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At Luxury Travel Diary we are big fans of Marbella. It is just a few hours flight from London into Malaga, and yet this destination whisks you out of the English grey and into glorious heat and sunshine, more akin to the African continent than Europe. In fact, it is often wise to travel to Marbella out of the main season. In the summer, prices are at their peak and the heat can be overwhelming. Instead, try travelling to this gorgeous enclave in May, June, September or early October for more-or-less guaranteed sunshine but less crowds and lower prices. If you are a gambler, you might even consider April and November, when the sky can still be blue and the days can still be warm enough to swim in your hotel’s outdoor pool. Of course, the weather can be a little more rainy, but with hotel prices at half of their peak rates, we think it is worth a whirl!

And where to stay in and around Marbella? Our favourite, particularly if you have kids, is the famous Marbella Club, which was also a favourite of Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Sir Lawrence Olivier. The Marbella Club has two superb pools, probably the best kids club in the world, ultra luxury rooms (we love the ones with patios where you can enjoy the evening sunshine) and lush tropical gardens. Close behind comes the Puente Romano Beach Resort with a superb two Michelin Starred restaurant and a brilliant beach restaurant right on the edge of the beach. They also have unbelievable tennis facilities, winding tropical gardens and a Six Senses Spa which is one of the best I have ever been to. My final choice is the Finca Cortesin site in the hills behind Marbella and offering a dreamy setting on a golf course with its own beach club a short drive away, in case you miss the sea.

The Marbella Club

The Marbella Club is the epitome of beachfront luxury. 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 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.

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.

There is an upper pool and a lower pool which is part of the beach club and which has a Hawaiian feel. In the evenings the “Champagne Room” bar and “The Grill” restaurant are atmospheric candlelit venues for your evening’s dining. There are also a number of other eateries to choose from during the day.

Golf at the Marbella Club is meant to be outstanding, (I don’t play), the spa has an excellent reputation and the kids club is the best on the Costa. You simply can’t beat the Marbella Club for lazing, fine dining, swimming and simply wandering around the beautiful gardens.

The Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa

The Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa resembles an Andalusian village, with 266 luxurious Mediterranean style guest rooms spread in 27 three–storey villas, among 55.000 sq. m. of lush, sub-tropical gardens, cascading from the road right down to the Mediterranean Sea.

You can’t go wrong with the rooms at the Puente Romano as they are all suites (the smallest is a large 55 sq m) with their own terrace, their own front door and reached via alfresco pathways and stairs. It is like having your very own apartment on the famous Marbella Golden Mile.

The beachside pool at the Puente Romano resort (there are a number of pools across the resort) is particularly swish with a little bridge and stylish grey wooden decking bordered by palms.

The Sea Grill restaurant, down by the seafront, is a particularly lovely setting and offers filling, freshly grilled fish and meat dishes. The hotel has eight restaurants in total, offering a wide range of cuisine from Japanese and Italian to Spanish and Arabic, in addition to the Two Star Michelin Restaurant Dani García.

Finca Cortesin

Perfectly located between Marbella and Sotogrande in the centre of the Costa del Sol, the Finca Cortesin is set on a massive 215-hectare estate. This 5-star luxury hotel features a Championship Golf Course and Jack Nicklaus golf academy, Hotel, Villas, Spa, Sports Club and Beach Club. Set in Rolling Countryside flanked by the Casares mountains.

Although the resort was recently built, it feels like a converted historic building, with a Moroccan courtyard, a stone floor from an 18th-century convent and antique doors salvaged from castles. The grounds house beautiful thousand-year old olive trees brought over from Sicily and lovingly replanted. The Spa here is superb and offers massages and collagen or caviar facials. Three mosaic tiled outdoor pools will tempt you to take a dip whilst the heated salt water indoor pool is there for the very occasional overcast day.

Rooms here are stylish and there is a beach club 1 km away which can be reached using the complimentary hotel shuttle.

The chic Blue Bar will tempt you for an after dinner drink, whilst there is a Spanish themed restaurant, the Italian restaurant Don Giovanni and Kabuki Raw where Japanese meets Mediterranean cuisine.

For more tips and hints on what to do and where to stay, take a look at My Guide Marbella which also offers an exclusive concierge service for visitors.

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.