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Annie Bennett
Thursday August 18 2022, 10:23am
Choosing an all-inclusive holiday in mainland Spain means you can make the most of every minute of your holiday, whether you want to relax by the pool or try a different activity every day. More upmarket properties are becoming increasingly popular, some just for adults, with superb spa and sports facilities and menus devised by top chefs. 
The Costa de la Luz, which extends from Tarifa to the Portuguese border on Spain’s Atlantic coast, was developed a few decades later than the Costa Brava and Costa Blanca on the east coast and has the best selection of all-inclusives. On the Costa del Sol, older hotels are being totally remodelled to reflect the tastes of a new generation of holidaymakers who expect healthy as well as indulgent food, imaginative and stimulating activities for their children and fitness facilities that equal or surpass what they are used to at home.
Main photo: Melia Atlantico Isla Canela in Costa de la Luz, Andalusia
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Best for luxury: Ikos Andalusia*
Best for golf and fitness: Iberostar Royal Andalus*
Best for waterparks: Magic Natura Animal Waterpark and Polynesian Lodge Resort*
Best for beaches: Barcelo Cabo de Gata Resort*
Best for spa: Elba Estepona Gran Hotel & Thalasso Spa*
Best for activities: Melia Atlantico Isla Canela*
Best for flying and flopping: Evenia Zoraida Park*
Best for multigenerational family holidays: Estival El Dorado Resort*
Best for value: Riu Costa del Sol*
Best for couples and groups of friends: Alegria Palacio Mojacar*
Best for facilities: Riu Chiclana*
Best for style: Iberostar Selection Marbella Coral Beach*
Best for healthy family holidays: Barcelo Punta Umbria Beach Resort*
Best for adults: Alegria Mar Mediterraneo*
Best for luxury
The all-inclusive concept is taken to a new level of luxury at the five-star Ikos Andalusia, which is on Guadalmansa beach between Estepona and Marbella, less than an hour from Malaga airport. The 393 rooms and suites (some with private pools), in soft grey and white tones, are arranged around pools and gardens and are flooded with Mediterranean light.
You won’t get buffet fatigue here as you can also eat at one of the half dozen other options. On some packages, you can even dine at restaurants outside the hotel at no extra cost. Other attractive perks include use of a Mini to explore the white villages in the hills, nip down to Puerto Banus, play a round of golf at one of the nearby courses or have a cultural day in Malaga. Your children, from babies to teenagers, will meanwhile be in the capable hands of the smiling kids’ team and will probably have forgotten you exist.
Restaurants 7
Pool Y
Price £££
Book a stay*
Best for golf and fitness
Right by the splendid La Barrosa beach — one of the best in Spain — the Iberostar Royal Andalus will put a smile on the face of everyone in the family. Kids love the slides in the children’s pool with its dragons and Viking ship, while the adjacent Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club, designed by Severiano Ballesteros, keeps the adults happy. A lot of the bright, modern rooms and suites have sea views — book a beachfront one on the ground floor to stroll straight down to the beach. With clubs for children of different ages, tennis courts, pilates, Zumba and a spa, it is all go here. The focus is on the superb local cuisine in the four restaurants, including the cool Sea Soul beach club.  If you want to be close — but not that close — to extended family, the adjacent five-star Iberostar Andalucia Playa has more of a grown-up vibe.
Restaurants 4
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*
Best for waterparks
If you dread your children saying they are bored on holiday, just book yourself a lodge in this resort in the hills overlooking Benidorm, which is part of the Terra Natura and Aqua Natura wildlife and water parks — with unlimited entry. Get up close to elephants, tigers and rhinos, then dial up the adrenaline levels on the thrilling rides and water chutes. For any stubbornly non-outdoorsy teens there are games and consoles to keep them entertained. The lodges have one, two or three bedrooms and basic kitchenettes, so you could book two or more for an extended family gathering. Three à la carte restaurants as well as buffets, lots of sports, three pools and Benidorm a free bus ride away mean you’ll never be worrying about coming up with ideas for what to do next. 
Restaurants 6
Pool Y
Price £
Book a stay*
Best for beaches
Just ten minutes’ drive from Almeria airport, this beachfront hotel is next to the Cabo de Gata nature reserve, which is an area of mesmerising volcanic landscapes and spectacular beaches with crystalline water — don’t forget to pack your snorkel and flippers. The turquoise and white contemporary decor in the 230 rooms accentuates the laid-back Mediterranean vibe of this particularly attractive part of Spain. You could drive to a different pristine beach (swimsuits sometimes optional) every day then relax by one of four outdoor pools — one just for kids and two with children’s sections — or switch off in the spa. The four restaurants include Arrozante, with excellent authentic paellas and other rice dishes. 
Restaurants 4
Pool Y
Price £
Book a stay*
Best for spa
Traditional Andalusian and Far Eastern architecture create a comfortable, luxury vibe at this five-star, beachfront hotel, which has 138 rooms and 64 suites. A ten-minute drive west of Estepona, with a selection of excellent golf courses in the vicinity, the property has more of an adult vibe but your children will be happy here too, splashing around in the designated pool or enjoying the activities in the kids’ club. A babysitting service means parents can relax over dinner and drinks on the terrace. As well as the Thalasso circuit, a full range of treatments are available in the sumptuous spa and there is a covered pool on the roof terrace. Food is excellent in the two à la carte restaurants and the buffet.
Restaurants 3
Pool Y
Price £££
Book a stay*
Best for activities
Close to the Portuguese border at the western end of the Costa de la Luz, the four-star Melia Atlantico overlooks the golden-sand Isla Canela beach and the Carreras river on the edge of Ayamonte, which is a proper little town rather just a tourist resort. A lot of the 358 rooms have sea views and some have a sofa bed. The best are in The Level section, which is more like a five-star experience, with access to a private pool with canopied sunbeds. With plenty of activities for adults and children — including flamenco lessons — and bikes for hire to ride along the coastal path and explore the trails in the Guadiana wetlands adjacent to the hotel, you can have a lot of fun here. Isla Canela golf course is a ten-minute drive away.
Restaurants 3
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*
Best for flying and flopping
The four-star Evenia Zoraida Park and its sister hotel, the Evenia Zoraida Garden, are part of a huge resort complex right by the beach, about half an hour’s drive west of the city of Almeria and its airport. As well as the lagoon pool, the resort has a waterpark with areas for different ages. You can mix it up and eat at the restaurants in both hotels, which makes things a lot more interesting if you are there for a fortnight. Jars of baby food are prepared daily for the buffets. Rooms sleep up to four and have bold design with purple, orange and yellow hexagons, which makes a change. Roquetas de Mar is great for shopping and La Serena golf club is nearby. 
Restaurants 6
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*
Best for multigenerational family holidays
Immediately south of the large resort of Salou, Cambrils has a more traditional seaside vibe and is popular with Spanish and French holidaymakers. Next to La Llosa beach, the Estival El Dorado is close to the PortAventura World and Ferrari Land theme parks. Drive. One of the hotel’s pools is adult-only with Balinese sunbeds and there are slides, chutes and waterfalls for the children. Clubs cater for kids aged from three to 18. You can rent bikes to ride along the promenade or tackle more challenging routes into the hills through the vineyards and villages of the Priorat area. With interconnecting rooms, suites, apartments and villas, the hotel suits groups with different requirements. 
Restaurants 3
Pool Y
Price £
Book a stay*

Best for value
Right by the Mediterranean in Torremolinos (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), the Riu Costa del Sol is a large hotel with contemporary design and everything you need for a no-fuss beach break. There’s a splash park as well as outdoor and indoor swimming pools, sport and fitness sessions and kids’ clubs with lots of fun activities — your holiday just takes care of itself here. As well as being a tourist resort, Torremolinos is actually a great base and, if you fancy a change of scene, you can just head into the hills for a hike or bike ride, or get the train to Malaga for a cultural fix. 
Restaurants 3
Pool Y
Price £
Book a stay*
Best for couples and groups of friends
Although most of the hotel is modern, part of it was originally a palatial residence, built at the beginning of the 20th century. The adult-only property is just outside the pretty hilltop town of Mojacar — about 15 minutes by bus or taxi. The Club Marina golf club is next door and you can walk down to Marina de la Torre beach. Some of the 154 rooms have sea views and those in the club palacio category have large windows, high ceilings and a bit more character. With a lagoon pool in the gardens and a pleasant spa, this is a good choice if you are looking for a quieter environment with plenty to explore nearby.
Restaurants 1
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*

Best for facilities
The four-star Riu Chiclana is a massive complex overlooking the Atlantic with tons of activities to try during your stay. Lemon, grey and white shades create a bright contemporary look in the rooms and suites — there are more than 800 — all with a balcony or terrace and a sofa bed. You can walk down to the magnificent La Barrosa beach straight from the hotel — but there a lot of steps to climb back up afterwards. There are five pools, including one with a swim-up bar for those afternoon mojitos. Children have two pools with slides to splash around in. 
Don’t worry about overdoing it at the dessert counter at the buffet, as the RiuFit programme has a range of fun classes to burn off the calories. The traditional Andalusian town of Chiclana de la Frontera is a 15-minute taxi ride away and this is a spectacular strip of coast to explore by car or bike.
Restaurants 4
Pool Y
Price £
Book a stay*
Best for style
Right by the beach, a stroll along the promenade from Puerto Banus and 15 minutes’ drive from Marbella, the Iberostar Selection Marbella Coral Beach exudes Mediterranean glamour. Some of the rooms, with cool aquamarine and olive textiles, have hammocks on the terrace, others have shared pools — this is a hotel where guests loll around in their rooms, rather than just nip in and out. You might want to hang out by one of the pools though, or with a cocktail at the beach club (not part of all-inclusive deals). This is a good choice if you have a baby or toddler and aren’t quite ready for the full-on family hotel vibe.  
Restaurants 2
Pool Y
Price £££
Book a stay*
The best all-inclusive hotels in Mallorca
Best for healthy family holidays
Set in countryside, a few minutes from the fabulous Punta Umbria beach and close to Enebrales nature reserve and Marismas de Odiel marshland on the Costa de la Luz, this four-star complex is a great option for an active holiday. You’ll spend your days swimming, hiking and cycling, as well as trying spinning and tai chi classes in the hotel, which has excellent fitness and spa facilities. There is plenty to entertain children of all ages, including circus, music and environmental awareness sessions. All rooms have a sofa bed and some are interconnecting with a sitting room too. There’s a variety of restaurants and bars — sunset gin and tonics could become a holiday habit — and every day feels different here.
Restaurants 5
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*

Best for adults
In the established resort of Santa Susanna, the adult-only Alegria Mar Mediterráneo is a beachfront hotel with soothing neutral decor and a simple yet stylish seaside vibe. If you just want to breathe the sea air and reenergise in the Mediterranean light — maybe with a glass of rosé at the beach club — you will enjoy this pared-back version of an all-inclusive hotel. Read your book on the deck by the pool, bubble away in the spa or stroll along the sand — this is a place to just take it easy. If you feel like exploring, take the local train down the coast or have a day out in Barcelona or Girona.
Restaurants 1
Pool Y
Price ££
Book a stay*
Inspired to visit Spain but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from Jet2 Holidays* and TUI Holidays*.
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