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AluaSoul Costa Málaga in Spain [In-Depth Hyatt Hotel Review]

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Ryan Smith
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Ryan Smith

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Countries Visited: 197U.S. States Visited: 50

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publicat...
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My wife and I recently spent 3 nights on the southern coast of Spain. When you hear that we paid just €55 (~$59) per night for our hotel, your expectations for what we got probably aren’t very high. We weren’t expecting much either, and that helped us avoid letdowns.

We stayed at the AluaSoul Costa Málaga — one of the properties acquired by World of Hyatt when it bought Apple Leisure Group back in 2021. This property didn’t have a ton to offer, but highlights included the price, the location, and getting credit for World of Hyatt’s Brand Explorer. Areas for improvement included hotel upkeep and noise.

So, was it worth €55 per night to stay here? See how it went during our stay at the end of February 2024.

Booking

During the process of booking this hotel, I got a bit confused. The Alua brand is listed under World of Hyatt’s all-inclusive collections. However, from looking at the rates and descriptions for the AluaSoul Costa Málaga, I saw nothing about all-inclusive rates. After contacting My Hyatt Concierge (a Hyatt Milestone Rewards benefit when reaching 60 qualifying nights or 100,000 base points), she confirmed that this is not an all-inclusive property. That said, it’s still listed as a Category A on Hyatt’s all-inclusive award pricing. Since we visited during off-peak dates, standard rooms were 12,000 points per night.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga points pricing
Points pricing during our stay. Image Credit: Hyatt

But considering the nightly rate of €55 (~$59), I paid cash. Redeeming 12,000 points here would give an abysmal rate of half a cent — well below what Hyatt points are typically worth.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga costs and earnings
My spending and earnings from our stay. Image Credit: Hyatt

I came away with 6,056 World of Hyatt points from this stay due to an ongoing promotion, qualifying spending, and my bonus earnings from elite status. I also earned 1,000 Etihad Guest miles due to a recent promotion.

An interesting thing about the AluaSoul Costa Málaga is that the property says it’s “recommended” for guests ages 16 and above. I never saw any information that guests under 16 years old were prohibited, but there was a lot of “recommendation” literature. I’m not sure what would happen if you arrived to check in with a child.

Hot Tip:

I paid our bill with The World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays: 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member.

Location

The AluaSoul Costa Málaga is outside the Málaga city center on the opposite side of the airport from downtown. Instead of being near the historic old city, it sits in the Torremolinos neighborhood. During our visit, this area was popular with expats, and we were surprised to hear many languages besides Spanish on the street every day.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga location
Location of the hotel. Image Credit: Google Maps

The Torremolinos neighborhood has a ton of restaurants, bars, and cafés within walking distance, a nearby beach, pedestrian-only areas, and the Torremolinos metro station. From here, you can easily catch a ride to the airport (15 minutes) or the old city (20 minutes) to visit the cathedral or the museum in Picasso’s childhood home.

Checking In

When we arrived at the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP), we picked up a rental car for our plan to drive down to Gibraltar as a day trip during this stay. When we got to the AluaSoul Costa Málaga, we weren’t sure where to stop, much less park. The front entrance had no indications of “leave your car here during check-in,” so we put the flashing lights on while my wife ran inside to ask. We were told we could occupy the “taxis only” spot temporarily.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga
Looking at the hotel from across the street.

Despite a rather unassuming front entrance, there was a ramp to the right of the stairs, which was handy for both luggage and those who have difficulty with steps.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga ramp near entrance
Location of the ramp near the front steps.

Inside, the lobby was brighter and bigger than the exterior entrance suggested, and a friendly agent at the desk greeted us with, “You must be Mr. Smith.” Apparently, we were the only guests checking in that day, though we did see nearly a hundred other guests during our visit.

Check-in was efficient and friendly. The employee explained the location of our room and the complex instructions for where to park our car in the garage across the street. More on that in the “Amenities” section below. After paying for our room, we received information about our benefits at the hotel.

Elite Benefits

We both received wristbands that said My Favorite Club, a loyalty program for Alua brands. These gave us access to the on-site lounge and daily breakfast without needing to pay.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lounge wristband
Wristband for accessing the lounge.

The employee also stated that we’d been upgraded to a room on a high floor facing the ocean. When I inquired about suites, I was told that those would require a separate payment. Odd, since my World of Hyatt Globalist benefits should include suite upgrades, if any are available. I didn’t press the issue despite knowing several were available from checking the Hyatt mobile app.

After concluding the check-in process, my wife headed to the elevator while I went to park the car. The elevator had tell-tale signs of why we didn’t get a suite upgrade: The hotel advertises upgrades (for a fee) inside the elevator and seemingly didn’t want to give us a suite for free.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga elevator upgrades and floor sign
Prices for room upgrades were listed in the elevator.

A sign on the other side of the elevator advertised paying for late checkout benefits. I was glad we didn’t need to have that discussion with the employees. Given the time we’d depart from the hotel on the last day, we didn’t need late checkout.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga elevator late checkout cost
Late checkout prices in the elevator.

All things considered, we got a room with an upgraded view and free breakfast, plus I earned points at a higher rate. However, we didn’t get a suite upgrade or free parking since the hotel contracts with a nearby garage and doesn’t control the rates. During our stay, I came to realize there were multiple room types nicer than what we got.

Amenities

Considering the price we paid and the hotel’s location surrounded by commercial buildings on all sides, there were more amenities here than we’d expected at first glance.

Elevators

Tucked behind the lobby, up some steps or a ramp, was a bank of 3 elevators. There was a sofa nearby to wait comfortably.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga elevator waiting area near lobby
A small waiting area near the elevators on the ground floor.

Inside the elevators, a QR code allowed guests to access hotel information, including the hours of on-site amenities.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga elevator QR code
QR code for accessing hotel information, found in the elevator.

On the guest floors, there were no seats for waiting at the elevators. On our floor (the ninth), the elevator doors screeched open noisily; some WD-40 would work wonders here.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga elevator waiting area guest floor
The elevator waiting area on our floor.

Pool

The hotel’s pool, tucked behind the building, and surrounding area were surprisingly large.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom balcony overlooking pool
Overlooking the pool from our balcony.

The pool wasn’t that big, but I’m sure it’s popular during the summer. I didn’t see anyone using it during our windy winter visit.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga pool
The hotel’s pool.

Around the pool, there was ample seating, including loungers and shade umbrellas. These were complimentary.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lounge chairs cabanas
Lounge chairs on the pool deck.

An intriguing set of stairs led to more seating.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga stairs to more lounge chairs
The stairs piqued my curiosity.

Loungers and umbrellas occupied 2 grassy areas at the top of the steps.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lounge chairs on grass
Loungers and umbrellas beyond the pool.

Cabanas were available for €50 (~$54) apiece, though the cushions had definitely seen better days.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga dirty cabana
Stained cabana cushions.

Tucked to the side of the pool was a reserved area with loungers for My Favorite Club members only. This could be handy during busy seasons at the hotel.

Game Room

A small game room was located on the second floor, near the entrance to the pool deck. It had a few seats and a foosball table.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga game room
A small game room near the door to the pool deck.

There was a pool table, though you had to pay to retrieve the balls to start a game.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga pool table
The pool table in the game room.

Internet

Wi-Fi was available throughout the property. Upload speeds were pretty slow at less than 10 Mbps, but download speeds were decent, averaging above 47 Mbps.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga wifi speed test
Downloads were solid, but uploads were slow. Image Credit: Speedtest

Parking

I won’t say this was the sketchiest place I’ve ever parked, but it might make the top 10 list. The AluaSoul Costa Málaga uses the San Enrique parking garage on the other side of the street. Instructions on how to find the parking section for hotel guests were a bit complicated, but I understood that parking in the wrong area was a surefire way to get towed.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga parking entrance
Entrance to the parking garage across the street.

After entering the garage, we descended past the first floor — with an obvious booth where you’d need to pay — to a second underground floor. I left a deposit of €50 for a remote control that opened a garage door for this floor. When I returned the remote at checkout, I got my deposit back.

From here, we followed several small paper signs hanging on the ceiling, each with the AluaSoul Costa Málaga logo, until we reached this yellow and white section. This is where hotel guests could park. We paid €20 (~$22) per day to park here.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga parking
The area where hotel guests park.

While the section where we parked had decent lighting, other parts of this floor didn’t, including the parts we had to walk through to the stairs to leave the parking garage. Several handymen used this underground space for projects they were walking on, random dogs walked around, and the stairs to exit passed through both a shop and an apartment building. It was hilariously strange.

Fitness Center

According to the website, there was a small fitness center on the ground floor with free weights, a multi-function machine, and a handful of cardio machines, including bikes, ellipticals, and a treadmill. It was open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

However, I didn’t realize a fitness center existed until I wrote the review and found it on the hotel’s site. It wasn’t listed in the amenities in the Hyatt app during our stay, and I never saw a sign for it in the elevator, lobby, or check-in info. I never passed a spot where it could be.

Guest Room

We stayed on the ninth floor in room 929. From the elevators, we had the first room on the left.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga guest hallway
The hallway on our floor.

The people in 928 (the room next door) spoke a language we didn’t recognize. However, if they’d used a language we knew, we could’ve participated in their conversations. The walls were that thin.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga entrance to rooms
Our room (929) and the proximity of the next room.

Luckily, they didn’t make noise late at night, though our proximity to the elevator meant we heard the “bing!” and people coming and going at night. My wife, a light sleeper, woke up to this hallway traffic a few times.

Bedroom

Our room was simple; it didn’t lack anything but didn’t have any frills either. We had 2 beds pushed together to make a king and a small balcony at the far end.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom
Our compact bedroom.

Closer to the entrance and bathroom was a closet with mirrored doors.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom bed and closet
The mirrored closet and bed.

We had extra bedding, a few hangers, and a small safe inside the closet.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom closet and safe
Our compact-yet-sufficient closet.

Each side of the bed had a lamp, outlet, and nightstand. My side also had a phone.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom nightstand phone
The nightstand and lamp (plus phone) nearest the closet.

The lampshades had seen some better days, though.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom corner of lamp
Peeling on the edge of the lamp.

The side of the bed closest to the balcony had 2 USB-A outlets but no standard plug, which was interesting.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom nightstand lamp
The nightstand and lamp nearest the balcony.

Near the balcony, we had a wooden desk with a chair, lamp, small trash can, and a minifridge.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom desk and chair
The desk and chair in the corner of the room.

On top of the desk, we had a kettle, mugs, and some tea and coffee supplies. A note said we could get more supplies after using these, but there would be a cost.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom mugs and kettle
Our tea and coffee station.

We also had 2 bottles of water to start our stay.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom water and glasses
Bottled water on arrival in our room.

The minifridge under the desk was empty but worked.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom minifridge
Our empty minifridge.

Our room also had a thermostat, but we didn’t use it. At the end of February, the temperature wasn’t hot enough that we needed air conditioning.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom thermostat
Our room’s thermostat.

The room had definite signs of wear and tear; it could use some upkeep. There were scuff marks around most touch points in the room, such as near the light switches and the lamps.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom light switches
Signs of wear and tear around the light switches.

The slot to put in our keycard (to be able to turn the lights on) could have used some cleaning and a bit of paint.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom slot for keycard lights control
Signs of wear on the slot for the keycard.

The wall near the folding luggage rack in the corridor between the bathroom and bedroom had been hit by many a suitcase over the years.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom scuffs by suitcase rack
Scuffs near the folding luggage rack.

Balcony

Our small, triangular balcony didn’t accommodate much beyond sitting or standing. It had a small plastic table with an ashtray, plus 2 plastic chairs. A sliding glass door led to the balcony.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom balcony
Our small balcony.

We could see the Mediterranean in the distance, past some buildings and trees, and our room overlooked the pool area. Not bad for under $60 per night.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bedroom view from balcony
Looking toward the sea from our balcony.

Bathroom

The bathroom reminded us of when we lived in a shoebox apartment in Brooklyn years ago. It was small.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom
Our small bathroom.

There was a small counter above the sink, but it didn’t hold much. We also had 2 drinking glasses near the sink, but there wasn’t any space to spread out toiletries or toothbrushes.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom sink
Proximity of the sink and toilet.

Next to the sink, we had pump bottles of Alua-branded hand wash and lotion mounted on the wall. The ingredients in the lotion had separated over time, and I wished I could take the bottle off the wall to give it a good shake.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom pump bottles
Pump bottles on the wall in the bathroom.

There was a makeup mirror and a hair dryer near the door to the bathroom.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom hair dryer makeup mirror
The hair dryer and makeup mirror in the bathroom.

The shower had both rainfall and handheld options. It worked well and got hot (HOT!) very quickly.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom shower head
The shower head and handheld option.

We had pump bottles of Alua shower gel, conditioner, and shampoo inside the shower. These were mounted in such a way that we couldn’t read the labels on 2 of them, so we had to pump out the contents to determine which was which.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom shower pump bottles
Pump bottles in the shower.

Now, let’s talk about some oddities in the bathroom. The glass door for the shower didn’t swing in far enough to let us in comfortably.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom shower door problem
The glass door to the shower didn’t open all the way if you pushed it in.

The reason was the towel rack overhead. The door hit the corner of the rack. Thus, we needed to open the door out, not push it in, to get in and out of the shower. But there wasn’t enough space to open the shower door if the bathroom door was open, so this was basically a “1 person at a time” bathroom.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom shower towel rack problem
Towels on the problematic rack.

The sink and toilet were so close together that you could rest your arms and head on the edge of the sink while sitting on the toilet. That was odd.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bathroom sink
Our bathroom sink.

The bathroom was small and had jammed everything possible into the small space, but it definitely presented some quirks.

Food and Beverage

The AluaSoul Costa Málaga had 1 restaurant, 3 bars, and a lounge. However, not all of them were operating during our visit.

Terra Restaurant

Terra was the sole restaurant at the hotel and was located on the first floor (the lobby was on 0, for reference). Terra served breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. each morning.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant signs
Sign and hours for the Terra Café.

Seating was abundant and had a nice nautical theme. When arriving at the restaurant, we simply showed our wristbands and helped ourselves to a table. Guests who didn’t have complimentary breakfast needed to pay before going to a table.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant seating
Seating at the Terra Café where we had breakfast each day.

Breakfast was buffet style, and dishes were the same each of the 3 mornings we ate at the AluaSoul Costa Málaga. Hot dishes included beans and grilled tomatoes (which were hits with the many U.K. guests), French fries, and hash browns.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant breakfast hot foods
Hot dishes on the breakfast buffet.

Along with a handful of fruits (both sliced and whole), there were cold cuts available each morning.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant breakfast cold cuts
Cold cuts on the breakfast buffet.

Fried eggs were available near a cooking station, where we could request an omelet.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant breakfast eggs
The egg station during breakfast.

There was a self-serve coffee machine. The shelves on the left had numerous types of breads, rolls, and croissants.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant coffee machine
Guests check out the bread selection near the coffee machine.

Signs on each table said a premium coffee or fresh orange juice was included with breakfast. However, this sign was a bit misleading.

The premium coffee was whatever we got for yourself from the machine. The juice was available on a station with yogurt and jams near the entrance, and it was FAR from fresh. In a ranking of orange juices, I’d put it below Sunny D and tied with Tang — possibly lower. We didn’t get juice after the first day because it was incredibly sour.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant drink sign on table
This sign made us laugh.

The jams were interesting. I’d never seen jams in a pump bottle like this. The white bottles had sugar-free jellies, while the black ones had sugar added. Unfortunately, half of these were empty every morning, but I loved the novelty of these pumps.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Terra restaurant jam dispensers
I’d never seen these things before.

Vertigo Rooftop Bar

Located on the tenth floor (out of 11), Vertigo was the hotel’s rooftop bar.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Vertigo rooftop bar sign
Sign for the Vertigo rooftop bar.

Due to strong winds throughout our stay, the bar remained closed. Views from Vertigo were nice, though.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga Vertigo rooftop bar
The (closed) rooftop bar.

Kentia Bar

Kentia was a spacious bar-meets-relaxation area on the second floor next to the pool. While the bar occupied a small space in the corner of Kentia, most of the space was allocated to sitting around. The pillars and partitions in the room broke up noise, which was a nice touch. Kentia was open from noon to 11 p.m. during our stay.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga bar seating area
Ample seating at the Kentia bar.

My Favorite Club Lounge

Located at the far end of the lobby, our key cards provided access to this small lounge for elites. The My Favorite Club lounge was open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lounge sign
Entrance to the lounge, adjacent to the lobby.

My Favorite Club is a paid upgrade service/loyalty program at Alua properties, but Hyatt Globalists also get access to these benefits. Considering the size of this lounge, I wouldn’t pay for the ability to visit it. However, it was clean and had a few finger sandwiches, cakes, and drinks (including alcohol). We were told at check-in that taking items out of the lounge was prohibited; all items needed to be consumed within the lounge.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lounge
Inside the small lounge.

Agua Lobby Bar

I never saw a single person working at or visiting the Agua lobby bar, but it existed. Located in the corner of the lobby, it was here, and that’s all I can say about it. “Closed today” was the only explanation we could get; perhaps it only opens during the busy season.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga lobby bar
The unused lobby bar.

Service

I won’t hold this property to the same standards I would expect at a high-end resort. That’s not fair; however, I will be honest about the positives and negatives.

Let’s start with some positives. I liked that there were signs throughout the property, both near stairs and in the elevators, to indicate the location of various amenities.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga directional sign
Signage to find the restaurant and bar.

We liked that the front desk was staffed around the clock with employees who were knowledgeable about area attractions and hotel services. Moreover, we liked the variety of foods available on the breakfast buffet.

Service also had its faults. First, there’s the room, and I have a few issues to cite here. One of my benefits as a Globalist is that I should get upgraded to the best room available, including standard suites. I didn’t push the issue, but the hotel’s staff gave me the impression management had told them to only give suites to guests who pay to upgrade. That’s against Hyatt’s terms and conditions. Second, the location of our room was possibly the worst the hotel could’ve offered: right near a noisy elevator.

Last item on the room: Several better room types were available, even if the hotel didn’t want to give us a suite. When visiting the Vertigo bar, I noticed the rooms on the 10th floor are in a locked hallway, only accessible by those with a keycard to this floor. And the 11th floor had the same. These floors had premium, larger rooms and suites, and the hallway clearly had updates to make it nicer than the ninth floor, where we stayed.

AluaSoul Costa Malaga locked guest hallway
A locked guest floor hallway on the 10th floor.

While exploring the hotel one day, we decided to see if other floors had carpet (they didn’t), and we passed rooms on the seventh floor that made our stay even more confusing. Housekeeping had left a door propped open, and we realized that some rooms had been renovated AND actually had king-size beds. If these types of rooms were available, why wouldn’t someone with the hotel’s top status tier get one?

AluaSoul Costa Malaga updated room
A renovated room we found on the seventh floor.

Aside from the confusion with the room, it’s a service issue (in my opinion) to have signs at breakfast advertising fresh juice that’s clearly not. False advertising bothers me.

Putting it all together, what’s the balance on service? I think the service was decent for the price we paid, but it could be improved in several ways.

Final Thoughts

We stayed at an inexpensive property on Spain’s southern coast, paid a rate that My Hyatt Concierge even described as “shockingly good,” and I got credit for another brand with World of Hyatt’s Brand Explorer benefit. AluaSoul Costa Málaga had some strengths — location, reliability of the internet, and price — plus some issues to resolve: upkeep, inaccurate description of items at breakfast, and room allocation.

Would we stay here again if we returned to Málaga? Maybe. We didn’t have high expectations with the price we were paying, and our bare minimum expectations were met — though that’s not a great way to recommend a hotel. If you’re looking for an inexpensive hotel as a home base for some regional exploring, this is a decent option. If you’re looking for glitz and glam on the Costa del Sol, this isn’t it.

The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Hyatt award category is the AluaSoul Costa Málaga?

This is a Category A property on Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection. Standard rooms start at 12,000 points per night during off-peak dates.

Is Alua part of Hyatt?

Alua properties were part of the AMR Collection, which became part of World of Hyatt when Hyatt acquired the Apple Leisure Group in 2021. Thus, you can earn and redeem World of Hyatt points at Alua properties.

Are Alua hotels all-inclusive?

While Alua hotels are listed in Hyatt’s “Inclusive Collection,” not all Alua properties are all-inclusive. However, many of them do have an option for all-inclusive stays. Be sure to check each property individually before booking to avoid any surprises or confusion.

Are Alua resorts adults only?

Some Alua properties are adults only; others are not. To make this more confusing, some properties say they’re “recommended” only for guests ages 16 and up. If you’re traveling with children, contact a property directly to avoid surprises at check-in.

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About Ryan Smith

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.

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