We are looking at taking a trip to the southern coast of Spain early next summer (June 2014). I have read mixed reviews about the Marriott/AC hotel "Malaga Palacio". (We thought Malaga seems like a great central location for getting other places.)
Also, it appears the Marriott Marbella Beach Resort is not available anytime by using points. We can book the Marriott Andulucia Playa in Estepona with points but they require 30,000 points a night and 2 upgrade certificates (equaling 10,000 extra points) per night. Is it worth that amount of points? Is is filled with children. We were looking for a quiet place. Also, how convenient is Marbella and/or Estepona for transportation to other cities nearby and would that location require a car. Any other Marriott locations recommended? We love to travel by trains and buses to engage with the locals so any suggestions on the best place to use our points would be much appreciated.
PS We are also doing a day trip to Granada, should we stay overnight?
Sea Star Traveler
Just saw this post, hope its not too late. We stayed in AC Hotel Mlalaga in the summer of 2012. We thought it was a fine hotel clean and friendly. The roof top pool and lounge was excellent. We rented a car for the week so we drove all the time. The valet parking at the hotel was easy and pretty quick. At the time if you were a Gold Elite level all the contents of the mini bar were complimentary. It is in the city and a bit busy with traffic around the hotel but there is plenty to see within a short walk including a fine church and an open air mall. We used the hotel here for 2 nights and visited Ronda and explored north of Malaga. We used AC hotels for the whole trip from Malaga to Rock of Gibraltar (Algeciras), Seville, Granada and Madrid. They were all different levels of style and looks, but all were comfortable and close to all attractions and the points spent were quite affordable. Granada is worth spending the night and not hurrying especially if you are visiting the Alhambra which takes a good part of the day, but well worth it. We found driving easy (we bought the Spain maps for our Garmin) and enjoyable as we could stop and explore when we wanted. Good luck and have fun!
We stayed in Granada overnight at the beautiful AC Palacio de Santa Paula. As gold, we were upgraded to a wonderful suite, had a complimentary bottle of wine and snack delievered by a butler, complimentary breakfast on their patio (this was awesome, I'm running out of superlatives here!). Granada is totally worthwhile for a night stay, if only to visit Alhambra. The mini-bar is complimentary at all AC hotels, at least in Spain.
We also stayed a week at the Marbella Beach Resort, yes it was filled with children, lots of pool side activities, but beautiful resort. I guess the Playa Andaluza is the same. We had a car, and I can't imagine how we would have been able to visit around without, as we don't speak any spanish. We paid for the Marbella Beach and had an amazing price through Orbitz which Marriott matched, but I would happily book with points if available, especially with the deal 5 for 4 nights. The villas are very well stocked, nicely decorated, Nespresso machines, all comfort, so I think it would be a good deal, especially for a family with kids. Have fun!