I’m not often lost for words. However, upon entering and staying at the stunning Marbella Club in Spain last weekend, we were both for once, left speechless. Have a little scroll, and you’ll see what I mean…
We were so looking forward to escaping drizzly London for the hot Mediterranean, and Marbella is no stranger to us; my husband spent nearly every summer out there since since a young age at his family property, where I’ve since joined him plentiful of times – as well as frequently popping over whilst I was studying in Barcelona. Marbella, too often associated as ‘Marbs’ here in the UK, with a heavy party scene and flash-the-cash attitude – hasn’t always had the best reputation, more so in the recent years. This is such a shame, as there’s so much more to the place than clubbing and bachelor/-ette parties! Luckily for us, at Marbella Club, a beachfront boutique resort with the character of a classic whitewashed Andalusian village – you feel like you’be stepped into a time warp, taking you back to an era of sophisticated, yet understated glamour, all set in jasmine-scented bloom and bird-filled subtropical gardens…
We instantly felt at home at this place – and although it’s a very luxurious and exclusive establishment – everything about it felt so warm and welcoming…
I loved the interiors; a mix of traditional and colonial elements, with the additions of more contemporary and luxe details, such as vibrant animal prints and modern furnishings.
Marbella Club has 37 guest rooms and 78 suites – with some spaces including outdoor terraces overlooking the gardens or with a sea view, and each room or villa individually named (ours was La Yedra, meaning The Ivy).
The spacious room we stayed in was beautifully decorated – classically chic, with a contemporary twist… So bright and airy, yet with lots of modern furnishing and accessories. In other words, right up my street, decor wise.
One of the reasons for coming to Marbella Club, was to try out their relatively new Wellness Programme. Their aim with this is to provide an all-encompassing wellness experience based on Mediterranean principles, healthy cuisine, and activities – led by a team of professionals within medical, holistic, therapeutic and thalasso therapy treatments and methods – leaving your holiday feeling re-freshed, energised and a few pounds lighter (which is definitely not always the case when embarking on a vacay).
We started off with a light lunch at the Garden Pool, one of five of Marbella Club’s restaurants … Throughout our stay, we decided to test out parts of the Wellness Programme (you can decide yourself how much, and what you would like to include as part of your stay) – whilst still enjoying the rest of the hotel offerings in terms of the cuisine and all the facilities.
Fed, watered and ready to hit LA PLAYA!
What I particularly loved about this hotel, was the spacious and grand feeling of it – yet everything had that homely, rustic and traditional vibe throughout. Obviously, this is a resort – a family friendly one as well – both of which on paper isn’t necessarily something we would always opt for – however, this place never seemed overly crowded. With all of the private villas having their own pools, as well as two large pools for hotel guests, a private beach area, more sun loungers on the pier, as well as their beach club (the latter of which we stayed at every day), there was space for everyone – making it a much more relaxing and luxurious experience.
MC Beach was only a minute along the main promenade from the hotel, and was heavenly tranquil. With a seafood restaurant, lounge bar area, sun loungers (and actual BEDS) literally meters away from the turquoise med – we quickly settled in for our long-weekend stay…
Happy Camper with my Porter Magazine.
Only two hours on a plane from London – and we’ve (literally) arrived in paradise.
Following a 3.15am wake-up call for our red-eye flight over to Malaga – we stayed on our beds until the early evening, catching up on reading, frolicking in the sea and intermittently snoozing… Vacay made was ON.
After showering and chilling out on our terrace, we headed to dinner at the Grill (with a little pit stop at this stunning spot we discovered).
The Grill, one of the resorts more exclusive restaurants, was situated on an outside terrace – with the most romantic candlelit setting, dining under open air, surrounded by the jasmine and bougainvillea vines…
The food did not disappoint (to say the least). With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, the Grill serves a wide seafood selection from sea bass ceviche, tuna tartare, grilled dover sole, sautéed king prawns – to more meat heavy dishes such as carpaccio and the best cuts of steak. In general, and set aside from the Wellness Programme – all the restaurants had so many fresh and healthy food offerings – which can (surprisingly) be a rarity when it comes to hotel cuisine.
We had the choice of opting in or out of the wellness menu during every meal – and both were equally as delicious. These sautéed king prawns, with sun blushed tomatoes and rocket (part of the Wellness Menu), were so succulent and tasty…
But it was hard to resist the sweet temptations… Sam was loving the crispy apple tart with cinnamon ice cream, which I might have had a spoonful (or two) of…
Following an early night, I felt re-charged and ready for my morning Yoga session.
Stretched and re-freshed from my yoga, we hit the breakfast buffet!
Again – not surprisingly – this wasn’t any kind of buffet. They had their very own juice station, where you could select from a huge array of fresh juices, and even request your very own concoction! Music to my ears.
I opted for a pure green juice, with broccoli, celery, cucumber, fennel, ginger and lemon.
After breakfast, we hit the spa. As part of the Wellness Programme, as well as being open to all guests – the hotel offer a huge array of beauty treatments and their renowned Thalasso pool experience (we had a Thalasso Circuit session every day).
Now, to this mind-blowing experience, and another highlight from the weekend… a Shower Massage. Yes, you´ve got it – a full-body massage with an algae mask, under jets of seawater. The idea is your body will open the pores from the water, letting the algae penetrate the skin more deeply. I’be never had anything like it (and probably never will again).
After our spa session, we were ready for lunch at the legendary MC Beach Club restaurant, only steps away from the sea, renowned for their pretty extraordinary buffet. This is no regular affair, let me tell you that.
To be honest, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. With a huge selection of the highest-quality ingredients; exquisite salads, grilled-in-front-of-you meats and fish, traditional paella, freshly caught fish (that lobster though…), with flavours from Europe, Asia, Lebanon and Spain – this is probably the best buffet we’ve ever had.
Set outside by the hotel’s main pool area and within this plant filled gazeebo, it was a heavenly lunch to remember.
We spent the afternoon catching up with Sam’s family who happened to be over that week too. The temperature was perfect throughout, and the afternoon and early evening was a welcoming break from the soaring mid-day highs.
Another beautiful day in paradise, on our way to MC Café for dinner; another elegant, yet casual dining experience. Although there’s no denying, this hotel is very luxurious – we never once got the feeling of being underdressed, and other than the Grill restaurant (where the men have to wear trousers), you could come and go as you wish.
I jumped at the chance of wearing my favourite dress of the summer…
I had sashimi and an asian noodle dish with tempura prawns, and Sam was happily tucking into his goats cheese salad and wood-fired pizza. We also had some incredible wine and Prosecco (the sommelier from the night before at the Grill, was so attentive that he came over and personally served us the same wine we had yesterday!). Top marks for service.
The next day, we spent the morning exploring the magical gardens and the many secluded little spots of the resort. You could easily get lost here (in a good way).
After a few hours on the beach, I popped over to Wellness centre for a Psych-K Life Session. After reading up on this treatment prior to arriving, I was intrigued. It´s aim is for your therapist to help connect emotional integration therapy focused on the neutralization of blockages, traumas and fears, connecting with your sub conscious mind. The method is popular for tackling any conflicts (which you might not know that you have), aches and pains, and re-gaining a sense of balance and relaxation…
I was left pretty astounded from the effects of it; I have scoliosis in my spine, which gives me periods of pain in my shoulders with a lot of tension build up, and spouts of headaches and tension. The therapist guided me through body corrections via pressure points and breathing techniques, and I left feeling light, calm and utterly relaxed (and I swear to you – my shoulders have been so much better ever since).
We had lunch at MC Beach (conveniently located just behind our sun beds!) – and is the dreamiest restaurant scenario in the shape of a white & blue beach hut, serving the catch of the day, fresh salads, ceviche and sushi, sound tracked by gentle Balearic beats overlooking the Med… Life does not get much better than this.
We started off with some sashimi, but made sure to save room for the main event… Seafood PAELLA. My favourite.
We feasted and drank until the afternoon, taking in every second of our penultima day in paradise…
No holiday is complete without a Pina Colada on the beach. So good.
The hotel is really family friendly; so much so that they recently created a 5,000 square metre Kids Club. Now, this might sound like a nighmare for some (and music to the ears for others). All I can say is that we were completely blown away by it… Never have I seen such a chic play area; gated and within the most incredibly stylish setting of rustic, white washed and bohemian interior (basically, this is how I want our future summer house in Ibiza to look like!).
They offer cooking classes (using fresh ingredients from the vegetable patch), pottery and art, music and dancing, aroma classes and nature experiences. Not that we have any children of our own yet, but when we do – this is where we´re coming.
Ready for our last dinner at the resort… I picked up this gorgeous black jumpsuit from H&M in Puerto Banus the day before, and it was pretty much love at first sight (and on sale for 35 euros!). A no brainer.
On our way to our last dinner at the Grill, our favourite restaurant at the hotel…
It really was the most magical place… Don´t think we´ve ever had a more romantic dinner setting in Europe. And the food? Not so shabby either.
It was our last day, so we decided to rent some bikes from the hotel concierge, and spent the morning riding along the beach promenade; one way goes to Marbella old town, and the other direction takes you to Puerto Banus. We had a few hours to spare, so we did both, whilst lapping up the sunshine on the ride.
Ravenous after our bike ride – we had a late lunch at MC Beach Club with THAT buffet again. I could easily eat this every day (although probably not the best idea for my waistline…).
What´s a holiday, without a bit of gelato?
We spent the last few hours of our day, strolling around the resort, the beach and onto the pier (whilst seriously considering extending our holiday…).
No holiday is complete without my travel partner in crime…
Taking every last minute in before heading back to London – left feeling so happy, re-charged and incredibly fortunate to have just experienced one of the best hotels in Europe. Being a leading Mediterranean establishment, it does not surprisingly come at a price… But if you ever get the chance to stay here, or even swing by one of their restaurant if you´re in the area – it will definitely be a place you will always remember.