LUXURY homes at a new five-star beach and golf development on the Costa de Almeria in southern Spain are attracting keen interest from native and Irish buyers alike.

A huge appeal is the location directly over the beach, which extends for one sandy kilometre, sheltered beneath mountains and natural parkland.

Playa Macenas is a multiphase project, with the launch of 180 apartments being showcased at the Ranelagh offices of Douglas Newman Good International next Saturday 6 May.

Los Altos de Macenas offers two- and three-bed units, from 70 to 110 square metres, with two bathrooms and, in some cases, including private roof terrace with decked solarium, barbecue or 12 square-metre infinity swimming pool.

The design is of low-rise, terraced units, strategically placed at the highest point of the resort (hence the great views) and built into the hillside so that no property impedes the other's vista of the sea below.

Prices range from 280,000 to 510,000.

Barcelona architects were commissioned to create homes that reflect the typical white Moorish style of southern Spain. Buildings are a maximum of two storeys high, with the traditional flat roofs seen in nearby hilltop villages such as Mojacar.

These roofs are often used as additional outdoor terraces. Shutters and wroughtiron railings are painted in typical 'Mojacar blue' to enhance the local village style.

Care has been taken to ensure that outdoor living and dining are an integral part of each Los Altos de Macenas property, with the inclusion of a shady pergola or sheltered sunbathing spot.

The properties are arranged in small communities, each 'community' with its own garden and pool.

Nearby is the Cabo de Gata park which includes a botanical reserve with many protected species of plants; also resident is a colony of protected Mora turtles.

According to agents DNG International, this region of Spain is experiencing capital appreciation of 17% a year.

First completions of homes, and of the golf course, fivestar hotel and beach club, are set for spring/summer 2008.

Playa Macenas is within a 45-minute drive of Almeria airport (direct Aer Lingus flights), one hour and 35 minutes from Murcia airport (Ryanair), and two hours' drive from Alicante airport.