Popular expat restaurant, The Roman Oasis, will not be reopening for business this summer, it has been announced .
The eatery, opened by flamboyant Englishman Paul Hickling over 36 years ago close to the Roman baths in Sabinillas, had in recent years only opened during July and August and was due to open again this summer.
But announcing the closure on Facebook last Tuesday, Paul, who first moved to Marbella in 1978, said: "After much soul searching and the fact that next week I'm going to be 74, I'm happy to say that I've suddenly made the decision to retire and close The Roman Oasis after 36 amazing years.
"It's been on my mind for the last few years and I've always justified re-opening but time passes rapidly and it's time to smell the roses.
"It is very fitting to close now and not do a 'last season' with all which it entails and it's nice to finish when the business was still packing them in."
He concluded his message by saying: "I know this may disappoint some of you and I would like to thank the thousands and thousands of people who walked through the gates and I hope I gave you a good time. You certainly gave me one!"
Paul opened the restaurant in 1983 after visiting the Roman baths in Sabinillas with his best friend Alan.
It was a "complete disaster" at first, he said, and was losing money for the first few years. However, the restaurant went on to become an unbridled success and gave Paul so many amusing anecdotes that four years ago he wrote a book about the experience.
The book features the late English chef Keith Floyd, who became a good friend of Paul's after he bought a house in Manilva.
Paul said: "Keith was a friend of mine for 10 years, and in fact, he actually spent the last six weeks of his life here in my house, and then he went back to England and a month later he died.
"He finished his last book in my courtyard here. He was a great character, an incredible chef, but an absolute nightmare sometimes."
Paul, a father of three, now plans on "playing golf badly" and travelling more during his retirement.
He added: "I've had an absolute blast during these 36 amazing years. Not many restaurants have lasted that long on the coast."
For more information about Paul's book, visit www.romanoasismanilva.com