Stephane Menou, new general manager at SO/ Sotogrande

A hospitality professional with more than 24 years’ experience in the luxury hotel sector, he started out managing Food and Beverage departments for global hotel groups before further building his career with leadership roles as general manager and heading up rebranding programmes in well-known international properties.

SO/ Sotogrande-Stephane Menou

Stephane Menou is the new general manager at SO/ Sotogrande, the flagship of the SO/ brand in Spain and the first five-star hotel in the Campo de Gibraltar area. A hospitality professional with more than 24 years’ experience in the luxury hotel sector, he started out managing Food and Beverage departments for global hotel groups before further building his career with leadership roles as general manager and heading up rebranding programmes in well-known international properties.

Menou has set out to create real and lasting synergies with the Sotogrande area itself, helping every guest to reconnect with it as a destination through this, Sotogrande’s first five-star resort.

panoramica-SO Sotogrande

You come to Sotogrande as general manager of SO/ Sotogrande. Did you know it already?

No, I didn’t. I arrived in Sotogrande at the start of August, at the height of the season, and I thought it was an idyllic place. Since then, and with more time, I have been getting to know the area and the amazing spots it has to discover. For me, the highlight is the climate, especially in winter, when there is bright sunshine and the temperature is very pleasant for any outdoor activity.

Sotogrande is sea, sunsets, sports, social life and exclusivity, in one of the most beautiful areas of southern Europe, Andalucía; but above all it is golf courses, and good courses at that. Are you a golf fan?

Yes, I am, and I have been lucky enough to play several courses. Among them, the 27 holes of Almenara Golf, which is the closest to me as it is in the grounds of SO/ Sotogrande. But Sotogrande has some of the best in Spain and Europe, such as Real Club Valderrama, San Roque Club or Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, to mention just a few.

Almenara Golf

SO/ is one of Ennismore’s luxury brands. What did it see in Sotogrande?

What it saw were huge possibilities for growth beyond the traditional summer season. I would say that Sotogrande is a destination with many micro-destinations within it, all in a setting surrounded by nature, very peaceful and safe for the whole family. It has enormous potential and plenty of possibilities to extend activity beyond the summer as there is so much to do all year round.

Golf is what springs to mind initially, and that is because of this fantastic location with seven of the best golf courses in Europe only 15 minutes way. However, when you get to know it, you realise that Sotogrande offers a wide range of things to do. From horse riding or polo to sailing in the Alboran Sea, something I’m looking forward to doing, or cycling and walking routes in the Los Alcornocales Natural Park or all that the marina area has to offer. There is even a very interesting culinary route to explore. So, to answer your question, I would say that it saw huge potential in the unique lifestyle as well as the unique location.

Now you have joined the SO/ Sotogrande team, will this mean a new direction in the management and marketing of the hotel?

Yes, one of our aims at SO/ Sotogrande under my management will be to make the most of the Andalusian roots, art and culture that ooze from every corner of the resort, which is full of the luxurious and avant-garde touches that are such a feature of the SO/ brand.

We are setting out to make SO/ Sotogrande a benchmark for leisure and wellness year-round – not only for visitors in the summer but also for the local community as a whole.  To attract the residents of Sotogrande and the surrounding area, turning the hotel into a meeting point. In short, it is about recovering the essence of what these large ‘cortijo’ farmhouses have always been and making ours a place to celebrate life and share wonderful moments with friends and family.

Lobby-SO/ Sotogrande

What was the first decision you took in your new role?

As I said, overall, I want to ‘create family’ and to include the local community and the surrounding area, and Andalucía in general. By positioning the hotel as a meeting point for local people, I think it will draw together the richness of this area, in the full sense of the word.

SO/ Hotel and Resort is a concept combining the sophistication of its brand with the personality of the destinations. In the case of SO/ Sotogrande hotel, this is located in an old ‘cortijo’ farmhouse, a typical Andalusian type of building. In those terms, what do guests find when they arrive, what kind of hotel do they see?

It is centred on an elegant farmhouse of an Andalusian ‘cortijo’ country estate where you can soak in the values and characteristic feel of the Andalusian coast. A setting full of possibility, with magnificent facilities and a spectacular location.

Among its many facilities and activities, there is the chance to enjoy SO/ SPA, one of the best centres in Spain, a high-quality wellness zone with more than 2,800 m2, suitable for the most demanding customer. This is a sanctuary of serenity offering the best in cutting-edge treatments and featuring thermal and hydroelectric pools, where visitors can enjoy the eight rooms within the spa and combine various treatments in our eight cabins with natural light and sea views.


SO/ Sotogrande opened in summer 2021 as Sotogrande’s first five-star resort. How has the first year been for the resort?

Historically, Sotogrande has been a somewhat private residential community, but with great potential for luxury tourism. Many Sotogrande regulars have been asking for a quality hotel offer, both for the guests of the owners of these spectacular homes here, and for potential buyers who want to get their first taste of life in this incredible enclave.

After a year we are noticing that, as well as those reasons for staying with us, many guests are becoming loyal, regular customers, seeking out SO/ Sotogrande as the place to unwind and take a holiday thanks to its charming staff, luxurious facilities and varied cuisine.

Sotogrande is one of the top golf destinations, not only for the quantity but also for the quality of its courses. Does SO/ Sotogrande have a specific department for golfing customers?

Yes, naturally. That department offers the best deals for making trips extra-special. Visitors can book packages and activities to best suit their next stay at SO/ Sotogrande.

HI-SO SO Sotogrande

Discovering Sotogrande as a destination with SO/ Sotogrande is a real experience for guests. What new ideas does the resort have coming up?

We aim to ‘build a destination’ by developing synergies with all parts of Sotogrande, to create a really outstanding offer and experience here in southern Spain.

The food and drink options in a hotel are increasingly a key part of the experience. Are there any new plans for these on the horizon?

We have a wide range of food and drink options on offer within the hotel itself and these will carry on being a tribute to the local produce of the area. The marvellous SOciety restaurant is one of my favourites, not only for its inspiring views and delicious coffee, but also because I love the cooking there; Cortijo restaurant, recently opened with a new concept, is a space dedicated exclusively to traditional Andalusian cuisine at its best but with something of a contemporary twist. With the festive season approaching, SO/ has also launched its ideas for celebrating a very special Christmas. There are gastronomic events and fun evenings to enjoy with family and friends in the most interesting place to meet in Sotogrande.


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