Marbella is a city and resort on Spain’s south coast. It is the playground for the rich & famous – home to Saudi princes, Hollywood stars, European royalty, billionaire tycoons and multi-millionaire footballers.
The Sierra Blanca mountains are the backdrop to 27 km of sandy Mediterranean beaches, villas, hotels and golf courses. West of Marbella town, the “Golden Mile” of prestigious nightclubs and coastal estates leads to Puerto Banús marina, filled with luxury yachts, and surrounded by upmarket boutiques and bars. Known for its glamour and luxury, Marbella attracts many celebrities and you can often walk past a famous face as you stroll through the town or lounge on a bed at a beach club. If you are super rich – or would like to live like the super rich for a week or two, then renting a villa in Marbella is the place for you.
Marbella has a huge range of attractions – from world-class restaurants, luxury shopping and the finest entertainment that money can by – plus its beautiful beaches. Whatever your interests Marbella has something for you.
Marbella Old Quarter
The historic centre of Marbella is a small square, named after orange trees, which suggests a Muslim origin, but the Renaissance style of the square shows more recent conception. Surrounded by classical buildings, it is a popular place for visitors.
Marbella’s old town is beautiful with a lot of narrow streets with white houses, statues, fountains and churches. It contains a lot of small, interesting shops and I noticed how impeccable and spotless this part of town was, the houses white with a lot of colourful flowers.
One of the most ancient Christian buildings in town is Ermita del Santo Cristo on la Plaza del Santo Cristo (see my photos). Its construction is dated back to the 14th century.
Puerto Banus Marina
Puerto José Banús, more commonly known as Puerto Banús is a marina located in the area of Nueva Andalucía, to the southwest of Marbella. The marina was built in May 1970 by José Banús, a local property developer, as a luxury marina and shopping complex. It has since developed into one of the largest entertainment centres in the Costa del Sol, with over 5 million annual visitors, and is now popular with international celebrities. It has grown from a small coastal village in the Mediterranean architectural style – Puerto Banús now has expensive shopping malls, restaurants and exclusive bars around the marina.
It is also a popular place to see many exotic supercars, that are owned by international celebrities and wealthy owners – often parked near their own large yachts. Luxury cars like Rolls Royces and high end sports cars like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercedes Benz are a common sight in the summer months around Marbella and Puerto Banus.
Puerto Banus Street Market
You can’t visit Puerto Banus and miss out on its market – held every Saturday morning from 9am. Various celebrity fashionistas – designers & supermodels – have been spotted at the market. Popular for clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, as well as local food produce such as fruit & veg, spices and flowers – there is something for every. Come along an try out your bargaining skills.
The market is located on both sides of the Puerto Banus street 9am – 2pm directly across from the Puerto Banus Bullring, up from the road from La Sala. An ideal way to spend a Saturday moring in Marbella, and end your shopping trip at a nearby restaurant for lunch.
Ocean Club Marbella
Beach club located front line beach in the heart of Puerto Banus. Ocean Club is the ideal location to meet extraordinary people and a superb destination for making the most out of sun, sea and sand! If you want to drink champagne, party in the sun and have a lot of fun by the sea then this the the to be – and be seen at.
Nikki Beach Marbella
In 1998, entrepreneur Jack Penrod introduced the world to Nikki Beach; the ultimate beach club concept that combines the elements of entertainment, dining, music, fashion, film and art into one. Called the “Sexiest Place on Earth,” by The London Observer, Nikki Beach continues to make its mark in the hottest addresses and trendsetting locales worldwide. Today, the Nikki Beach concept has transcended its international venues and grown into a global, multifaceted luxury lifestyle & hospitality brand. If you are in the mood for a Champagne party – or if you are going to spend the day at the beach in Marbella, then make sure it’s at Nikki’s.
www.nikkibeach.com – Marbella
Parque de la Constitución (Constitution Park) is the ideal place to relax and revel in the tranquil, beautiful natural surroundings. It’s huge garden is magnificently well kept. The park has a recreational area for small children and a small astronomical observatory. The park also includes “el Auditorium”, with seating for 600 people. Throughout the year shows take place in this wonderfully beautiful structure. Entertainment including opera to theatre is on offer, along with choruses and concerts offering a wide variety of music tastes. The Veranos Culturales (Cultural Summers), have become well known for their variety and dynamisum, equal to many European capitals. When in Marbella, this is definitely a place to visit.
Parque de la Alameda is a subtropical park in Marbella. There is a beautiful fountain in the park, Fuente Virgen del Rocio, and benches made out of lovely, colourful tiles. Parque de la Alameda leads fown in one direction to the promenade and beach whereas the other end leads to another large square with a large fountain – a good meeting place before dinner and surrounded by pretty tiled benches. The fountain is decorated with scenes of the pilgrimage to the small hamlet of El Rocio in the marshlands of the Guadalquivir River delta (south of Almonte), where the statue of the “Madonna of the Dew” has been worshipped since 1280. The pilgrims come on horseback and in gaily decorated covered wagons from all over the region, transforming the area into a colourful and noisy party.
The Paseo Maritimo – the seafront promenade in Marbella – was set up in its present form the 80’s, when the then Mayor, Jesus Gil, spent millions of (allegedly stolen) money on beautifying Marbella. It was he that set up, for example, the two (now sadly only one) large arches over the main road at the west and east entrances to the town. He spent an enormous amount of money on having the central part of the paseo paved in marble. Ten thousand bathrooms’ worth of it, it was said at the time.
Since then the Town Council has kept up the maintenance, and has also extended it (but not in marble!) so that you now have a very long walk all the way to Puerto Banus, and even further to San Pedro. This is a great walk to do when it’s not too hot. It’s about 1.5 to 2 hours to Banus, another 1.5 hours to San Pedro. You can then get the bus back to Marbella from either of these places – you’ll be too hot, tired and thirsty to want to walk back! The Paseo Maritimo has more than 50 stores and restaurants, so it is a good place to stroll and get exercise in a very pleasant environment. The walkway is paved nicely and there are many palm trees along it.
This is the perfect place for a stroll and people watching – it’s lively any time but particularly at the weekends and especially in the mornings. Views out to sea are stunning, we watched dolphins playing on our way out for breakfast. There is a huge choice of places to eat and drink at every price level, and the people watching is free. You can always tell when the local police are around as the impromptu market is hastily disassembled by the numerous bag sellers and vanishes in an instant! It’s clean and well maintained and is great for walking off that latest meal!
Avenida del Mar
Avenida del Mar is Marbella’s open air sculpture gallery.
Puerto Cabopino beach & marina
Cabopino was first developed in 1982 and is now a holiday complex with an upmarket harbour/marina with a dozen restaurants. there are 2 Beach Bars and a lively beach with sunbeds and parasols for hire. Well worth a stroll around. It’s a hidden gem – with very good restaurants, safe beach for the kids and away from the hustle and bussle of Marbella. There are still the mega powerboats and yachts but unlike Banus you get the impression that these actually take to the water!
Puerto Cabopino boasts many wonderful restaurants and none more delicious than Javiers situated in the middle of a white washed labyrinth of villas.Near the coast Jorges is a popular wine bar that is run by the most friendly owner imaginable – Jorges is a Mr Friendly. Other restaurants include the wonderful Hermosa and the tasty Tai an Indian restaurant that is simply superb. The Port is close to by two very distinct beaches.
Most 5 star hotels in the Marbella area have spas, offering world-class relaxation & pampering services. Various beauty treatments are available, as well as treatments for muscular ailments, detoxing and boosting your energy.
All of the top spas include hydrotherapy/hydrothermal pool. uses water in the treatment of various diseases and health problems. In addition, Hydrothermal therapy uses its temperature effects, as in hot baths, saunas, wraps, etc. Hydro- and hydrothermal therapy are traditional methods of treatment that have been used for thousands of years by various cultures including ancient Rome and ancient China
Hydrotherapy exploits the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli, applying heat to the body for a long time or longer than expected, plus applying pressure by the water which results in a stimulating sensation to the body. The body’s nerves transmit impulses which are felt deeper in the skin, where they produce significant stimulation to the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, improving circulation and aiding digestion, benfits efficient blood flow and reducing pain.
5 of the most popular spas in Marbella are:
Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Marbella
The Marbella Club – a long-time favourite of the rich and famous – the jetsets favourite Marbella spa, regularly attracting international royalty and film stars. It has an 800m2 spa with beaitiful ocean views. Indoor seawater pool, saunas, solarium, steam baths and 12 treatment rooms. You can relax in the hotels Thalasso Spa with its seawater pool and osmanic steam baths, or enjoy a high-pressure aquatic jet massage. Treatments offered include seawater shower and algae detox; they also offer various steam bath experiences and 12 different types of massage.
Shanti-Som Wellbeing Retreat
Drawing on the ancient traditions and tropical spa rituals of the East, Shanti-Som Holistic & Wellbeing Retreat in Spain takes centuries of eastern wisdom and uses these teachings to counterbalance the stress of modern life and the tell-tale signs that it leaves behind. A unique place in Europe where you regain your energy and your balance through yoga, meditation and personal support to complete your journey. We also offer a variety of therapies, combining the best of Eastern and Western wisdom.
The Kempinski Hotel Bahía
Ideally located less than five minutes’ drive from Estepona, and just a short drive to Puerto Banús and Marbella. The Luxury Spa at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía includes an expansive Finnish sauna, a luxurious steam room, one heated indoor pool and a state-of-art Fitness Centre. In the serene ambiance of the Spa you can experience authentic treatments with our skilled and dedicated therapists,with relaxing and invigorating options to help you really settle into your break.
La Quinta Spa
Influenced by the region’s rich Arab and Andalusian legacy, La Quinta Spa, a recently constructed spa in the heart of the Costa del Sol, offers its guests a glorious escape from the tensions of the modern world. In its 1,500m2, our spa offers you the ultimate in health and wellbeing; 8 complete treatment rooms where you can let yourself be pampered with our innovative, natural products. In the exclusive cabin-suites you can enjoy treatments for two, and in our Royal Suite you can also add an essence bath for two accompanied by a glass of cava to your treatment. Offering a variety of treatments including massages, Physiotherapy-Osteopathy, corporal and facial beauty programmes, hairdressing service and, of course, our spa circuit.
Villa Padierna Wellness
The facilities of the Medical Wellness are the perfect scenary for body and mind peaceness with almost 2000 square meter. This is an award winning spa: 2013 Best Spa (Signum Virtutis) by Seven Stars Global Luxury Awards. 2012 Best Spa (Global Distinction) by Seven Stars And Stripes. 2011 Best Spa on the Costa del Sol by Essential Marbella Magazine. 2010 Best Spa Hotel in Spain by the Spa World Magazine. 2009 Best Spa on the Costa del Sol by Essential Marbella Magazine.
Since Marbella is home to the beautiful people, it should come as no surprise that there are many first class beauty salons in the area – frequently visited by their celebrity clientele – providing all the necessary treatments to make sure you look your best.
2 popular beauty salons in Marbella that we recommend are:
Golden Tarts – Puerto Banus and La Cala
Offering celebrity inspired treatments exclusive to their salon, providing a luxury service and specific looks inspired by current trends on the catwalk. Manicurist to the stars, Liza Smith, whose client list included the likes of Miley Cyrus and Queen of Style, Mrs Beckham, is now working with Golden Tarts to bring celebrity inspired treatments to Marbella.
The Nail Palace – Marbella
The Nail Place Marbella has been established since 1993. The salon is located in the luxury area of Puerto Banus / Nueva Andalucia. They offer a full range of beauty and nail treatments with creative nail art designs on acrylic, gel, fibre/silk wrap extensions to full spa manicure and pedicure. Hair cut, Hair coloring/highlights, Spray tanning, LED non-peroxide teeth whitening, HD Brows, waxing, semi permanent lashes, Botox and fillers are also available at the salon. The Nail Place Marbella lets you switch off and pamper with highly skilled technicians providing top treatments and nail products to meet your every day need.
When it comes to the beauty stakes Marbella has a lot of competition – you have to look your best at all times. If you want to keep that billionaire or billionaire boyfriend from straying then you may occasionally need a nip & tuck. Marbella is fast becoming the go-to destination for those seeking minor beauty procedues.
2 beauty clinics we recommend are:
Ocean Clinic Marbella is one of the most modern clinics on the Costa Del Sol. They offer you the complete range of the most advanced plastic & cosmetic surgery techniques. Treatments include facelifts, necklifts, ear reshaping, nose reshaping, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breat augmentation & breast enlargement, tummy tucks, liposuction, scar revisions, botox and much more – all delivery by the expert Medical Director Dr Kaye and his team.
Cirumed Clinic Marbella
Cirumed Clinic Marbella is the clinic of choice for patients who want to have their surgery in the luxurious surroundings of Marbella, but who still want to receive the standards and safety of a formal academic reference department for Plastic surgery in Spain’s elite Hospital, Quiron. Offers a range of plastic surgery – arm lift, breast implants, breast reconstruction, brow lift, butt implants, butt reduction, cheek implants, chin implant, eyelid surgery, facelift and more.