Tag: Torremolinos

21.05.2019: Review – Hotel Carlos I

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We booked this two star hotel in Torremolinos through Hotels.com as it was perhaps the most hassle-free way to find a place to stay in a convenient location. As with our flights, we try to concentrate longer bookings (as this was a week) into companies, such as Hotels.com, which gives you benefits from making the bookings.

The Review

The Hotel Carlos I did offer us a very pleasant stay indeed. Locationwise it wasn’t hard to find the place, as it is a 10 minute walking distance from the Torremolinos Train Station at Plaza Nogalera. As we had prepaid the hotel during the reservation process, the check-in process was quick and straightforward. The receptionist was very professional and friendly, offering us the needed information concerning our stay, and also giving us handy tips for the surrounding areas as well.

The hotel itself is quite big with 7 floors, and we were given a room on the topmost floor, from where the views were spectacular!

(C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

The Room

The room itself was fairly big. Even with a mini-fridge, a writing desk, a double bed, chest of drawers, a couple of chairs, and a wardrobe the room didn’t feel crammed. Also, the room was clean and bright, which is always important to us. There wasn’t cleaning done every day, in fact the cleaning was done only once during our stay, but as we are not a family with children, it wasn’t needed as well.

(C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

The room didn’t have an air conditioning, but we had a tabletop fan, which proved to work just as well to keep the room cool for the night.

The balcony was wide enough to have a small table with two chairs there and it was partitioned from the next door balcony by a translucent partitioning. For me, the railing was a bit low, so I can understand some parents feeling a tad nervous for letting children into the balcony by themselves.

The Bathroom

Like the main room, the bathroom was spacious as well with a full-size bathtub, a sink, and the toilet bowl. Sadly there wasn’t a bidet, which would have been a grand thing to have.

To our amusement, there were some cleaning items (such as a brush and a mop) at the corner of the bathroom, but the brush proved to be a handy thing to have as there wasn’t cleaning performed every day; after a windy morning it was handy thing to have to brush extra sand from the balcony floor before going out to enjoy the morning sun.

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(C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

The Verdict

Even though it is clear that the hotel is not new and posh, the atmosphere is nice and quaint. Service level is what you expect on a two-star hotel, but at the same time the spaciousness does surprise in a positive way. Rooms are non-smoking, but the balconies are not, and if you happen to have a smoker in the neighbouring room, prepare to get the second-hand smoke drifting through the open door into your room.

As mentioned before, we were not bothered by not having a cleaning done every day – and let’s be realist, who cleans their house every day or changes their bedlinens every day anyway.

And as the reception staff (everyone we met there) were friendly and informative, it just added to the experience, and we can really recommend Hotel Carlos I for anyone who travels to Torremolinos area.

If you have problems with mobility, there is a good chance that you can still get a room in here as there are rooms on the ground floor as well. There is, of course, a lift, but it felt a bit small, and if you have to use a wheelchair it might pose a problem if your room is located on the upper floors. So, when making a reservation, remember to mention about this kinds of special requirements.

We definitely enjoyed our week-long stay in Hotel Carlos I and would definitely stay there again the next time we are in the area!

16.05.2019: Flamenco @ Taberna Pepe Lopez

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As it is the Eurovision week, we have a question for you all. What has more costume changes and more drama than the Eurovision Song Contest?

Well, a proper flamenco show of course! And this is just what we witnessed in the evening at Taberna Pepe Lopez! You get to read all about the show a bit late because my voice is hoarse from crying out olé so many times and from clapping my hands more effectively than Miss Nicole Kidman at the famous Oscar’s event.

The Venue

Enter The Taberna (C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

According to the staff, the has been a flamenco performed here at Pepe Lopez since 1965, which makes the place a must see and experience.

The Taberna Pepe Lopez is conveniently located on Plaza de la Gamba Alegre, near the central shopping street of Calle San Miguel. On the Calle San Miguel you can find such places as Sabor a España, which we visited earlier.

Entry to the Taberna is by steep set of stairs with no wheelchair access, so unless you can walk stairs, this venue is out of your reach. I actually helped to carry a motorised wheelchair up the stairs for an elderly lady, who could do stairs but not walk much further.

The Show – Flamenco Dress Extravaganza

The showtime is at 10pm and the ticket, which costs a whopping 30€ per person includes a drink. At first I was slightly hesitant to purchase such expensive tickets, but after reading the reviews from the TripAdvisor I had a bit more confidence that the show might be more than to lure tourists in with a promise of a free glass of sangria. And luckily I did!!

The show itself is 2 hours long with a 12 minute interval for gathering yourself before the Grand Finale. And the level of artistry during the show makes you completely lose the track of time and the chairs you are sitting on.

The level of emotion carried by the live musical performances, some combined with the dancers’ movements is fantastic. I am still left at loss of words to describe all the feelings I felt during the show. The last time I felt this was when watching a theatrical play, The Quartet. The songs, the dances, were so intimate and moving.

The Verdict

If you come to Andalucia and have just one thing you want to experience, we recommend you spend the 30€ to see the flamenco at Taberna Pepe Lopez. We have experienced flamenco before at Malaga’s MIMMA, and that performance was also good, but nowhere near to this experience. The MIMMA show was like a trailer for this.

The chairs at the venue are not the best, but you are not there for the chairs. They don’t accept cards at the venue (if you want another drink during the show), so you need to carry some cash with you. But again, this is not the venue to come to drink yourself merry. Having just that one drink was enough for this Finnish Queen to melt his frozen tear ducts during some points of the show.

And yes, the goosebumps were not there because of the air conditioning but because of the show.

And as writing about this is difficult, we will let the flamenco speak for itself, enjoy.

15.05.2019: Snack at Rosco’s

Towards the evening we found this small cafe, which was again well hidden on the main streets of Torremolinos and decided to have some light snack before heading back to the hotel.

A light snack? (C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

Rosco’s is a small cafe, where they serve basically the normal pastries that you can find all around the town, but what makes this spot just that little much better is the fact that they proudly support equality by advertising Pride events, and showing the rainbow colours inside the establishment.
I see this as an important aspect of a modern day culture, as it shows that equality is advancing and that the businesses, small and big alike, are willing to take a stand and make a statement.

So next time you are in Torremolinos, stop at Rosco’s and show your appreciation for them as they are showing it to you.

15.05.2019: Sabor a España – Taste The Spain

Sabor a España (taste of Spain) is definitely one of the gems of Torremolinos that are hidden in plain sight. As the shop is located on the major shopping street it is easy to pass by as one of those shops that are just trying to rid the tourists from their money.

Jules interviewing the staff (C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

We were practically ushered in by one of the staff after pouring a spoonful of delicious, but not overly sweet, toasted and caramelised sunflower seeds. And it turned out to be a good thing.The store is filled with sweets of many kinds, traditional to Malaga, Andalucia, and other parts of Spain as well. Some of the products, actually all the toasted and caramelised nuts and seeds for instance, they make there at the shop. For other things they have a small factory outside of Malaga, where the things are practically made by hands, using methods from the 1910’s.

They do have two other outlets, but as the shops are small in size and they produce some of the items there and then, it just adds to the experience.

One of the main selling points for us was the friendly, but not in-your-face customer service. As we both come from the field of customer service, we see that genuine friendliness as something that is really needed, especially in a speciality shop like Sabor a España.

The selection of products is not just limited to sweet things, but they also carry a small selection of Spanish produced, less known, alcohols. Coming from a country that has just recently learned that we can actually produce one of the best gins in the world, I find this kind of promotion delightful. It allows people to see a different side of Spain from the excellent red wine and sangria.

The Verdict

The products are good, handmade, and a tad more dear than from your next door supermarket. But the price difference is ok, as the products are of a local origin, and this way you are giving something back to the community instead of throwing your money to a multinational supermarket chain.

And with the slightly larger price you get a friendly customer service that makes you yearn for more. They really.know their trade.

So the next time you sre in Torremolinos, make sure to pop by Sabor a España. We definitely will.

15.05.2019: Snooping around Torremolinos

It’s the second day here in Spain – and I have to say that I feel the stress slowly, very slowly, draining away. So slowly, in fact, that I sleep like a baby for over 11 hours whilst Jules starts to get ready. The initial plan was to head out to Malaga today, but as things came up and I had to work on my computer for a while, we changed dem plans, opting instead to roam about the village where we are currently staying at.

As this “village” is home to over 67 000 people, locals and tourists alike, there are things to see definitely. And, as we mentioned before, it seems that the LGBT friendliness is ingrained to the culture in Torremolinos so well that people don’t bat an eyelid seeing us walking down the street.

We have put up some nice tips (most of you know there already anyway), and made a few separate entries of some of the really interesting spots we visited!

Shopping

As everywhere in the touristy areas, there are those shops that are built for tourists and then there are the hidden gems that you should go for.

For instance, yesterday we were trying to look for a tailor to alter clothing, and we actually did find one! And today we took the shirts to be altered and she charged 5 euros per shirt for the alteration and it would be ready tomorrow! And the place is just off the main shopping street.

If you haven’t been here before, one handy tip is to get your basic necessities from bigger shops like Mercadona where price of big bottles of water, for instance, is cheaper than on the corner stores. Plus the range of items is much bigger, obviously.

But, as we all want to save the planet for the next generation, leave the plastic bags in the store, and remember to carry your own multi-use bag with you to carry your shopping home.

One of the places you definitely should stop at is Sabor a España, a speciality shop for sweet things from around Spain.

And if you are interested in stones and other new age things, just opposite of Sabor a España is proper shop for your needs. The owner seems to be quite knowledgeable of what he sells, and can also impart some information that one wouldn’t expect…

Time For Lunch

Admist all the walking and shopping we do need sustenance and hydration! Like many other places along the Costa, there is a multitude of small cafe/bars that serve Menu del Día, menu of the day. This usually is a set menu with choices for your starter and mains, and it also comes with a glass of drink, and a dessert. Cost is around 6-8 euros per person. As the menu is a full meal, it also fills your tummy up quite nicely.

Some lunch, maybe? (C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

We’d recommend you to check those places up that have locals inside eating. This is an age old trick to try to ensure that the quality of the food is good. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things or don’t be daunted if the menu is only in Spanish. These situations are the best to learn bits of the language and usually the waiters and waitresses are happy to use their English with you as well. Everyone benefits!

Nightlife

After our dinner at a local place (where the food was excellent even at 11 pm) we decided to walk a bit more and headed to the Plaza de la Nogalera where the guy scene is happening. But truth to be told, Tuesday night is perhaps not the best night to go out, as in many bars there weren’t that many people, really. We ended up at Aqua, nicely sitting outside, enjoying a table service for beverages, strong ones that is, before heading back home to have a good night’s sleep.

The Aqua by night. (C) Two Queens Travel Blog 2019

The Aqua was a nice experience, as there seemed to be a good mix of people around. There was proper music with videos (Beyonce, Madonna, etc) but at least when sitting outside it wasn’t overly loud. Drinks were slightly pricey (6€ for a G&T) but that is to be expected when going to a nightclub style of place.

The best thing I noticed was that there were definite non-gay couples as well, enjoying their drinks at the LGBT places. Really nice thing to see!

14.05.2019: First Impressions of Torremolinos

As our flight arrived early and we didn’t really feel like going all the way to Malaga with our bags, and as our hotel check-in time was relatively late, at 14.00 in the afternoon, we had some time to kill after arriving Torremolinos.

As we decided to sit down and have a much awaited coffee (thanks Norwegian), we had the perfect opportunity to observe the amount of people and street performers going about their daily lives. It actually seems that there is a good mix of tourists and locals around, giving Torremolinos an international feel without having that “built just for tourists” feel that one tends to get in some tourist hotspots.

One of the things that really strikes me after arriving to Torremolinos is the visibility of the LGBT community, at least around the Plaza de la Nogalera area. I have to say that neither of us actually expected to see rainbow flags displayed so openly, drag shows being advertised there and then, and so on. Even the city’s official tourist map prominently displays the LGBT district – albeit small but still it is there.

Another aspect of the culture that resonates with us is the fact that the elderly citizens seem to be very much a part of the community. They walk, usually not alone but with friends or carers, around with their walkers or whatnot, and all all dressed up really nice. Very prim and proper.

And also, later in the evening when we went for our paella we saw the children playing out and about even after 21:30 in the evening and the senior citizens were still there, enjoying the life of the place.

So maybe this is really all about the Sun, the Sea, and the Sangria after all?