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Ikos Andalusia – A Comprehensive Review

Grade 4.5 out of 5 stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Overview 

This 5-star all-inclusive family resort is located on the South coast of Spain and is one of the few all-inclusive resorts in the area that packs a punch. With 400 rooms on the resort, it is on the larger side, but throughout our stay, we never felt like we weren’t being looked after and the resort never lost its luxury touch. 

The resort is only new, having opened in May 2021 and it is another strong offering from the all-inclusive specialists Ikos. Ikos is a resort chain that is relatively new having only opened its first resort in Greece in 2016, but they have quickly established itself as the leading chain of all-inclusive resorts in Europe. 

The resort itself has a beautiful aesthetic to it. From the second you walk in and walk through to the main terrace just off the reception. You get a truly stunning view down to the ocean where the pools are flanked by spectacular palm trees and the ocean in the background. 


Location

Located around a 25-minute drive from the main area of Marbella on the beach of Guadalmansa. The resort is a little bit away from the hustle and bustle of Marbella. Honestly, there isn’t a huge amount of things to do in the local area surrounding the resort. There’s nothing of note that is within a walking distance, but there are a few places of interest within a taxi ride distance.  

In saying that there isn’t a huge amount of places of interest in the locality. There is so much available at the resort that there is really no reason to leave.  With an extensive choice of restaurants and entertainment and activities available throughout the day.  You could definitely spend your whole vacation solely in the resort and not get bored.

The Ikos team does have the local discovery option which facilitates exploration of the local area.  So, if you want to venture out to Marbella or further afield you can leverage the complimentary mini rental to go explore. 


Top Tips 

  • If you book directly on the Ikos website and are staying 5 nights or more. They typically include free airport transfers. So, make sure to check the prices on their own website vs booking through a travel agent.
  • We really felt throughout our stay that the staff did their utmost to make sure that we were having the perfect vacation. One of the elements called out to us by the person that checked us in was that we could request specific items to be put in our mini-bar. Whiskey is our tipple of choice, so we requested only Whiskey for our spirit of choice and the next day when our Mini-bar was being replenished they filled it with whiskey.
  • The one thing to note is that there isn’t a huge amount of things to do and see in the local area. There are a few restaurants and shops within walking distance but in general the Ikos is in a remote enough location, so if you want to do some activities outside the resort. You will need to drive to Marbella if you want to go exploring.
  • Although there is not a lot to see and do in the local area, one of the great features that the Ikos chain of resorts offers is the “Local Discovery” option. This is a really nice feature that allows you to explore and take in the local culture of the area. All guests can avail of a complimentary car hire of a Mini cooper to explore the local area for the day. This coupled with the Dine out experience where you can dine out in local restaurants for free is a great offering. There is also a culture pass where you can get complimentary passes to local museums and art galleries. 
  • An important thing to note is that the Ikos Andalusia and all other Ikos resorts are only open seasonally.  So, that means that they close from November 1st until the 31st of March,  so sadly if you were planning a Winter getaway, you will need to look elsewhere.
  • For the golfers out there, the Ikos offers one free round per stay for guests at the local Los Naranjos Golf Course. The course is just a 15 minute drive away and is one of the top courses in the area.  
  • Getting reservations at the restaurants can be a little difficult if the resort is near full capacity and as these resorts are extremely popular, it will be at full capacity more often than not.  To make sure that you get to eat at the restaurants you want be sure to download the Ikos mobile app before your stay and book into the restaurants you want to eat in. You can always ask reception or your personal concierge if you are staying in a deluxe room as there are often times that are not available to book through the app via reception/concierge. 

Check-In

The check-in process was extremely smooth and professional. From the time we arrived at the resort until we opened the door in our room was literally 20 minutes. When we arrived we were greeted with welcome drinks. There was no wait at reception which was great and the staff was really thorough at explaining the layout of the resort and all of the features that we had available to us as deluxe guests. 


Is the Ikos Andalusia family-friendly resort?

Yes, the Ikos Andalusia is a family-friendly offering. There is a range of child care options at the resort. Some of these are complimentary while others come at a price. One of the call-outs we heard about the kid’s clubs was that their sessions book up very quickly, so if you try to book the day before, there might not be any availability. Our word of advice is to go to the kids club area anyway close to opening time to see if any spaces opened up, as there is apparently a large number of no-shows. 

You can also book sessions before you travel, so the earlier you book the better. What’s nice about this resort is that they cater to both families and couples and they do this by having adults-only areas. The adults-only pool area is nice and secluded and very spacious. 

The kids club options are broken down as follows. 

Heros Kids Club 

(Free of charge)

(Ratio: 1 adult: 8 children)

Open between the hours of 10 am – 6 pm there are multiple sessions that run throughout the day. This kids club is available for kids that are aged from 4 to 11 years old. Although some extra activities may incur an additional charge, such as for water sports or ice cream trips. The majority of activities are included in the cost of the all-inclusive.

Just 4 Teens 

(Free of charge)

(Ratio: 1 adult: 12 children)

The perfect place for teenagers to chill out for the day with an arcade and a host of things for them to do.

ages 12 + 

Heroes Crèche 

(Additional Costs Apply)

(Ratio: Ages 4–23 months: 1 adult: 3 children / Ages 2–3 years: 1 adult: 4 children)

On average the sessions cost around €30 per child, but the price is dependent on the age range. If you book multiple sessions in a day then it only costs €50. This is the perfect option if you want to drop off the kids and have a few hours by the adult’s pool or to go for a nice meal in the evening. 

WK Tots Football Academy

(Additional Costs Apply)

This is another great amenity for those of you with football-mad kids. This football camp gives the kids some world-class coaching which is bound to keep the kids entertained.


Amenities 

With 8 pools in the Ikos Andalusia, you won’t be short on places to have a swim or to grab a sun lounger. Of those 8 pools, one of them is an indoor pool, one adults-only pool, and two kids pools,  so there was an area for everyone. 

There is a huge range of amenities that you can use at this resort. From tennis, basketball courts, football pitches, bikes to explore the resort and local area and a host of water activities available. 

There are motorized water sports that are available at the beach with things like jet skis, waterskiing, and inflatable rides. A word of warning though, the prices of the water sports are exorbitantly high. We enquired about doing water skiing and were quoted €245 euros for 40 mins.  If you walk down the beach you will find water sports for significantly cheaper. So avoid the ones connected to the resort.

Golf 

Although there is no course directly on the resort. There are loads of courses in the local area. Your best options are definitely the El Paraíso Golf course which is located a short 15-minute drive from the resort. Your next best option is the Villa Padierna Golf Club, which is just a 10-minute drive from the resort.

Gym 

Given the size of the resort,  we were a little disappointed with the size of the gym here. The equipment and aesthetic of the resort were great, but we would imagine at full capacity the gym is not big enough to cater to guests at peak times. At the moment, because of Covid, there are a limited number of people allowed in the gym at the same time and you need to book a timeslot before going. They have a decent selection of machines, free weights, and a nice amount of cardio equipment, so you can get a solid workout if that’s your vibe. 

Things to do during the day 

There are a number of events that are put on throughout the day. There is a heavy focus on fitness activities with Yoga classes, aquafit, and pilates on offer. The bike tour was probably our favorite activity and we would highly recommend taking a bike ride down to the local town of Estepona. 

Things to do during the night 

Every night there is live music, themed parties, dancers, or acrobats that are organized. There were also a number of themed nights such as a white party where there was lovely music,  a sangria bar, and local dancers. The one negative we had about the evening entertainment was that it all ended very early. The latest entertainment we got was a DJ that finished up around 10.30 pm, so if you’re looking to party the night away. Then this resort is probably not for you. 


Beach 

The beach is quite expansive here in Andalusia. There is more than enough space for all of the guests and we never had difficulty getting a sun lounger on the beach.  There is also a drinks service on the beach which is always integral to a strong all-inclusive experience. 

The beach itself isn’t anything special. The sand is a little stoney, but the waters are the perfect place for a swim and to make the most of the water activities that are available. Just as you walk into the ocean there are very sharp rocks as you walk in. We highly recommend that you bring swimming shoes with you if you plan on swimming or you have kids. 

The Ikos resort in Greece definitely has the upper hand in the beach category, so if you spend your vacation reading a book on the beach. You should probably look at the Ikos’s other resorts. 


Spa 

The main callout we would have about this spa is that getting a reservation is extremely difficult if you try to book when you’re at the resort.  We highly recommend booking in for treatments before you arrive. As we found it very difficult to secure a reservation. There is an extensive spa menu and the treatments are very expensive, but kind of what you would expect to pay at a 5-star resort.


The Service  

From the second we arrived at the resort until the moment we left. The service was top-notch. Although this resort was only opened a matter of months when we visited. We were super impressed with how smooth the service was. 

Typically when we visit new resorts we have the expectation that the service will be a little rough around the edges as the staff becomes familiar with the operations, but the Ikos Andalusia really bucked that trend. 

The only negative callout that we had with the service was that some of the staff members’ English wasn’t great, which led to confusion when we ordered in one of the restaurants, but other than that the service was top notch.


Cleanliness

The staff at the Ikos Andalusia are great at keeping the place super clean. They’re constantly members of staff that are cleaning, collecting empty glasses, and generally keeping the place in order.  

The housekeeping team is also great here. They always cleaned our room so well and were very consistent in the times they would clean the room each day. We had no negative experiences with the cleanliness of the resort.


Booking during Covid 

The Ikos chain of hotels has a number of procedures and protections in place to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable vacation. Their Covid policy is called the “Infinite Care” policy and has a host of features. Before booking it’s worth double-checking that these are still in place.

Free Antigen testing on arrival 

Once you arrive at the resort you will receive a complimentary antigen test to take. Although guests aren’t required to perform an antigen test, it’s highly recommended from the Ikos that guests do use them. PCR tests can also be organized if you need one before returning to your home country, but this does come at an additional cost. 

Multiple Al Fresco dining options 

One of the great things about the Ikos resorts is that most of the restaurants have outdoor dining options as well as doors that open out to bring the outside in. 

Touchless elements throughout the resort 

The Ikos resort has really thought about the physical touchpoints that guests go through on a day in the resort. They have really optimized every area, by adding sensors to doors that open automatically, regular sanitization to door handles, and reduced points of access to name a few. 

Deposit Refund Commitment Scheme 

Currently, for stays in 2021, there are free cancellations up to 2 weeks prior to arrival as well as the full deposit refund too. There is no information regarding vacations in 2022, so be sure to double-check with the Ikos, to see if this benefit is still available. 


Rooms 

There is a huge range of rooms available at the Ikos Andalusia and honestly, we found it quite difficult to choose one.  So we at InspoVacay are here to condense the offerings to help you choose the right room for your vacation. There are basically five room types and you can add a pool/ocean view and the Deluxe status to most of these rooms.  

In general, the rooms are well proportioned and wonderfully designed, so you really can’t go wrong in choosing any of them. They all have a level of luxury that is really strong.

Double Room

This is the most basic room on the resort and we feel like describing it as the most basic room on the resort is doing it a disservice.  The room is a very good size at 33sq.m and has a lovely small seating area, desk, and a wonderful balcony, which is the perfect spot to order room service. This room will do the job for couples or friends traveling together and has a max occupancy of two people, but if you have a small child, you would get away with booking this room too. 

Junior Suite 

If you’re looking for a little bit more space or happen to be traveling with the kids, then this is the suite for you. This suite is a little bit bigger than the double room coming in at an additional 14sq.m, these suites are perfect if it’s just two people using it. There’s a large living area with a couch that can be made into a bed. The balcony is also a little bit bigger than the double room one. 

There is also the option of a panorama junior suite, which is a really stunning room. This room is a lot wider than the double room, so it means that you get a super balcony with stunning views of the resort and ocean. There are suites available with deluxe status attached to them, as well as ones with private pools, so your options are endless. 

One-Bedroom Suite 

Coming in at 70sq.m, this suite is huge. It can sleep two adults and three children or just be a luxury room for two adults. The layout of this room is pretty perfect with an expansive bathroom and bedroom. As well as a lovely spacious living room with a long L-shaped couch and TV area. The balcony also runs the width of the room and as this room is wider than it is long. You get the perfect outdoor space.  

These suites do come with the option to have a private garden instead of the ocean views, so if you’re traveling with kids and you’d like a cordoned-off area where they can play, this is the option for you. The garden room is actually cheaper than the oceanview room too. 

This suite is also available with deluxe status and there are suites available with private pools. 

Family Suite 

Described on their website as being “Ultra spacious” we can’t disagree with their synopsis. The room’s max occupancy is 5 people and there are two separate bedrooms and a really spacious living area. This is perfect for families where you really want the kids to have their own room. 

Two-Bedroom Suite 

Only available as a Deluxe room, the two-bedroom suites are the largest suites in the resort.  Coming in at an average price of 1300 euro, these suites don’t come cheap. You also have the option for a suite with a private pool, if you really want to ball out. 


Price Range + Packages 

In general, you do get a decent bang for your buck at these resorts. Don’t get us wrong these resorts are on the pricier side, but you really are paying for the quality you get at this 5-star luxury resort. 

If you’re booking a room only all-inclusive package the cheapest room on the resorts averages a cost of 385 euro per night. An important thing to note is that you aren’t charged per person, you are charged per room. So, a 7-night stay will average a cost of 2,700 euro if you book directly on their site. 

There are a number of travel agents that offer packages including the room, flights, and the all-inclusive elements at a lot cheaper price. So, you best check your local travel agents to see if they have any offers. 


What’s included in the all-inclusive package 

With Ikos resorts their all-inclusive package is called “Infinite Lifestyle”, which includes all of the bells and whistles you would expect from a luxury all-inclusive holiday. Below are the highlights of the inclusions. 

Top Quality Restaurants 

The Ikos chain of resorts goes the extra mile to make your stay that little bit special. If you have stayed at an all-inclusive in South America or the Caribbean one of the elements that are probably most inconsistent is the food offering. 

One of the nicest things about the Ikos is that all of the restaurants have menus that have been curated by Michelin star chefs. While the chefs don’t actually work there, it’s a nice touch by the Ikos and is a great indication of the standard of luxury at this resort. 

Premium Drinks offering + The Cava Wine Cellar 

All drinks throughout your stay are included. That includes a great range of top-shelf liquors and spirits. A wonderful choice of cocktails and beers. The element that really makes the Ikos stand out from other all-inclusive is their Cava Wine Cellar. Typically at all-inclusive, there is one option for a house wine that is included in the all-inclusive package.

There are typically wine menus, but these bottles come at an additional cost and the bottles usually aren’t cheap for the quality of wine that you are getting.  At the Ikos you have a choice of over 300 bottles of wine, which are all included in the all-inclusive package. 

Part of the drinks offering is a fully stocked mini-bar which includes a range of soft drinks, waters, and a mix of small bottles of spirits. The Mini-bar is replenished daily.  

Food + Restaurant Options 

There are 7 restaurant choices in this resort. One of the other unique things about the Ikos Andalusia is that they only have one buffet option, all of the rest of the restaurants are al-a-carte offerings.  

One of the best things at this resort was their Dine out feature. With the Dine out feature, guests can have the opportunity to explore the local cuisine through visits to some of the best local restaurants, at no extra cost. This is such a novel way to explore the great cuisine on offer locally as well as a great excuse to get out of the resort. 

Ranking the Restaurants

  1. Anaya 

An Asian eatery, this was definitely our favorite spot in the resort.  There is a mix of Asian cuisines on offer with a focus on Thai, Indian, and one or two Japanese dishes. The tuna tartare was the standout dish at Anaya. The Gyozas here were legitimately good too and our favorite main was the duck, which was so succulent. 

  1. Ouzo 

It was one of our favorite spots on the resort, with some great food and a truly stunning location overlooking the beach.  Ouzo is the perfect spot to grab a bite.  Serving up Greek food, this restaurant’s menu was formulated by Michelin-starred chef, Lefteris Lazarou. Ouzo really buys into being a Greek restaurant with the majority of the wait staff being Greek.  It really gives the vibe that you are sitting in a taverna in Athens. 

The menu has a lovely selection of dishes with some of the standouts for us being the Beetroot salad with apple and goats cheese and the Moussaka which was cooked to perfection. The location of this restaurant is also right by the beach. 

  1. Fresca

This Italian-style offering has a menu that was compiled by the Michelin-starred chef, Ettore Botrini. It serves up all of your typical Italian dishes.  From pasta, pizzas, and a great selection of seafood, this restaurant excels in working with the freshest of ingredients and leveraging them with clinical execution.  

We had the Seabass carpaccio, which was the first time we ever had this dish and it was simply superb. Fresca was a very close second to Ouzo. Another great thing about this restaurant is that it is open 24/7, so if you fancy a midnight snack you can pop down here for a bite. 

There is also live music on offer at lunchtime here, so it’s a lovely spot to have a bite to eat with some great ambiance. 

  1. Provence 

This French restaurant is one of the spots that sits overlooking the beach, so it’s a lovely place to grab some food. The menu is curated by Michelin-starred chef Anthony Jehanno. We only ended up eating here once, as this was one of the restaurants that were most difficult to get a reservation for. Our favorite dish was the roasted courgettes which were a great veggie option. 

  1. Beach Club 

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was one of our favorite spots for breakfast. It was the perfect spot to grab a table overlooking the sea. The decor of the beach club is super chic.  The menu is mainly a Mediterranean theme. The tuna steak here was perfect. We also like steak tartare and sea bass. 

  1. Oliva 

Serving up Spanish food, we had high expectations that the Ikos would deliver on some top-quality local food.  We were a little bit disappointed with the food. The Paella wasn’t great, which they really should have knocked out of the park. 

  1. Flavors 

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this is the one restaurant at the resort that you don’t need to make a booking for.  This was the one restaurant that was most inconsistent in their food offering.  We had breakfast there the first few days and it was quite good. Lunch was also ok, but for dinner, the food was very hit and miss. They do have themed nights throughout the week and it may have just been the night that we went to want good,  but the Italian food on offer was very bad. The pasta that we got was so overcooked. 

Room Service 

Available 24/7, there is an extensive menu on offer.  They have a good kids and toddlers menu and a strong selection for adults too.  


Bars and Drinks Offering 

The drinks offered at the Ikos Andalusia are probably the best we have experienced at an all-inclusive resort. As we mentioned, the wine offering is really super with the choice of over 300 wines and a sommelier on hand to give you the perfect wine to pair with your food choice.  The bar staff is also really good.  No matter what the drink is, they can make it. 

The main bar of the resort is truly stunning. There is a very impressive drinks display that engulfs the bar. This is also not one of the resorts that just has local spirits and beers in most of the bars. There is a huge range of premium spirits in all of the bars. In the deluxe bars, you will find the likes of Grey Goose and Taittinger on offer. 


Are the Deluxe Rooms worth it?

A lot of rooms are available with the deluxe add-on, which provides you with a host of benefits throughout your stay. The deluxe experience costs on average 30% more than the standard rooms, but the benefits you get are quite good, they weren’t strong enough to warrant the additional cost though. The standard of the normal rooms is really good, so there really is no need unless you want to push the boat for a special occasion. The benefits that stood out to us for the following. 

Champagne on Arrival 

When you first arrive at your room you will be greeted with a bottle of Champagne. It’s a bottle of Tattinger nonetheless. It’s available throughout your stay too in the Deluxe bars, so drink all of it that you can get your hands on. 

Unpacking and Packing Service 

This was actually something that we thought we wouldn’t really enjoy but actually ended up finding very useful. This one is quite a personal choice as some people don’t unpack when they are on holiday, but it’s a handy service to have if you do. 

Personal Concierge 

Whether you want to book dinner for the evening or an activity for the next day the concierge is there to make your vacation run as smoothly as possible.  We found this service extremely handy as it seemed our concierge could always get tables at the restaurants when it looked like they were booked out on the app. 

Two Complementary Neck and Back Massages 

This is one of the standout features of the Deluxe rooms. The spa treatments at the Ann Sermonin spa are really good and to have two free massages is really nice touch.  So, make sure to make use of them if you are staying in a deluxe room. 

Private Pool, beach area, and bar 

If you are looking for the highest level of privacy, then the deluxe room option is for you. We found that the private beach and pool areas were the standout features of the benefits of the deluxe room. The capacity of these areas is a lot lower than the main pool and beach areas. So it gave that extra feeling of luxury and exclusivity.  


Tipping 

At InspoVacay we believe that Tipping should be considered mandatory. We typically bake in a certain amount of money towards tips.  Although tipping is not as prevalent as in all-inclusive resorts in South America and the Caribbean. The staff here work really hard to provide you with the most enjoyable vacation possible.  So, tipping is a nice way of saying thanks.

In general, we would tip a few euros when we were leaving a bar and for food, we would tip between €5-10 euro per meal.  The amount normally depends on which meal it is and the quality of service.  Normally we tip a little less for breakfast compared to dinner. 


Conclusion 

You really can’t go wrong choosing Ikos Andalusia as your next vacation spot. This place is pure luxury.  When you take into account the standard of the food, service, amenities, and the overall quality of the resort it really does live up to its 5-star billing.  

Given that this resort was only freshly opened we would have expected to have a few kinks to have shown up throughout our stay. While the experience wasn’t flawless, it did deliver on the reputation that the Ikos brand has developed over the last few years for being the premium all-inclusive offering in Europe. 

The only real letdown was the beach. It is very rocky, so if the beach is a priority for your vacation, you may want to look at the Ikos’s resorts in Greece.  

The bottom line here is that this is up there as one of the top all-inclusive offerings in Europe and has the Inspovacay seal of approval.


FAQ’s

Q. Does the Ikos Andalusia offer a shuttle service from the Airport 

A. There is a mini-bus service that is available from the airport. As well as private transfers that can be booked through the resort.  If you book directly through the Ikos website they do include the mini-bus transfer as part of your package. If not you may need to pay extra. The resort is a 50-minute drive from Malaga airport so a taxi ride is around €60 each way.  So, it’s not cheap. 

Q. Is parking available at the resort 

A. Yes, parking is available for guests and it is complimentary 

Q. Is Wi-Fi included

A. Yes, Wi-Fi is available to you in your suite as well as throughout the resort. 

Q. What local attractions are there?

A. There’s a huge amount to see and do in the local area. If you fancy leaving the resort on multiple occasions and seeing what’s outside the resort, we do recommend that you rent a car for a few days, to make the most of the local area. 

Q. Does Ikos Andalusia Cater for Vegetarians and Vegans?

A. Yes,  we found the choice of veggie and vegan dishes to be really good.  In all of the restaurants, there are always a few vegan options and at least one vegan option. They also have a range of dairy-free milk on offer. You can request your milk of choice to be added to your mini-bar too, which was a nice touch.