Marbella, in the southcoast of Spain, has been a paradise for lovers of luxury since the 1970s. Once a tiny fishing village boasting little more than beautiful powdery beaches, the town is now considered a major tourist destination for upmarket travellers, as well as one of the top choices for a second home in Europe.
Marbella has got it all: a happening party scene (often centred around one of the area's trendy beach clubs), cultural events (everything from musical concerts to opera and art exhibitions) and a great location (Marbella is situated in the 'province' of Málaga – which is just an hour away from major skiing destination
, Sierra Nevada, but also home to a plethora of whitewashed villages and natural treasures (including the splendid Nerja caves).
Sierra Nevada has it all – excellent powder, luxury accommodation and a host of ski equipment and rental shops so if you do visit Málaga, try to get away for at least a one-day ski excursion.
If lavishness is on the agenda and your budget isn't a worry, these are just a few ways to have the luxury holiday of a lifetime in Marbella:
- Go shopping in Puerto Banús: The luxury port of Puerto Banús is home to some of the biggest and most luxurious yachts in the world. Comprising the port itself and a lovely cobblestoned (mainly pedestrian) walkway, it is also home to luxury shops (Custo, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo, to mention just a few), where you can find the outfit of a lifetime. The walkway is also dotted with a plethora of restaurants. For the ultimate meal, pay a visit to Los Bandidos, founded by the glamorous Jill Lindberg some 30 years ago. In addition to serving food that is to-die-for (think juicy steaks, fresh tartares and daily caught wild fish), the restaurant has something unique: a ceiling beneath which plants grow upside down. Chic, stylish and warm are just a few ways to describe Los Bandidos, which incidentally is situated just next to the Louis Vuitton boutique.
- Visit a Luxury Beach Club: Ocean Club and Nikki beach are just two of Marbella's best beach clubs. High season for these venues are usually July and August, though they remain open during the sunnier months of the year. Some of the biggest highlights to look forward to include champagne parties, DJ spun music, exquisite food and spectacular opening and closing parties. These are the kind of clubs meant to be enjoyed for the whole day long so make sure to bring along your best bikini and plenty of sunscreen.
- Dine at the Old Town: The most 'authentic' part of Marbella, say the locals, is the Old Town. Romance is in the air as one walks through whitewashed houses, winding cobblestoned street and beautiful old churches. There are excellent restaurants here too, including famed Italian haven, Il Tartufo, and creative international jaunt, La Famieke. The Old Town contains many romantic 'plazas' (or squares), where elegant lamp posts, fragrant flowered balconies and gentle candlelight make for the perfect spot for you and your partner to dine.
- Glam up your Look: Marbella is a hot spot for those seeking to work on their appearance, since it is home to excellent aesthetic surgery and beauty clinics where you can have everything from fillers to something more serious – e-g- the famous Brazilian Butt Lift or the famed non-surgical liposuction called CoolSculpting (in which fat is 'frozen' away). Many tourists visit this spot to enjoy a holiday while they are in recovery. Indeed, it is easy to do so, considering the weather is sunny almost all year round, with the exception of a few rainy days in November.
- Enjoy a Relaxing Yoga Retreat: A mere 15-minute drive from the centre of Marbella is Shanti-Som: a super relaxing retreat where you can stay for a weekend or longer, or simply tuck into healthy seasonal food at the resort's restaurant. Shanti-Som specialises in helping you find your equilibrium. Opt for one or more of many programmes, including weight loss, detox and yoga retreats. The Resort is also home to a luxury spa, where you can have various facial or body treatments and massages. Shanti-Som is nestled into a verdant paradise (Ojén), with view over rolling mountain ranges. On a foggy day, it can very much seem as though you are suspended in the air as you take in the view from the Balinese and Thai-styled interiors.
Written by Susie Dent. Thanks for reading!