“A golfing client tends to be passionate about their favourite sport”

flagship hotels, Gran Meliá Don Pepe. He clearly has the professional expertise for General manager Saad Azzam is well aware of the responsibility of heading one of Marbella and the Costa del Sol’s flagship hotels, Gran Meliá Don Pepe. He clearly has the professional expertise for such a position, having accumulated extensive experience in the management of five-star hotels in both Spain and overseas.

1 – The hotel celebrated its golden anniversary this summer. What remains of the Don Pepe that opened in 1964, when tourism was in a fledgling state in Spain?

– Since then the amenities and rooms have been renovated but Gran Meliá Don Pepe continues to preserve its luxury, ambience, quality service and attention to detail.

2 – What are the differences between clients of this kind of hotel and others where the rest of us mortals stay, apart from a healthy bank account?

– Clients tend to be much more demanding than normal, with extremely varied tastes; they are seeking exclusivity, a high level of service and good cuisine.

3 – Is there something that makes golfing clients stand out from the rest, apart from their bag of clubs?

– A golfing client tends to be someone who is passionate about their favourite sport, and the whole stay revolves around their pastime. They tend to rise very early to take advantage of the first hours of daylight. Generally they are accompanied by other golfing friends, which enables them to enjoy pleasant moments in “The 19th Hole”. For these clients it is important to have an excellent relationship with the best courses in the area, organising green fees and transport, as well as culinary options in accordance with their sporting preferences.

4 – What is your clients’ general view about the courses they play here?


– Excellent! It’s a real luxury to have access to the number of top-class courses we have in our destination. There is nowhere else in the world with such a high concentration of courses such as that on the Costa del Sol, and specifically Marbella. It’s a paradise for golfers.

5 – What does your hotel offer that others on the Costa del Sol don’t have?

– In addition to the privileged location which enables us to stand out from our competitors – the Costa del Sol has some great five-star hotels, with good amenities and superb rooms – what makes us stand out from the rest is that our objective is to offer guests experiences, not just a stay. We aim to transmit that through our welcome, how we treat people and our personalised service, the unique scent that defines us and the atmosphere we create around our select and varied culinary options (T-Bone Grill, Cappuccino Gran Café, Tahini Sushi Restaurant, Darcis Chocolatier, Oysters & Caviar Champagne Bar and the Whisky Lounge).

6 – What prompted you to install a putting green in the hotel’s presidential suite?

– I believe it’s a gesture to our privileged golf destination. Truly unique and exclusive for those who are passionate about golf, to be able to enjoy one of the Coast’s most spectacular suites, equipped with large putting green two storeys above the ground… to putt in the clouds!

7 –  In these changing times, is the species of tourists who spend their holidays in the same hotel for years and year now extinct?

– Not at all. We are lucky to have a large number of guests who for several years have considered our hotel to be their home, and they visit us annually. Many times we find three different generations: grandparents, parents and offspring. We love seeing them again every summer, filling us in on how they are and offering opinions about our new décor in the hall or the new restaurant menu, or our ongoing renovations.

8 – Many internationally renowned celebrities have stayed at the hotel, including Sean Connery, Edward Kennedy, Alain Delon, Bob Hope, Arthur Rubinstein and Julio Iglesias just to name a few. An interesting story you can reveal about a famous guest?

– Singer-songwriter Tinie Tempah shared with his more than three million followers on social networks the following comment, “Probably the best suite in which I have ever stayed in my life”.

9 – What is the most influential motive for Meliá Don Pepe clients choosing a tourist destination such as Marbella when planning their holidays?

– Marbella is, without a doubt, an obligatory international meeting point for many famous people who want to combine rest with luxury in all its aspects. Gran Meliá Don Pepe clients know that not only can they enjoy a fantastically located hotel but also a destination that guarantees them a leisure experience full of quality options. Another highly valued motive and one of the most exclusive aspects of our destination is its micro climate and temperature, definitely unique in Europe.