Travel / 24 September, 2019 / Charlotte Pearl
The Marbella Club glitters with sunshine and history. It is here, in 1954, Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg fell in love with a rustic beach paradise and the foundations of the Marbella Club Hotel were born. It has evolved substantially from its humble origins of a few rooms clustered about a patio to now include 115 rooms and suites and 15 individually designed 2-6 bedroom villas.
Somehow it manages to provide a spoiling experience for all the family and I mean all (with my troupe I really do cover tots to teens) set within an elegant yet simple blue and white Mediterranean aesthetic. Hidden pathways dabbled with sunshine that flickers through leafy canopies over-head, wind their way between white-walled villas tumbling with fuschia bourgonvillia. Vintage bikes accented in blue are propped artfully against the wall waiting to be ridden along the beach promenade, including chariot bikes to transport smaller members of the family.
The Marbella Club is situated in the heart of Andalusia’s ‘golden mile’ between old town Marbella and Puerto Banús. Our flights had been booked far in advance of our trip and I had chosen an early one there to maximise our time away. Somehow amid the usual chaos of hunting down missing bits of uniform I’d blithely assumed I had, in advance of the looming school term, plus madly booking in school tours as two of my children are moving school next year I hadn’t quite worked out the logistics of getting to the airport (or registered which airport it was!). It was 10 pm when I finally started packing whilst Rufus did online check-in. Our flight to Malaga was due to depart at 7.30 am the following morning…from Stansted! It was then it dawned on us this would mean leaving home at 4.30 am!
The flight did nothing to prepare us for the luxury that awaited us the moment we stepped into arrivals and were driven to the hotel. The beer-swilling (yes at 7.30 am!) stag party on the plane was soon a hazy memory! It was about a 20-minute car journey to the Marbella club from Malaga airport and we were soon being greeted by smiling faces and struck by the sense of escapism that pervades across the entire hotel. Oh…and a glass of crisp, cold champagne!
As we were rather early for check-in we went for a little stroll around the grounds. The botanical gardens are tropical with bright flowers and jaunty palm trees and I was later told that this was an influence imported from the family’s stays in Mexico.
In some ways, the hotel feels like a mini Andalusian village that rambles resplendent with all the facilities one would expect of a luxury hotel; spa, shop, kids club, delicious restaurants, gym, pool…I could go on…Yet it still retains a gentle sense of privacy, it is a place where you can go and totally switch off. Around every corner is a visual treat; hand-painted tiles and elegant furnishings in natural fibres are offset by wonderful works of art. The second-generation owners since 2011 have carefully and sympathetically expanded it whilst maintaining the original ethos.
Our bedroom was a lovely sanctuary; a large bed to sink into, marble-finished bathroom, a bowl brimming with delicious fruit (always so much tastier abroad), Nespresso machine, huge tv and glass sliding doors leading onto a sun-soaked patio. Bliss.
Whilst waiting for our room to be ready we wound our way down the pathway that led towards the beach and found ourselves in MC Beach a ‘chiringuito shack’ as it’s referred to on their website but the word shack doesn’t do justice to the wonderful food that it serves. Sitting there looking out to the ocean, eating delicious fresh fish that had just been roasted on the spit we felt our tiredness disappear. London seemed very far away!
That evening we ate at the MC Cafe. It was a lovely mix of people, some incredibly dressy, some more bohemian beach chic and a great buzzy atmosphere, all wrapped up in twinkling fairy lights. The hotel has a gentle yet persuasive leaning towards wellness and the menu was annotated to indicate health options or warnings for allergies. I chose a healthy green soup and the seared sesame encrusted tuna (i know…fish again but I love it and I’m also not particularly good at cooking it at home!) Rufus had buffalo mozzarella followed by chicken satay and rice. Safe and delicious too!
In the interest of research, we obviously had to try every eating option! The following day after a stroll along the beachside promenade to see the Salvador Dali statues on the Avenida del Mar in Marbella town, a swim in the Mediterranean Sea, and an exhausting lie down on the chic sun hotel loungers that line the sand, we ambled to the beach club for lunch. What a treat we had in store. We were slightly over-awed by the variety of food available in the buffet, including lobster, crayfish, prawns, fillet steak and amazing salads. Our waiter, realising our dilemma (I’m hoping he’d witnessed it before) suggested that he prepare a mixed grilled platter of seafood whilst we helped ourselves to whatever else we felt like. He also warned us to leave room for cheese and dessert…and he was right. The chocolate mousse was worth it!
My favourite evening was when we went to the Summer Bar followed by the Grill Restaurant. It was the kind of warm summer evening that holidays memories are made of. A pianist provided the soundtrack to the night and my champagne cocktail was one of the best I’ve ever had. Rufus’s negroni was apparently superb too. I think our conversation went a little downhill afterwards though!
The Grill Restaurant is incredibly romantic…swathed in the glow of candles, formal white table cloths are laid amid tropical greenery. And the food was simply wonderful.
This is a lovely option after having a dip in the saltwater pool. The food is great. Especially the burger and chips!
Breakfast really started the day in style …there is an ‘egg menu’, avocado, fresh sweet fruit, yoghurts, healthy toppings such as granola, pollen, chia seeds, or a cooked option and even pol Roger champagne should you wish!
The Marbella Club has a holistic approach to health and well being should you wish to indulge…through delicious, fresh, healthy food, healing ocean waters, spa and fitness offerings you feel totally rejuvenated.
Rufus and I decided we would try the yoga. Well, I did and cajoled…maybe bullied…Rufus into doing it too. Except it wasn’t what either of us was expecting. For this was ‘silks yoga’ that involved hanging upside down, suspended in a type of large (and strong) silk scarf tied between two poles, surrounded by the glorious botanical gardens. Our teacher was lovely and very helpful and it definitely stretched out our backs. And worked our stomach muscles when we looked at the photos later!
We tried the sleep ritual massage (I probably shouldn’t admit to this but I always get my knickers in a twist! Literally when you are given those little paper pants wondering which way round they go…Rufus has never been given them before and was quite perturbed!) However, this problem overcome, the therapy was very, very relaxing and sleep-inducing as the name implies. There was nothing for it but to pass out on the sun loungers on the beach!
The wonderful thing about the Marbella Club is that it offers something for every age group. The Kids Club is located on the site of Prince Alfonso’s original family home. The activities are inspired by nature, creativity and imagination. So wonderfully removed from iPads and TV. I love the idea of the children discovering the gorgeous herb garden on the Ultimate Marbella Club Tots Sensory Trail, smelling and identifying different plants, but they can also learn to make gazpacho, flamenco yoga, and up-cycle art too!
Then at the end of a tiring day, there is warm milk and a bedtime story based on traditional Spanish tales. What’s more babysitting is provided care of Peter Rabbit Childcare Services so parents can relax too!
Older children will love the tennis, (at nearby sister hotel Puente Romano) surfing, kayaking and golf!
There really is something for everyone! We returned from our stay feeling completely rejuvenated, spoilt with delicious fresh food and treatments and ready to tackle the new school year! The perfect holiday… One week into term and I’m ready to go again!
For reservations, please visit MarbellaClub.com