I have made my trip reservations for Spain in late April early May. Although I'm flying into Madrid, I will spend ALL of my time in Andalusia, for me the most interesting historical part of the country. The two Marriotts near Malaga are VC (or former VC; I have no experience of the MVC program). The key is that I want to spend the bulk of my time in Granada and Cordoba. It looks like Cordoba is on a main rail line, but Granada is not yet. So I'm looking for experienced Spain visitors to help me.
First of all, should i stay at one of the Costa del Sol Marriotts or instead in Seville or Granada or Cordoba? When I checked, since they're villas, I was given the choice of a two bedroom suite or a room with twin beds. Neither is to my liking. Is there really no choice of a one bedroom king? I have no need for two bedrooms, but I'll be d&^%ed if I'm going to spend a week sleeping in a twin bed.
So for those of you who have visited, what is your suggestion? Malaga seems generally well accessible by rail from Madrid and relatively so to both Cordoba and Granada. But would I be better off spending half the time divided between both cities (without any Marriott Plat privileges) or a city from which both are accessible, Seville?
Does anyone also know if guided day tours are available from either of the Costa del Sol Marriotts? I cannot drive a stick shift and though I have other languages, I don't speak Spanish.
All help is much appreciated!
My wife and I stayed in Spain last year during the same time as you are planning to go. We spent a week at Playa Anduluza and a week at Marbella Beach. In both cases these were exchanges for weeks at our MVC property in St. Thomas. We had a two bedroom and a three bedroom villa at the two resorts respectively.
Both resorts offer one-day guided excurisons by bus to Cordoba and Granada. We did not go on either excursion but did do an excursion through the MVC to Tangier. We rented a car during our time in Spain and spent a day driving to Granada to tour the Alhambra. It's a pretty long drive, close to two hours. We did not go to Cordoba or Seville during this trip.
I had looked at train travel in advance of our trip but I found the website difficult to understand. While the website offered pages in English, Malaga seemed to be on a regional rather than national route and the regional pages were only offered in Spanish. If you do plan to travel out of Malaga you will want to stay at Marbella Beach as it is much closer than Playa Anduluza, which is in Estapona. Getting to the train station from the resorts may be an issue, although I believe bus service is available.
What is very accessible from the two resorts are the various White Towns in the mountains. We visited Benehavis, Mijas and Ronda while we were in Spain and enjoyed them very much. There are many others as well. We also enjoyed Marbella and spent several days there. You need a car to get to these locations, however and most of the rental cars are stick shifts. Driving is not easy in Andulusia, although we did adapt to it.
I hope this is helpful.
Spain is one of my favorite countries and I am sure you will truly enjoy the experience. We usually do a driving tour so can't help with the train and we don't usually use Marriott when we go. The state run guest houses are all very charming and we prefer them. (sorry Marriott) However, I will strongly encourage you to visit Sevill. That, and Granada are truly our favorites. I know you are interested in history so you will be thrilled with the Alhambra.
Costa del Sol has always been too "Miami beach" for our taste but many, many tourists love it. Whatever you decide you will enjoy yourself. If you can possibly get to Toledo you would enjoy that and the history there.