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The Insider Guide to a Marbella 'staycation'

The Marbella old town.
The Marbella old town.
  • For residents of southern Spain, the Mediterranean sun continues to shine, making it the perfect time to enjoy all the pleasures of the coast

The summer may be drawing to a close for many, yet for residents of southern Spain, the Mediterranean sun continues to shine, making it the perfect time to enjoy all the pleasures of the coast, yet without the high-season crowds. Here’s some inspiration.

STAY:

Westin La Quinta Golf Resort and Spa – Benahavís

The La Quinta Golf Resort and Spa is now back as a Westin property, and it has never looked better. This family-friendly resort has been upgraded, with newly-designed guest rooms, smart lobby with vertical garden, and a stylish new ‘Sunsa’ restaurant, with striking design and a menu of healthy Mediterranean dishes.

The golf course, designed by three-time World Champion and Ryder Cup champion Manuel Piñero, is worth rediscovering this season. In October, there’s even a chance to play alongside golf professional, Thomas Bjørn. The seasonal offer includes a cocktail reception, dinner attended by the 21-time professional winner, and then the next day a golf clinic as well as an 18-hole round of golf.

If golf is not your thing, then maybe the resort’s ‘Heavenly Spa Sprunch’ would be appealing. Enjoy the spa’s thermal circuit and relaxing environment, followed by a superfoods brunch at the clubhouse.

There’s an award-winning kids’ club too, if you fancy a night away with the all the family.

Westin La Quinta spa.

Westin La Quinta spa.

Villa Romana – Benahavís

Why not live the life of Marbella’s super-rich, if only for a few days? The exclusive enclaves of La Zagaleta and El Madroñal are where one finds some of Europe’s most luxurious homes - many of which are available for short-term holiday rentals. Villa Romana is a unique ‘wellness villa’ in the hills above Marbella – a traditional-style Andalusian hacienda with its own private spa, including sauna, Turkish bath, treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools and tranquil gardens. It’s an original choice for a wellness break with visiting friends or family, offering all the comforts of a boutique hotel yet with the privacy of a private home.

EAT:

Amàre Club – Marbella

The Amàre in Marbella represents a fresh style of adult-only hotel, where visitors and locals can enjoy a unique vibe of an urban beach club, with luxe, eclectic design, all-day dining, upscale bar and cool music.

At the heart of the property’s offering is the Amàre Club, a Marbella beach club with three zones: Amàre Beach, where you can expect sunbeds with waiter service, as well as the beach club restaurant with al fresco dining of summer flavours in sun or shade; Amàre Pool, with Bali-style day beds, waiter service and refreshing pool; and finally, the Amàre Lounge, a contemporary, designer space for drinks, Mediterranean cuisine, and live entertainment.

Amàre hotel.

Amàre hotel.

For extra pampering, visit the Germaine de Capuccini spa, on the lower ground floor, and choose the ‘Aromas of Andalusia’ massage.

For a cool, urban ‘AfterWork’ vibe, go up to the Belvue Rooftop Bar, a glass space on the ninth floor, surrounded by terraces with exceptional, 360 views, that take in Marbella’s old town, La Concha mountain, the Sierra Blanca, and, of course, the Mediterranean.

Messina Restaurant - Marbella

Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants on the coast, the Michelin-starred Messina is the choice for innovative, culinary creativity. Chef Mauricio, his wife Pía -the maître d’ and sommelier-, together with their highly professional team assure a memorable experience.

La Plaza - Marbella

This gastro courtyard, at the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa has evolved into one of the most exciting dining destinations on the coast. New innovations include ‘El Chiringuito’, the stylish, rustic-luxe beach house restaurant and Nobu, the internationally-renowned contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar - the first in Spain.

DO:

Charter a yacht

Arrive at the end-of-season closing parties at Nikki Beach or Ocean Club in style aboard your own yacht; head out to the strait to watch dolphins and whales; sail to Morocco for lunch; or head to Gibraltar for a VIP-style shopping trip – it’s all possible when you charter a motor yacht or sailing boat for the day or just a few hours.

Marbella boat charter.

Marbella boat charter.

Take a hike – Sierra Blanca

The iconic La Concha mountain is what contributes to Marbella’s privileged microclimate, offering a dramatic backdrop to the resort town. It also makes for a fun day out. Take the road up to Refugio de Juanar where you can park and join the hiking trails. There are family-friendly walking routes through the Sierra Blanca that take you to a mirador viewpoint over the coast; or for the more adventurous and fit, take the trail to the summit of La Concha. It takes about three hours each way, so wear hiking gear and pack your backpack accordingly.

Dance the night away - Marbella

Throughout September there are ‘AfterWork’ drinks and tunes at the Belvue Rooftop Bar at the Amàre, as well as themed nights at the Amàre Lounge including a Cuban night (1 September); DJ and saxophone (2nd and 9th), DJ and electric guitar (1st and 8th), beach flamenco (8th) and an ‘Acrobatic Night’ (15th). All dates are provisional - check the website for details.

Get on your bike – San Pedro

An early morning bike ride along the ‘paseo maritimo’ coastal promenade from Marbella to Puerto Banús and on towards San Pedro is a real pleasure off-season. There is a good choice of well-reviewed push bike rental stores in Marbella and San Pedro that can offer half and full-day bike rental, including helmet. Enjoy breakfast along the way or a rewarding cold beer in a chiringuito.

Rediscover the old town

Marbella’s historic ‘casco antiguo’ is often a place to avoid during high season, but once the crowds go it again regains its charm, a place of characteristic narrow streets lined with bougainvillea, and garden squares with fountains. Its home to some charming boutique hotels and B&Bs, and some excellent restaurants (including the award-winning Skina), tapas bars and indie-style boutiques. It’s the Andalusian village of Marbella that’s often over-looked.

Canyoning

Gain unprecedented access to gorges and canyons of the area by joining a TeamXtreme canyoning group, led by an experienced and qualified guide. Families and beginners can enjoy the beauty of the river gorge of Benahavís while those with even more appetite for abseils, climbs, jumps and swimming can take a tour to the famous Río Verde, only accessible with a guide.