Crafts, vernacular tradition and Andalusian airs: this iconic hotel in Malaga reopens its doors after a decade of closure

There was a time when the elite of society came to the Costa del Sol, in Malaga, from Elizabeth Taylor to Sean Connery, including the Aga Khan and Aristotle Onassis. Times of the mythical Byblos which, after more than a decade closed, reopens its doors this autumn after a spectacular renovation and under the name of hotel La Zambra(a type of flamenco dance that was banned due to its sensuality), ready to recover its days of splendor.

It was precisely in Byblos that a recently separated Lady Di was caught by some paparazzi doing topless in some snapshots for which more than a million euros were paid so that they would never see the light, The Rolling Stones emptied the cellar and looted several boxes of Rioja wine from the great vintage of 1982, the parents of Antonio Banderas met Melanie Griffith for the first time or Julio Iglesias made it his home for more than two months while they finished renovating his house. La Zambra is located near Mijas, halfway between Malaga and Marbella, and within a privileged enclave that guarantees a genuine Andalusian experience inheriting from its predecessor the importance of intimacy and privacy enjoyed by its guests, personalized treatment (it has two employees per room) and a façade and characteristic elements that have been restored respecting its initial character.

One of the inspiration patios Andalusian woman in La Zambra.

© Laura Cano

The architects of an impeccable reform: Esteva i Esteva and Sandra Tarruella

The renowned architects Esteva i Esteva boy responsible for having breathed a new life into the hotel. The studied use that the Mallorcans make of natural materials gives this project a strong sense of provenance and has materialized in 197 rooms that combine wood and natural fabrics, all of them with terraces, balconies or private gardens in which sustainability has been committed.

The study of Sandra Tarruella Interioristas(together with Esteva i Esteva) is responsible for the design of the Palmito restaurant, one of the most emblematic new spaces. Open all day, it serves the hotel’s breakfast, lunch and dinner, so the reform has been planned to make it a multifunctional space. With these premises, a sober zone of tradition vernacular is conceived that has opted for the complexity of the simple, prioritizing durability. The practice of lime mortar is recovered manual claiming the constructive forms of Andalusian houses. The chromatic range of the restaurant is also inspired by the different shades of the mortar, which help to distribute the different areas of the restaurant. Carpets made of clay pieces, two large oak tables with benches that serve as supports for the breakfast buffet and, waving from the ceilings, an irregular dance of lamps.


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