Hotel Fuerte Conil, Conil de la Frontera
The Hotel Fuerte Conil can’t be called budget in high season, when prices rocket, but, for anyone lucky enough not to have school-age children, it can be a bargain in autumn or spring. It’s part of a small chain but despite the fact it has a whopping 469 spacious rooms, the hotel has lots of personal touches, including a botanical garden complete with a random pony keeping the grass short. Inside, it has the feel of a kind of a sprawling Roman palace, the two outdoor pools shielded from the wind by the gleaming white buildings that surround them. For anyone who inexplicably wants to leave, Fontanilla beach is directly beneath the hotel and the centre of Conil, a likeable, white-washed fishing town, is just a few minutes’ walk away.
• 0800 021 1397, fuertehoteles.com/conil-cadiz, doubles from €61
Hospedería Santiago, Chiclana de la Frontera
The 11 rooms at Hospedería Santiago are painted in tones of deep peach and the reception is in front of a traditional tiled patio, with plants trailing from the arches. Breakfast is a basket of small cakes. In fact, pretty much the only evidence of foreign influence is that there’s a kettle in every room so you can make yourself a cup of tea. Apart from its low rates and Andalusian charm, though, the main reason this hotel is so popular with Spanish guests is that it’s 100 metres from one of the Costa de la Luz’s best family beaches, Playa de la Barrosa, and its almost four miles of fine, golden sand.
• +34 956 494840, hospederiasantiago.com, doubles from €55
Hostal Reyes, El Palmar
The first thing you’ll hear in the morning at Hostal Reyes will probably be the cockerel that lives on the farm behind crying "kiki ri ki!", the Spanish for "cock-a-doodle-do!" Either that or it’ll be the steady crash of the waves. There’s not much else around. The hotel, a simple establishment with nine sky-blue rooms above a restaurant specialising in the local fish, is right on El Palmar beach. Directly in front is a wooden walkway that leads you over sand dunes knotted together with long grass and wild flowers. The beach is popular with surfers but, happily, the developers have left it well alone.
• +34 956 232211, hostalreyes.com, doubles from €50
Hotel Misiana, Tarifa
Taking your breakfast in Hotel Misiana’s restaurant, light pouring in through the big, patio doors, is one of the best ways to start the day in Tarifa. Although it’s on the corner of a busy street in the heart of the town, it’s five minutes’ walk from the port and less than 10 minutes from the beach. With 14 beautifully designed, pastel-coloured rooms and a classic "azulejo" glazed-tile floor in the lobby, it’s also one of the most stylish hotels on the coast. This is the place to come if you like wind-surfing, kite-surfing, nightlife, or any combination of the above. It’s probably not the place to come, however, if you like to lie down on the beach. Unless you also enjoy being efficiently sand-blasted by the near continuous breeze that makes Tarifa the wind-sports capital of Spain.
• +34 956 627083, misiana.com, doubles from €55
Hotel Arte Vida, Tarifa
Just under four miles outside Tarifa, right on the Playa de Los Lances beach, the hotel Arte Vida has a spectacular position. The sky is alive with kites and a cool, young crowd hangs out in hammocks, wicker chairs and sofas around its own chiringuito (beach bar), music playing throughout the afternoons. The 11 rooms are basic, with a beach-hut vibe, each one with a direct sea view. Across the sea, so close that you feel like you could swim to it in an afternoon, is the coastline of Africa and the looming Atlas mountains.
• +34 956 685246, hotelartevidatarifa.com, doubles from €80
Hotel Hurricane, Tarifa
Just over half a mile further up the coast from Hotel Arte Vida, the Hotel Hurricane has an equally gorgeous location but with more of a grown-up, family vibe. There’s a small swimming pool with views across the sea and the hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens and palm trees. Steps lead directly down from the front of the pool to the rocks and on to a broad expanse of sand. The 28 rooms, 16 looking out to the mountains and 12 towards the sea, are simple, but with comfortable beds, white-washed walls and terracotta-tiled floors.
• +34 956 684919, hotelhurricane.com, doubles from €87
Hotel Dos Mares, Tarifa
One of the most impressive sights on Playa de Los Lances is that of horse-riders cantering along the shoreline. Many of the horses will come from the stables at Hotel Dos Mares, the biggest of the three hotels along this beautiful beach. It looks deceptively small from the shoreline, blending discreetly into the sand behind its palm trees, tan walls and discreet, blue-tiled roof but it has a good-sized swimming pool, tennis and padel (similar to squash) courts, as well as 35 bungalows, eight double rooms and four suites.
• +34 956 684035, dosmareshotel.com, doubles from €63
Hotel Avenida Playa, Zahara de los Atunes
The little town of Zahara de los Atunes is on the way to precisely nowhere, unless you’re a bluefin tuna, in which case it’s a kind of a motorway service station on a long journey from the Atlantic to spawn in the Mediterranean. That’s what, literally, gave the town its name – and fish still play an important role at the Hotel Avenida Playa, on a corner between the river, the beach and the small castle. The eight, bright orange rooms, generously sized for the price, play second fiddle to the restaurant downstairs, where you’ll find owner José María holding court, while son Juan José performs magic with the tuna.
• +34 956 439338, avenidaplayahotel.com, doubles from €45
Hotel Porfirio, Zahara de los Atunes
At the other end of town from Avenida Playa, Hotel Porfirio is more upmarket, with a design that’s a cross between a modern loft apartment – all jaunty skylights and smooth wooden beams – and a traditional Spanish villa. The hotel was built in 1999 and has been sensitively added to, to the point where it now has 65 rooms. When the wind blows as – we might have mentioned, it often does here – guests shelter around the pool which is surrounded on all sides. On still days, though, there’s a pleasant three-minute walk, across the road, along a wooden walkway, over the scrubby sand dunes, to an enormous beach that dwarfs the town itself.
• +34 956 449515, hotelporfirio.com, doubles from €60
Hotel El Capi, Zahora
The position may seem a little underwhelming: stuck out on the edge of a main road, but El Capi is a great option for exploring Zahora beach, one of the best along the coast. The hotel itself is arranged around a grassy square with a large tree in the centre. Each of the 26 basic rooms has its own porch, the white arches hung with plants. Turn right out of the hotel, though, and walk 10 minutes down a country lane and Zahora beach is unspoilt and beautifully sheltered. It is formed into a bay by two rocky outcrops, one topped by the white, 19th-century Trafalgar lighthouse. As well as flat sand there are rock pools and a very nice chiringuito (beach bar).
• +34 956 437070, elcapi.com, doubles from €45