Little travel stories: Málaga, a perfect getaway

 

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The capital of Costa del Sol is widely known as a holiday destination. Perfectly connected through its international airport, Málaga has transformed itself into a culture hub and a vibrant city with several possibilities. We spent a weekend there in January, here´s our little travel story:

Travelling from Sevilla as we did is just a couple hours away by highway (fast and easy), but as mentioned, the airport is very well connected with most major airports in Europe. Delta also flies directly from the US.

Málaga is very walkable. Downtown area is not accesible for cars, which makes it very comfortable and without traffic noise. There are plenty of private apartments that can be rented for short stays, and very good luxury apartments, many of them with great sunny rooftops. However, on this occasion we recommend the brand new Gran Hotel Miramar, the latest luxury hotel in town, part of The Leading Hotels Of The World. It promises to be the landmark hotel in town, great sea views, attentive service and comfortable rooms. Its rooftop will also be open for the summer season.

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From the hotel, it´s just a short nice stroll along the promenade into Muelle Uno, the harbor area. Cruise ships dock here, and it´s full of shops, restaurants, and the Pompidou Museum, one of the many museums in the city and part of the visual landscape of Muelle Uno.

Gastronomy is one of the main attractions of Málaga. The number of tapas bars has increased lately, and the variety of restaurants and places for lunch/dinner makes it hard to choose. For lunch, we tried Taberna Garcia, a very small tapas place in a quiet street behind the Mercado de la Merced market. Nice service and dishes worth the visit. Booking in advance is essential on weekends. For dinner, La Cosmopolita restaurant & tapas bar is an excellent choice, with chef Dani Carnero taking care of guests.

But before dinner, the place to go is the small mountain of Gibralfaro, for one simple reason: the best views over the city. Easy to reach on foot (15min of slopes but easy to do on a paved walking small way), the reward comes at the end. Go at sunset, and stay until the city lights appear. Totally worth it.

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The following day, there´s a fun daytrip to consider seriously: Caminito Del Rey, a popular walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near the small and charming village of Ardales. All is just 1h drive from Málaga. Tickets for guided tours must be booked online in advance. Expect breath-taking views, impressive nature and beautiful landscapes.

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Back in Málaga, it´s time to explore some of the trendy spots. Try La Sole Del Pimpi, the modern version of the well-known traditional El Pimpi, and located right next. At La Sole, you can find signature cocktails, Asian food and a fashionable atmosphere. But a visit to Málaga is not complete without its amazing sweet wines. Taste some at La Odisea, a surprising lovely old bar with wine barrels, bohemian decor, old books, and a charming small outdoor patio in the back.

Museums in Málaga are all great. Our favorites are Picasso Museum, a must-do, Carmen Thyssen, the CAC, and Pompidou for modern-art lovers.

Finally, and since the Costa del Sol is perfectly connected East to West by highway, visiting the Axarquía region is a very good idea. This is the mountain region next to Málaga, full of small charming white villages. We chose Frigiliana, about 40min drive along the coast, and known as one of the most beautiful villages out there. Walk the alleys and streets, buy some local handcraft and try their local cheeses and wines.  Top it up with a coffee with sea views in the town of Nerja, just 15min from Frigiliana, before returning to Málaga.

Málaga is about 1.30h drive from Granada, just 2 hours away from Sevilla or Córdoba. But these are other small travel stories that deserve separate upcoming posts.

When to go: Costa del Sol has a very specific climate, the mountains surrounding Málaga and Marbella create a micro-climate that keeps mild temperatures all year round and sunny weather most of the time.

 

For an insider private trip to Costa del Sol, Málaga and Marbella, please contact us below:

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Eduardo Blanco provides luxury travel planning and concierge services in Spain. From private transfers to luxury hotel booking with dedicated attention and vip treatment, bespoke expert local guides, car & driver disposals, daytrips, off-the-beaten path experiences or gourmet journeys. Upon request only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Events To Attend In Spain This Year

No doubt Spain is a country full of festivities, parties and special celebrations all year round. But there are some events happening that catches attention to most travelers interested in Spain that can be added to other exclusive ones. Here is our selection and ideas around them:

February 22nd to 26th – ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair.

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In its 36th edition, ARCOMadrid – one of the most important contemporary art fairs worldwide – will gather once again the most innovative artists and top critics in the contemporary scene. There’ll be a series of Professional Meetings where art critics, galleries and artists can better understand the Fair’s content. The Forum will host talks on art collecting, organized in collaboration with Banco Santander Foundation. ARCOMadrid 2017 will have Argentina as guest country.

What we can do: secure tickets and passes to the event, secure private tours around ARCO with experts and art professionals, arrange private visits to Madrid´s top art galleries…

February 23rd to March 5th – Cadiz Carnival

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One of the most popular carnivals in Spain, yet to be discovered by many visitors. A full city that gets packed those days and lives for the carnival with street parades and amazing local atmosphere at every corner. A carnival for the people and to immerse in an authentic whirpool of music, colours and fun in one of the most charming cities of Spain.

What we can do: book the best accommodation and private apartments around, arrange city tours to mingle with the locals, go tapas with them, or book tables for the finest seafood restaurants in Cádiz.

February 17th to 26th – Málaga Spanish Film Festival

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Since 1998, the city of Malaga in Andalusia has hosted this festival dedicated to showcasing and promoting Spanish film.Every year the festival includes previously unseen feature-length and short films and documentaries. Malaga is transformed into a centre for debate and a meeting point for figures in the national film industry, as well as showcasing a wide range of productions.

What we can do: arrange experiences around the festival, access and afterparties, yacht parties, cultural tours in the city, day trips, Marbella shopping…

April 9th to 16th – Holy Week in Seville

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 Prepare yourself to experience the most amazing expression of religion and faith that comes out to the streets of a city that lives for it. Crowds gather to see all the processions (around 60 of them) invading the streets simultaneously during 7 days, an impressive baroque show not to be missed.

What we can do: organize a full experience around it with local experts on Seville´s Holy Week, as you follow them on their particular pilgrimage around the churches, processions and the best spots to see all the action. But don´t be confused, it is also a week to enjoy the city within the cultural and gastronomic aspect.

April 23rd El Clásico, Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona

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 The biggest football (soccer) game ever. Attending this fantastic game between the most powerful teams in the world is a show beyond compare, few sport events come close to this. The impressive Santiago Bernabeu stadium will be the host.

What we can do: secure seats, vip tickets and boxes, provide private transportation to the game, book the best hotels around the stadium…

April 30 to May 7th – Feria de Abril, Seville

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 After the Holy Week, this city completely turns from a religious experience to a full week of 24h fiesta, literally. Hundreds of colourful casetas in a dedicated area within Los Remedios neighbourhood and built for the ocassion are home to serious dance, sing, drink and socialize. During those days, Sevilla also hosts some of the most important bullfights in Spain.

What we can do: take you to the Feria the way it must be done: with locals. Arrange horse carriages to get there in style or horses to ride around the Feria, secure the best seats for bullfights, prepare visits to the best designers for flamenco outfits for ladies where they can rent them and get dressed, take you to the best privately-owned casetas, and if you don´t sleep in the mornings after a full night of fiesta, explore the city with the company of the best private guides.

May 12th to 14th – Formula 1 Gran Premio de España

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The F1 returns to its yearly date at Montmeló circuit in Barcelona. Expect the usual great F1 show that comes with it and the passion for speed.

What we can do: secure tickets, vip seats and paddock access. Meet & Greet with some drivers, hospitality experiences, afterparties in the city, sports cars rentals…

Plácido Domingo – different shows in Spain

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 As part of his 2017 world tour, the Spanish tenor and one of the world´s best, will be performing different shows across Spain: La Traviata at Palau de Las Arts Valencia in February,  Thais at Liceu Barcelona in March, and Macbeth at Teatro Real in Madrid in July.

What we can do: secure tickets and vips seats, arrange accommodation at the finest hotels in every city together with private transfers to the shows, organize experiences around music and opera with experts, musicians or singers, prepare visits to luthiers…

July-August: Mérida Classical Theatre Festival

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 A new edition of the prestigious Mérida Classical Theatre Festival will be held in this historic town in the province of Badajoz in July and August. The event is dedicated to theatre, and while the fundamental core of texts are of Greco-Latin origin, the festival is also open to the dramatic arts in general and includes music performances and a film season. One of the event’s main attractions is its stunning setting: the Roman theatre dating from the end of the first century B.C., and which has today been restored to its original function as the venue for this festival. Exact dates to be confirmed.

What we can do: arrange passes and access to the shows, private cultural and archaeological tours in Mérida or Cáceres, gourmet experiences around the Ibérico ham, accommodation in luxury country homes…

July 29th to August 5th: Copa del Rey de Vela (King´s Cup), at The Real Club Náutico in Palma de Mallorca

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The Copa del Rey is one of the most important sailing regattas of the Mediterranean sea and Spain’s most historic and celebrated yachting event. Once a year international celebrities, Spanish royalty and the world’s best sailors come together in Palma de Mallorca for a glorious week of offshore competition and onshore festivities and the perfect combination of sun, fun and aristocracy. During the Copa del Rey, Majorca turns into the capital of sails.

What we can do: arrange tickets for the show, vip access, parties, yacht and boat rental to see the races from the sea, organize experiences around the world of sailing in the island, rent private villas or the best hotel suites during the event, plan gourmet tours and book the finest restaurants…

September 16th to 24th – San Sebastian International Film Festival

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Since its creation in 1953 it has established itself as one of the most important cinema festivals in the world. It has hosted several important events of the history of cinema, such as the international premiers of Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock.

What we can do: arrange access to premieres and afterparties, meet & greet with industry professionals, book tables at the many Michelin star restaurants or go pintxos within the amazing food scene in the city.

October 19th to 22nd: Andalucia Valderrama Masters

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Golf lovers, this is for you. One of the best European tournaments, that will surely soon be part of the Rolex series. Hosted by Sergio Garcia Foundation, and taking place at the impressive Valderrama Golf Course in stylish Sotogrande, Cádiz.

What we can do: special and vip access to the tournament – teetimes at Valderrama or the best golf courses nearby before or after the tournament days – accommodation in golf villas or private villas in stylish Sotogrande area by the harbour…

There are many other exclusive and interesting events in Spain worth discovering and attending. Please feel free to get in touch with your preferences and we will provide a list of the best events accordingly, or to arrange services on any of the events proposed.

Upon request only. For more information, please contact us at:

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BLANCONCIERGE is a privately owned Luxury Travel & Concierge agency based in Seville, Spain, and managed by founder Eduardo Blanco.

 

 

 

¿Qué es un Concierge?

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El término ¨Concierge¨ proviene del francés ¨Comte des Cierges¨, algo así como ¨guardián de las velas¨ , personas que solían visitar a los nobles en sus castillos durante la Edad Media. La traducción actual más utilizada en castellano es la de ¨Conserje¨, y que se asocia con los responsables en los hoteles de lujo o apartamentos privados de reservar un restaurante, pedir un taxi, encargar unas flores, etc. Éste término ha evolucionado y hoy día se aplica a los profesionales encargados de arreglar y solucionar cualquier petición de sus clientes (papeleos, encargos personales, tareas varias, compras…) algo así como un asistente personal.

En el entorno del turismo, que es al que me refiero, un Concierge o Travel Concierge es aquella persona que ofrece sus servicios a clientes para organizarles cualquier cosa que deseen dentro del entorno del mundo de los viajes y eventos. Siempre relacionado con el turismo de lujo, un Concierge es la evolución de la agencia de viajes tradicional hacia un servicio personalizado que una sola persona o un conjunto de ellas puede ofrecer. Este concepto está bastante extendido en países como Reino Unido o Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, En España, y aunque existen varias agencias o profesionales independientes (como es mi caso), no es aún un término demasiado conocido y entendido. El Concierge basa su servicios en contactos personales o profesionales, a través de los cuales puede acceder a un universo de posibilidades de muy difícil acceso y de esta manera poder satisfacer siempre a sus clientes. Desde unas entradas vip de último minuto para una final de Champions League, pases para saludar al grupo o cantante de moda antes de un concierto, asientos en primera fila para las pasarelas de moda de Milán, París o Nueva York, pasando por acceso a las mejores fiestas privadas de los principales festivales internacionales de cine, o entradas para una final de NBA o Roland Garros, por poner algunos ejemplos. Pero los servicios se extienden más allá, y como profesional especializado, también puede organizar eventos privados de todo tipo, un tour con expertos en arte, arquitectura o gastronomía, mesa en los mejores restaurantes o hasta alquilar las mejores villas de Ibiza y conseguir acceso a las discotecas de moda más solicitadas de la Costa Azul, Porto Cervo o Miami.

Los clientes que acceden a estos servicios son de alto o muy alto poder adquisitivo, conocidos en inglés con las siglas HNW (High Net Worth). La privacidad es esencial, así como los servicios ofrecidos. Esto es parte de la profesionalidad de un buen Concierge. Asímismo, la rapidez y eficacia son igualmente esenciales a la hora de conseguir la petición del cliente. Evolucionamos hacia un turismo personalizado, que se profesionaliza en aspectos muy concretos y que debe estar al día de todo lo nuevo, lo novedoso y diferente, ya que el cliente de hoy día, y más aún el cliente del turismo de lujo, está también evolucionando muy rápidamente, está preparado y sabe perfectamente lo que quiere y cómo lo quiere. Tener la capacidad de dárselo y de seguir ofreciendo un factor sorpresa añadido es la base del éxito de un buen profesional o Concierge

Jets & Islands

Luxury travel always heads for new trends and options. In the recent years, private jet services have been one of the main demanding options when it comes to moving from one place to another. Several companies offer a wide variety of services, jet models and flights. The customer profile is not the rock star or CEOs as it used to be, but more and more it´s approaching companies using it for their trips or business. It rivalizes any first class onboard service at a top airline, personalized treatment is taken for granted and the most important thing: you fly when you wish, no schedules.
Using a private jet to get to a private island, is quite a good idea. These type of islands, easily found in Mauritius, Seychelles or Fidji to mention a few, are easily prepared to accomodate couples, groups or families and pamper them with the most luxurious and incredible services you can imagine. Places to get lost, forget about the rest of the world and enjoy an array of facilities and activities.
In a world of stress and hard work, finding yourself in such places is a rewarding experience. Packages and prices vary, but it´s reaching more and more customers who are discovering the fact that living for working can be turned into working for living.