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food & drink

Clubland

The definition of a club is a place where people of common interests may gather together. But clubs vary from country to country and what may be referred to as a club in Britain may not be the same in Spain.

The answer to the question "When is a club not a club?" could be The Marbella Club.

A friend phoned me after checking in. "Guess where I'm staying?" he said, "The Marbella Club! I walked in just as if I was a member and nobody stopped me."

Apparently referring to a hotel or a swanky restaurant as a club conveys an air of exclusivity and keeps out time wasters. So maybe it's not a bad idea as long as we steer clear of authentic clubs like those in Pall Mall and St James's.

There are a variety of 'clubs' on the Coast, most in Marbella, and they can be very good, whether genuine or not.

Where once the Swedish Forestry Centre stood in Río Verde near Puerto Banús, a transformation has taken place. Previously a vacation centre for Swedish state employees, the new Boho Club is now one of the most interesting boutique hotels in the area.

The original chalets have been converted into luxury suites around the pool area, and best of all there is a Michelin class restaurant at very un-Michelin prices.

Indeed, both the food and the wines are exceptional value, particularly as the chef is Diego del Rio, previously at Michelin-starred El Lago in Calahonda.

The wine list has been selected by Jorge Ordoñez. Well worth the detour, as they say.