Las A is a charming, blue, two-storey house on a short block that ambles happily from the busy street (Avenida Juan Sebastian Elcano) to Las Acacias beach, a sand strip that offers a refreshing, sardine-scented change from the Brit and German-spattered beaches of neighbouring costas. Amazingly, this beach has Actual Spanish People on it doing Spanish Things! Activities observed on this visit included; men with fine moustaches grilling and eating sardines, extended family groups having leisurely after-work picnics, and little old ladies, clad head to toe in black, putting on an extra layer or seven whenever the temperature threatened to dip below 25 degrees. All this instead of spending years working on forbidding frowning techniques and planning high security fortifications in order to defend prime palapas like my countrypeople and our Teutonic cousins often do…
Meanwhile back at the hostal, things are quiet and pleasingly quirky. Some hotel rooms are cozy. Some divide cozy by broom closet and then shear off a few inches. I only saw one room at Las A and it veered towards the latter. However, it did demonstrate impressive optimism and perseverance on the parts of the owners. Most humans would have contemplated trying to manhandle two beds into a room of that size, spent two seconds chortling at such folly and trundled one Ever-rest off to other quarters. Not so, those determined Las Acacias characters! Nope. This is a one-bed room squished to contain twice that number of sleep-centric furnishings. As a result, unless you have excessively thin legs and/or are a member of the stick insect family, you have a 73% chance of bruising both shins every time you stumble to bed in the dark. The distance between bed ends and wall is approximately the width of the average human knee.
If you enjoy a place that celebrates every strata of decor since it was built, Hostal Las A is a splendid choice! You can while away hours tracing the history of this hostal and its every guest on the walls, surfaces and ceiling. A white gouge through the glowing green paint here that was perhaps a hasty guest, dashing to catch a few more mouthfuls of sardines before a late flight. A mosquito squish there that performs as an effective warning sign against leaving the stately floor-to-ceiling glass doors open overnight. A minor constellation of duct tape detailing on the blackout shades that were perhaps the result of a ripping good swordfish duel. There is also a perplexing profusion of curtain rods. Including on walls with no windows.
In contrast to the enthusiastically duct-taped blackout shades, over-bed illumination comes courtesy of inquisition lights bright enough for those who wish to study detailed aviation manuals by night, those who spend evenings doing micro-surgery on small woodland mammals or those wishing to work on perfecting signals to encourage incoming intergalactic tourism.
On this instance, I voted against use of the blackout shades (and against swordfish fighting/squirrel surgery) and left the shades open to admire the gracious floor-to-ceiling French doors, the greenery beyond and the occasional red and green splash of a passing parrot. This also allowed excellent eavesdropping opportunities from the hostal’s leafy garden restaurant below. People quietly singing “Feliz cumpleanos” over vinos! Most pleasing.
Who would this hotel suit?
* Those seeking somewhere serene compared to atmospheric accommodations of El Centro Historico (see Echegaray Suites) and looking for a down-to-earth budget choice. A fine night’s sleep for all here!
* Those who vote for character and quirkiness over the fussiness of fine hotels. My mum would have enjoyed Las Acacias for its gentle pace, welcoming hosts, multi-course leisurely breakfasts and for the leafy views, particularly on days with a plethora of parrot pass-bys.
* Those partial to neighbourhood stays rather than those who must be in the midst of top tourist sites.
* Some rooms best suited to worryingly thin people or members of the gazelle species able to vault over the beds rather than suffer shin attacks on every pass.
*Ninety seconds walk to the beach, most useful when you realise you’ve forgotten to bring your money/ beach read/ favourite sardine condiments.
*Miles of hopping beachside bars and restaurants along seafront leading back to Malaga Centro or east to former fishing village El Palo.
*Guest rooms with soaring high ceilings! Charming tiled balcony with views of abundant foliage! Elegant floor-to-ceiling French doors!
*Room stayed in painted an emphatic shade of leafy green. Other rooms of similar upbeat hues. Not partial to such splashes of colour? See Cons.
*In a nice, quiet area, twenty minutes from the delights and overnight noise of downtown Malaga. Frequent buses. Most of the time the buses are quiet and easy to navigate, while, of course, any times you need to be on them with unwieldy suitcases, they will be crammed to their diesel-powered gills, but the Malaguenos are a delightful people and will chat, help control Samsonites with eager wheels, dispense advice as to where to get off/ sit/ eat grilled sardines. I like Malaguenos.
*Charming, multi-course breakfast featuring delights such as freshly squeezed orange juice, pots of yoghurt, bowls of plums, plates of jamon y queso, fresh warm bread, bowls of coffee, served outside in the leafy garden restaurant.
*Leafy garden restaurant! Eavesdropping opportunities from rooms above!
*Genial, unobtrusive host couple that happily stores suitcases when you want one last wander down to the beach after checkout.
*Room stayed in painted an emphatic shade of leafy green. Other rooms of similar upbeat hues. Partial to such splashes of colour? See Pros.
*Twenty minutes from the delights of downtown Malaga. On a bus that sometimes has many other humans on board. See also Pros.
*More paint/ primer/duct tape archaeology than is strictly necessary. Decor definitely a little ramshackle, but nothing that actually affected the comfort of the place overall.
*A rather haphazard approach to previous guest towel removal.
*Tricky to shower without breaking a rib or performing unexpected self-Heimlich manoeuvres on mixer tap in the world’s most minute shower.