The Marbella Club is the epitome of beachfront luxury. It basks in more than 300 days of sunshine a year and enjoys the rare European micro-climate that enables short sleeves in the winter and outdoor swimming and sunbathing from March to November. Drive through the pantheon style arch at the entrance to this iconic hotel and you drive into a slice of tropical beach-side paradise on the Marbella coastline.
The history of the Marbella Club is a glamorous story. In the 1940’s an eccentric aristocrat and playboy called Ricardo Soriano Marques De Ivanrey, got into conversation with one of Andalusia’s landowners. The landowner rhapsodized about the charms of the Mediterranean life and Soriano became hooked on the idea of a place in the sun and, without even visiting the area, bought the finca El Rodeo near Marbella. Having heard so much about life on the shores of the Mediterranean from his cousin Soriano, Prince Max decided to take a drive his charcoal-burning Rolls Royce Phantom down from his palace to see it for himself. His son, Prince Alfonso, returned the following year to buy this rural 180,000 square metre enclave. Santa Margarita, the old finca, became the family’s Mediterranean hideaway. The young Prince wanted to fashion the finca into a hotel, and after visiting motels in America, the embryo of the Marbella Club was opened in 1954. Since then the much expanded version of the now infamous Marbella Club has had recurring guests that include Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Sir Lawrence Olivier.
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive is how perfectly manicured the beautiful grounds are. The tropical trees and flourishing bourgenvilla that clad the whitewashed spanish style buildings are almost LEGO perfect. You are immediately whisked through a cool chapel style hall and into reception for check in. Then the friendly concierge will drive you and your luggage to your room in a golf cart.
Many of the rooms at the Marbella club sit in out buildings, reached via a short golf cart drive and then winding paths that intertwine between the buildings right down to the sea. The fact that the rooms are so spread out means that each block has its own garden area and is beautifully secluded beneath the trees. Styled by Jean-Pierre Martel and Kamini Ezralow, the rooms are chic. I booked a delux double and was upgraded a level with Leaders Club Unlimited to a spacious Junior suite with white walls mixed with high end oatmeal furnishings. A small sofa, perfect for lounging on had been placed next to terrace doors that you could throw open to enjoy your patio. My patio lead directly onto the lawn, and you could walk directly across this lawn to the pool. Perfect! The finish in the rooms is excellent and they feel brand new. Little touches like the under floor heating under the huge marble bathrooms, superbly comfortable beds and sound proofed walls and ceilings made this the perfect place for an excellent nights sleep.
From my room you could walk over to the upper pool that was a standard rectangle design with plenty of comfy loungers. By the start of November, this pool was a little cold, but salt water outdoor pool at the beach club was heated (and there is also a warm little paddling pool for kids) so I thoroughly enjoyed a dip even though it was November. The beach club itself has a Hawaiian look to it. The bar-restaurant had a huge thatched roof and tables & chairs spilling out onto the patio around the pool.
Bar & Food
In the morning I chose to take a room service breakfast out on my patio. During the day I found enough to do swimming and strolling up the seafront walking to Puerto Banus for some shopping. I didn’t like the opposing walk into Marbella to the East as Marbella town itself seemed to have an unappealing town centre full of rather cheap and nasty looking beach cafes.
In the evening the “Champagne Room” bar and “The Grill” restaurant were atmospherically candlelit. The bar had quite vivid and artistic decor and in November the roaring fire gave it a wonderful atmosphere. The restaurant was also busy, probably due to the chefs excellent reputation, the meal was outstanding. The ambiance was romantic and ever so pretty looking out upon the beautifully lit gardens. Inside, candle lit tables made the place feel cosy. The staff in the restaurant were a delight, friendly whilst remaining professional with excellent recommendations. I would by choice have spent every evening enjoying the delights of The Grill’s extremely tasty menu.
Golf is meant to be outstanding, (I don’t play), the spa is meant to be excellent and the kids club has the best reputation on the Costa, so if you want to leave this extensive resort there is plenty to do. Disappointingly I can’t find a thing to criticise about this wonderful hotel. I highly recommend staying, lazing, fine dining, swimming and simply wandering around the beautiful gardens at the Marbella Club. I left a piece of my heart behind in this Spanish slice of paradise, which I will be back this year to collect!
Being out of season in October, the weather remained hot, almost 25’C most days, but the resort was quiet so we had all the pools (The main resort pool and the beach club pool) to ourselves and we spent most of our time in and out of the saltwater beach club pool as it was warm!
How to Get There
Fly into Malaga, just 3 hours from the UK. Transfers to/from Marbella, are approximately 60 euros for up to three people by taxi, but are more expensive if arranged through the hotel. There are plenty of taxis waiting outside the airport that you can pick up for this short transfer.
Join Leaders club. In midsummer it may be worth joining unlimited for $1,200 and a guaranteed room upgrade and an amenity. This hotel is generous with upgrades out of season, but in season, unless you are a regular guest, they have every right not to upgrade you at all.
Out of season, joining standard leaders club for $150 will usually suffice and will get you an upgrade and an amenity.
If you are feeling cheeky and energetic, bed hoping does pay with Leading Hotels Club. You could book 3 nights here (= 1 stay credit) then 2 in the Puente Romano which is also Leading hotels (= 1 stay credit) and then another 3 at the Marbella Club to finish with (= 1 stay credit) earning you 3/4 of a free night from your 8 night stay. If you stay at the Marbella Club all 8 nights you will only earn a single stay credit.
If you intend to book direct, drop me an email as our partner agent offers cashback for all Leading Hotels of the World hotels whilst retaining your Leaders Club perks.