Getting to know Sean McMahon of Hotel Tikar

It was more than 20 years ago, that Californian Sean met Beatriz a Spaniard from Palencia in the north and they spent a couple of years living in San Francisco.

Loving to travel, they decided to spend five years in Spain as it was a much better starting place for weekends in Europe then the west coast of America.

That was about 26 years ago and they are still here, just loving their existence, having decided that running a boutique hotel and restaurant was their calling.

At first they stayed in northern Spain, with Beatriz, who is bilingual, undertaking translations and Sean helping people understand the newly introduced internet and whenever they had enough money they would travel somewhere.

Then along came their first child as Sean explained “he ended our Bohemian lifestyle and we had to look to the future”.

A fine boutique hotel

They opened their first restaurant in the north, but realised that with a short tourist season there wasn’t sufficient local trade to justify staying, so they headed south and opened the very stylish Hotel Tikar in Garrucha.

They only have six bedrooms which are all junior suites with a living room and the hotel itself is decorated with art from local artists, has a very pretty garden and a pool which you can dine by in the summer.

The great thing about the location of Hotel Tikar is that it is next to the beach and has a restaurant which offers a great range of dishes at very reasonable prices which is why it is popular with locals all year round.

There is a very cosmopolitan atmosphere with guests from much of Europe as well as many Spanish holidaymakers in the summer.

When asked about Brexit Sean said “whilst we enjoyed having a number of British visitors, we are really a European/Spanish style restaurant so although some of clients may no longer use their properties for six months a year, there has been no reduction in business as there are more Scandinavians in particular visiting us”.

Choose your wine from the Vinoteca

At one time, a small room inside the hotel was used as an art gallery but with the 2008 financial crisis, that business tailed off but “this allowed me to turn the room into a Vinoteca stocking mainly Spanish wines as well a few from other countries.”

Guests can view the wines and then choose what they would like to drink with their meal and being part of the community, Hotel Tikar organises wine tastings and trips to nearby wineries.

Sean and Beatriz decide on the dishes to appear on the menu “but we leave the kitchen staff to cook to perfection as they are very consistent” and it speaks volumes for the couple that in all of the years they have been open they have only ever had three head chefs.

Every so often, diners can enjoy live music ( which never drowns out conversation) and the atmosphere is always pleasant.

Hotel Tikar a unique name

Sean is proud that “as far as I know, there is no other hotel in the world with the name Tikar and this name was chosen deliberately.”

Many people ask Sean whether why he prefers Spain to the USA and he says “it’s to do with the lifestyle and the people, of course I do miss somethings but when you live abroad you have to compromise and that’s what we have done.”

That compromise has even embraced bureaucracy “it’s there and you have to learn to live with it.”

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page