If 2016 saw a burst of luxury developments for the Andalusian port city of Malaga in Spain, 2017 is shaping up to continue apace. With a stellar increase in Michelin rated restaurants, two new world class museums in the Russian Museum and Pop-up Pompidou, increased port facilities hosting the world’s largest cruise ships, and yet more investment into infrastructure, the arts and culture, Malaga enjoyed a major boost to its luxury credentials in 2016. This year will see some exciting new openings as well as ambitious project announcements to cement Malaga’s luxury standing for years to come.
Gran Hotel Miramar *****GL
The first big announcement of 2017 heralds the long awaited Gran Hotel Miramar, a five-star Grand Luxury designated hotel newly opened to guests. The building boasts an intriguing and rich history deserving of its newly recovered status. Originally opened as a luxury hotel in 1926, the palatial edifice served as a field hospital from 1936 during the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. After, it reopened as a hotel, but with less of its original function and prestige; while, from 1987 to 2007 the structure served as Malaga’s Palace of Justice. Finally, from the first of January, 2017, the hotel returned to its former glory as the premier luxury hotel in Malaga with a soft opening to welcome the very first guests.
Previous guests from the hotel’s earlier glory days included Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles and Ava Gardner. Today’s guests can chose from some 200 rooms of varying luxury, from €200 up to €900 a night. The official inauguration in March, 2017, launches the full facilities to include a heated swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, historical gardens and five gastronomic spaces. With nearly 13,000 square metres (140,000 square feet) of carefully renovated and preserved interiors, the Gran Miramar Hotel is poised to capitalise on its regal history and palatial character.
A new era for the Malaga Picasso Museum
Also making big news to kick off an impressive year for the city of Malaga, was the unveiling of the new collection at the Malaga Picasso Museum on 13th March, 2017. Already the most popular museum in Andalusia, the new collection valued at more than €500m is sure to keep the museum at capacity. The artist’s grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, has loaned 166 works to the museum for a period of at least three years.
Described as “a new era” for the museum, the collection does fundamentally alter the experience of visiting. The collection is organised chronologically, offering visitors the opportunity to consider the changes and common themes in Picasso’s approach throughout his long and prolific life. Works include sculptures, engravings, sketches, ceramics and, naturally, paintings.
A revamped Tivoli theme park
A bit more distant on the horizon, developers announced plans for a €300m expansion and improvement project on the popular Tivoli World theme park located in the Benalmadena area of Malaga. The park has attracted visitors for 45 years and plans to modernize Tivoli began more than a decade ago. However, now that local administrations and the real estate group involved feel comfortable enough with the financial recovery and assets to move forward, the project is again gaining momentum.
The plans include added attractions for fun-seekers at the park, but will also see the addition of a commercial complex with a luxury hotel, a cinema, concert hall and hypermarket along with the necessary expanded parking and infrastructure. The aim is to bring a greater touch of class and luxury to the complex with increased leisure for adults, while sprucing up the theme parks attractions with such new installations as a mini-Formula 1 circuit, an area for extreme stunts demonstrations and an Everest expedition attraction.
Malaga’s first skyscraper
While this ambitious project is not expected to complete before 2020, the Qatari group funding the development already paid a €2m advance on the estimated €120m final price tag, and work is expected to begin by the end of 2017. What will ultimately stand as a 135m (445ft) structure built on the tip of the city’s central port area sticking into the sea, the luxury hotel will offer views over the Mediterranean from each of its 352 rooms on 35 floors. The complex will include a casino, conference centre and shopping area, exclusive dining facilities and terraces, gardens, spa, and a sea-water filled swimming pool. The complex would be Malaga’s first skyscraper and its second five star hotel, after the newly opened Gran Hotel Miramar.
…and more and more exciting food
Malaga’s ascendancy on the fine food scene has been well documented over the past few years and that trend looks also to continue. The city’s love affair with Japanese culinary influences will also continue as famed chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa plans to open his first Nobu restaurant in Spain and has chosen Malaga’s Marbella area for the setting, in the same Puente Romano Beach Resort that is home to Dani Garcia’s two Michelin star restaurant. Similarly, the Kabuki group with its four existing restaurants, each awarded a Michelin star, is slated to open a new installation in the the Malaga capital by the name of Kirei in the Room Mate Valeria hotel. These restaurants are sure to create some tough competition for the new establishments opening in the Gran Hotel Miramar and the skyscraper hotel once completed, not to mention the existing seven Michelin stars in Malaga province; all giving Malagueñans and visitors alike some fantastic dining options.
Alan Hazel is Owner and Director of Cortijo El Carligto.