hotel Tarik is a 95-room value hotel located across from the beach in the resort town of Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol. Restaurants and bars are in walking distance, but it's about a 20-minute walk from the historic city center. Rooms are simple and have somewhat dated decor, but most have balconies with sea views. The hotel's location on the beachfront promenade is great, and there's also an attractive outdoor pool surrounded by a spacious lawn for sunbathing. Buffet and a la carte meals are available, and the hotel offers bed-and-breakfast and half-board options. Most guests are couples or families with kids.
Room Mate Larios is located in the historic and commercial center of Malaga on a pedestrian street famous for its shops, bars, and restaurants. The mid-range boutique-style chain has 41 spacious rooms and suites with minibars and free Wi-Fi, and some have kitchenettes and balconies. Though there's no full restaurant, there is a breakfast buffet for a fee, a posh indoor bar, and a rooftop terrace bar, but guests complain about it opening later in the season than other nearby rooftop terraces. There’s no fitness center or pool, and parking is located a half-mile away.
The 61-unit Aparthotel Puerto Azul Marbella is a mid-range property in a tourist hotspot overlooking Fontanilla Beach and the Marbella Promenade. Marbella's Old Town is a 10-minute walk away, and is packed with even more shops and restaurants. A small outdoor pool provides a nice spot to lounge in the sun, plus there's an restaurant serving Spanish and Italian fare. Studios and apartments are modern and pleasant, and have kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi. They all also include balconies, some which have excellent sea views, though bathrooms in certain units can be compact.
The 18-room, mid-range Hotel Paraiso del Mar is short on amenities but it has an intimate and inviting atmosphere ideal for couples. The hotel's proximity to the beach is another major plus, as there's a staircase that brings guests straight to the sand. It's also within walking distance of quite a few bars and restaurants, as well as the town center of Nerja. Guest rooms are old-fashioned, but they're comfortable and outfitted with free Wi-Fi, minibars, air-conditioning, and jetted tubs. Aside from beach access, an outdoor pool, and hot tub, there are no leisure facilities, and dining is limited to a lobby bar and breakfast buffet.
The 70-room Hotel Isabel sits on the promenade at Playamar, one of Torremolinos' beautiful beaches. Fans of sun and sand come here again and again for the views and the relaxing atmosphere. The Isabel is about a 20-minute walk from the city center for those needing a change of scene, but this beachfront resort provides plenty of opportunity for lounging waterside. Just know that rooms are clean but quite basic, and extra fees for in-room safes and fridges may make guests feel nickel-and-dimed.
The upper-middle-range NH Marbella is an elegant property in a quiet area that's within walking distance of the ocean and the bustling Paseo Maritimo overlooking it. While the immediate area lacks restaurants or attractions, Marbella’s Old Town and Puerto Banus are 10 minutes or so by car. Its 163 rooms are clean and comfortable, with minibars, beautiful wood features, and marble bathrooms -- but no coffee/tea facilities. The restaurant serves a free breakfast buffet with lots of hot items, and there's a large outdoor pool with a covered bar. Features include a bright fitness center with a sauna, and a solarium with wicker sunbeds and straw umbrellas.
Popular with families, the beachfront Marinas de Nerja Aparthotel has 216 apartment-style rooms, many of them with sea views. The hotel is geared to tourists, especially families with kids, and offers an all-inclusive option that attracts Spaniards on long weekends or school holidays. Located a 20-minute walk from central Nerja, this hotel has a big pool with lounge chairs and sea views along with an indoor pool and hot tubs. All rooms have convenient kitchens -- including kettles, mini-fridges, and a small cooktop -- and balconies.
With 36 apartments and 64 studios, the upper-middle-range Princesa Playa Hotel Apartamentos is a solid choice for budget-conscious travelers who want to be near the beach. Location is a big plus, as it’s surrounded by restaurants and only a five-minute walk from Marbella’s Old Town. The rooftop pool and restaurant/bar feature fantastic coastline views. A hot breakfast buffet and lunch are served daily, but food and bar service ends in the afternoon. An adjacent garage offers parking, but it’s expensive. While there’s valet laundry and dry cleaning service, amenities are not on par with Marbella’s more upscale hotels and resorts.
The two-pearl Hotel Casa Rosa is a 14-room value property close to the mountains above Benalmadena. It's on a quiet residential hilltop near local cafes and restaurants, though getting to the beach or nightlife requires a car. This well-liked property has a simple, unfussy style, and it's a great home base for exploring the region for guests needing few frills. Rooms are pleasant and bright, with balconies and mini-fridges, placing them in a tier above most value hotels in the area. Rates are also some of the most affordable around. There are a rooftop terrace and a breakfast room where a great spread is served daily for a fee.
The two-and-a-half-pearl Hotel Carmen Teresa is a charming family-run property in a mostly quiet, residential area. It has a convenient location a five-minute walk from the beach, as well as countless bars and restaurants, plus a nearby train stop heads to Malaga Airport. Being situated on a busy street can sometimes lead to traffic noise, however. The 40 guest rooms are simply styled and minimally furnished in neutral tones, and come with furnished balconies, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Mini-fridges and safes are available, but they must be rented at an additional cost. Limited features include an outdoor pool, lovely garden, and buffet breakfast plus snacks throughout the day.
Hostal Don Peque is a budget-friendly option in Nerja, located a five-minute walk from the beach and near ample shops, bars, and restaurants. All 10 guest rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and private bathrooms with stall showers. The homey rooms are spacious and comfortable, and all but two have balconies. Unsurprisingly, features are limited, but there's a rooftop terrace where a well-reviewed continental breakfast is served during warmer weather. The on-site owners and endearing design make this an excellent pick for value-minded adults, though it should be noted there's no elevator for the four-story building.
Hotel La Chancla is a nine-room budget boutique hotel on the Malaga seafront with a relaxed vibe and prime location a 10-minute drive from downtown. Rooms are bright and upbeat, with free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, although bathrooms are generally small and amenities are otherwise limited. The hotel’s casual restaurant overlooks the water and serves a generous continental breakfast complete with accompanying musical entertainment every morning. A modern bar draws crowds and buzzes with energy into the night. For a respite from the social scene, there’s a rooftop terrace with excellent views of the water and a hot tub.
In the heart of Marbella, the Hotel San Cristobal is a two-and-a-half-pearl property perfectly situated in proximity to historical sights and plenty of shopping and dining options. Its location may be its best feature -- the beach and most must-sees are within a five-minute walk -- as the hotel's 96 traditionally decorated rooms could use an update. All do include free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. There’s a vibrant Mediterranean restaurant offering views of the adjacent Alameda Park, a down-to-earth bar, and a hot-and-cold breakfast spread (for a reasonable fee). The hotel also has several spacious meeting rooms that are perfect for accommodating business travelers.
The Hotel Palmasol is a budget property that's conveniently close to Benalmadena's lively marina, with lots of dining and nightlife options. It has an indoor and outdoor pool, along with two bars and some breezy terraces, but the whole property is dated and in need of TLC. The 269 rooms all have balconies and flat-screen TVs, and while some bathrooms have been modernized, everything from furniture to decor is old and worn. Breakfast is free, but fees for every other little thing (Wi-Fi, kettles, towels, etc.) can add up.
The Roc Hotel Flamingo is an affordable, cheerful, budget-friendly beach hotel. The 11-floor, 243-room building has an '80s vibe, and definitely does not impress with dated, basic decor. Right out the door, though, is the center of lively Torremolinos. The ocean is a 10-minute walk, and each room has a private balcony for soaking in fresh sea air. There's a pleasant outdoor pool with rows of lounge chairs, but expect crowds both here and at the buffet.