Who doesn’t love a rooftop bar? Especially in a city such as Malaga on Andalusia’s Mediterranean coast, with its perpetual sunshine and soothing views of mountains and sea, the rooftop terrace seems like a no-brainer. Still, it was only sometime in the 1980s that the concept really took off, with a few of the taller and more luxurious hotels creating elegant and comfortable environments for taking in the views and the rays with a selection of tapas, cocktails and a deep, relaxing exhale.
Since then, many a rooftop has converted into an alluring terrace bar, and something of a competition ensued to offer the best views, the best cocktails, most trendy setting or simply the best all-around “vibe”. For the uninitiated, you might like to consider one of these settings for an insider’s experience of the best rooftop bars in Malaga to suit your personal tastes.
1. AC Hotel Malaga Palacio by Marriot
Cortina del Muelle, 1, Malaga 29015
This establishment got in early on the rooftop terrace trend and helped set the standard in the city. The AC Malaga Palacio is still one of the tallest buildings in the city, and as it’s situated near the port and the old centre it also has some of the best views. It’s perhaps the classiest of the rooftop bars in Malaga, and it’s open from noon until 4 a.m. so you can choose your preferred time and mood for a prime chill-out session. There’s a restaurant and a swimming pool also so the bases are covered and you could pretty much spend the whole day there if there weren’t so many other lively and interesting places to visit!
2. Room Mate Valeria
Plaza del Poeta Alfonso Canales, 5, Malaga 29001
The Room Mate hotels are a recent addition to the Malaga scene, with a somewhat trendy though upscale boutique approach. The chain seems to value an attractive rooftop bar as an offering to guests and the public alike, with the Room Mate Valeria making its mark as the newest, most notable addition to the city scene, and the slightly more established Room Mate Larios hotel in the old centre also drawing a regular crowd for views, vibes and libations. The Valeria sits just across from the industrial shipping port and the city’s new farris-wheel spinning along side. On certain night the terrace bar comes alive with live jazz or flamenco, while earlier in the day it serves a fantastic pre-meal aperitif before you head down to the new Kirei Japanese restaurant at the base of the hotel. Kirei is a product of the famed Kabuki group with a total of five Michelin stars, and Kirei could be the next to earn a star.
3. The Gibralfaro Parador
Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga 29016
The “paradores” in Spain are historic, state owned sites that have been converted into some of the most interesting hotels available to travellers in the country. The Gibralfaro in Malaga is the old Moorish fortress perched atop the highest hill overlooking the city and the sea, and this Parador is high on the list of places to visit in the city. Though not truly a rooftop bar, the Gibralfaro sits just at the edge of the centre of the city and higher than any building within. It is rightly credited with inspiring the trend for rooftop terraces in the city, as hotels sought to emulate the atmosphere of this altitudinous space. From here one can appreciate the expanse of the bay of Malaga, the history of the city with the Moorish Alcazaba, Gibralfaro and cathedral adjacent, plus the best sunsets in the city.
4. Terraza Aurea – Salles Hotel Malaga Centro
Calle Marmoles, 6, Malaga 29007
Though called the Salles “Hotel Malaga Centro”, this rooftop bar actually offers views of the city from slightly further outside of the centre than others on this list. Still, because of this fact the views are in some ways even more interesting and the silence from above the city is surprising, while it would still be an enjoyable walk into the centre. It sits along side the Guadalmedina river cutting through the middle of the city, and near the beach, attracting a younger crowd to its split level, atmospheric terrace with a tented sofa area, a small swimming pool and live Indie music bands.
5. Hotel Molina Lario
Calle Molina Lario, 22, Malaga 29015
The Molina Lario sits near to the above mentioned AC Malaga Palacio Hotel, though offers better views of the adjacent Malaga Cathedral, one of the most important Renaissance cathedrals in all of Andalusia. It’s also slightly more casual and the perfect meeting point for a drink, a snack and some beautiful views before heading out for a night on the town. The rooftop terrace comprises three levels with a restaurant, bars and a swimming pool on the uppermost level. In the summer, expect live music performances and other special events. This is a hotspot for celebrities and visitors alike during special events such as the Malaga film festival in May.
Alan Hazel is Owner and Director of Cortijo El Carligto.
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