THE iconic Byblos hotel in Mijas is set to reopen its doors to a new A-list crowd after being sold for €60 million
The erstwhile upscale holiday hideaway of royalty and rock gods has been closed since 2010.
Since then its owner, UK business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar, has been embroiled in a lengthy legal wrangle with troubled developer Aifos.
But after finally settling, Madrid-based Ayco Inmobiliaria snapped up the 135-room hotel this September and has vowed to reopen it ‘within the next few months’, creating some 300 new jobs.
The blue and white building, which attracted the world’s elite from day one of its 1986 opening, will be refurbished in a way that stays true to its original character.
Princess Diana stayed no less than three times at this leafy enclave in the hills above Fuengirola, where she was famously photographed topless by paparazzi.
It was the first place she spent the night during her debut visit to the Costa in 1993, the same year she announced her withdrawal from public life following the revelations of her relationship with playboy James Hewitt.
And Diana wasn’t the only blue-blooded guest. The Saudi royal family, who come to the Costa del Sol every summer to escape the Middle East’s crippling heat, repeatedly chose the Byblos as their preferred retreat.
The Rolling Stones, too, found satisfaction in its peace and seclusion.
Massive fans of Spain, the Stones were the first foreign band to perform in the country in 1976, following the fall of Franco.
They went on to perform 21 sell-out concerts across the country, choosing to wind down at the Byblos when performing in the south.
The hotel was also a firm favourite with Spanish household names, including Malagueño actor turned Hollywood star Antonio Banderas and singing legend Julio Iglesias.
It is hoped the hotel’s star-studded history will help counter the Costa’s biggest problem – seasonality. As Mijas Mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado explained, the Byblos brand of health, family, gastronomic and golf tourism will help make the hotel a year-round attraction.
And with the refurb firmly in the hands Ayco, which has a long history of developing quality investments, it’s only a matter of time before A-listers are flocking back to enjoy a hotel fit for a princess.