By Eloise Horsfield
IT may well count Grace Kelly and Osama Bin Laden among its former guests, but 60 million euros of debt has forced the closure of one of Marbella’s top luxury spas.
The Incosol hotel, which was opened in 1973 by General Franco, was a pioneer in health tourism and once the epitome of glamour and grandeur.
With five-star facilities, it offered spectacular sea views, beauty therapy, anti-ageing treatments and, of course, golf.
And then there was the chance for a bit of royal spotting, with former visitors including the kings and queens of Belgium, Sweden and Denmark.
Late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was so impressed with the Incosol, he rented out three entire floors of the building, while he waited for his marble palace to be built on the Golden Mile in the 1980s.
A famous photo shows him meeting Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who broke off his holiday in Mallorca in 1974 to fly over to meet him at the hotel.
Incredibly, in part of his entourage on that trip, was a young man Osama Bin Laden, then in his 20s, who infamously immersed himself in Marbella’s fashionable nightlife.
He was said to have returned on a number of occasions between 1977 and 1988 with his family.
Hollywood star Grace Kelly later came to stay with her husband Prince Rainier of Monaco.
But the hotel’s future has been uncertain for a number of years, with debts starting to mount up in the 1990s.
At the turn of the century it already owed 22 million euros, with a glimmer of hope offered by Cadiz company Jale who bought it out in 2007, injecting 50 million euros into the business.
In 2010 however it was forced to enter bankruptcy proceedings and a commercial court ordered its closure on Sunday.
Jale labels the closure ‘unnecessary’, its president saying the bankruptcy officials ‘do not understand business management’.
Meanwhile the hotel’s 130 personnel – many have not been paid for three months – have vowed to stay on and wait for an investor to buy it out.