New W hotel promises dune protection and profit for Marbella, say town hall officials

The strip of protected coastline will be widened to 160 metres.
The strip of protected coastline will be widened to 160 metres. / J.-L
  • The town's Tourism councillor and mayor both gave details in separate meetings of the impact on the area and the likely economic boost

Following last week's announcement in Hong Kong that the Starwood-Marriott group will open a luxury hotel in Marbella in 2021, local councillors have been explaining this week the likely impact on the town.

The low-density hotel, under the exclusive W brand, will be built on just a third of the 151,000 square metres of land alongside Real de Zaragoza beach, to the east of Marbella town towards Elviria. The total cost of the project, to be carried out by Platinum Estates, is expected to be over 200 million euros.

Amid fears over the possible environmental impact on one of the last undeveloped stretches of beach and sand dunes in the municipality, Marbella council stressed this week that the developers had committed to extra conservation measures in the dunes' ecosystem. The current sixty-metre-wide strip of protected dunes will be extended to a width of 160 metres as the developer realises the importance of well-maintained natural dunes as an asset to the hotel.

Local environmental campaigners, Pro Dunas, have expressed satisfaction at the outcome. Tourism councillor, Javier Porcuna, said that "Pro Dunas is pleased as it has found somebody with the financial means to carry out this sustainability project".

The council is also drawing up plans for a new exit and access road from the A-7 which will "also benefit the local area to the north and south of the motorway"

15 million for town hall funds

Mayor of Marbella, José Bernal, in a separate announcement on Wednesday, said that the town hall was expecting to receive 15 million euros in taxes and planning licences during the construction phase alone.

Moreover, the impact on the local economy of building the 600-bedroom hotel is expected to be high, with 600 to 700 construction jobs set to be created over the two years needed to complete it.

The mayor also gave details of the impact the announcement of the W hotel plans has had in media across the world. According to town hall figures, some 250 million television viewers across the world saw the news, including the 100 million who watch the NASDAQ channel and 75 million who watch Fox News. Between press reports in the South China Morning Post and American newspapers, the number of people who read the story is also thought to have reached 100 million.

Impact on Marbella's image

The mayor's team went on to highlight the importance of this media coverage for Marbell a and in helping encourage other potential investment. More visitors are expected from Asia and the United States as a result, markets which until now have been harder to penetrate. Bernal also hinted that another five-star hotel operator was currently studying Marbella with a view to opening.