A short 2.5 hour flight from London on the Costa del Sol is the Spanish holiday hotspot of Marbella. After a good number of visits, I’ve finally fallen for the charms of the city and I don’t mean Puerto Banus. Here is my insiders guide on the city’s hidden gems and my favourite things to do in Marbella.
Where To Stay
There is no shortage of hotels in this part of the Costa del Sol. The accommodation options cater to all budgets which is one of Marbella’s big appeals. If you’re in a position where money is no object then splurge on a suite at the Puente Romano. This luxury beach hotel boasts stunning grounds, a six senses spa, a Michelin star restaurant and oozes the character and charm of an Andalusian Village.
A favourite with Audrey Hepburn, Roger Moore and Bridgette Bardot is The Marbella Club Hotel. This is a Leading Hotels of The World establishment and is a fabulous luxury alternative. Offering guests a little more privacy, the hotel offers an extensive range of facilities including an 18-hole golf course, private riding stables and a Thalasso Wellness Spa.
Marbella has a fantastic selection of beauty salons and it’s something I have only recently tapped into. At the start of the summer, I enjoyed a glamorous beauty fix at Lashes & Go. Specialising primarily in lashes, the ladies here also provide a wonderful selection of non-eyelash related treatments including eyebrow tinting, eyebrow threading, hair removal, manicures and pedicures. The salon is gorgeous too should you need anymore tempting.
If Lashes & Go isn’t your thing then head over to Milk + Roses. Located off the main strip of the Golden Mile, Milk + Roses is something of a hidden gem. Their philosophy is “surround yourself with beauty and happiness” and the salon does precisely that. Their treatments will keep you entertained for hours and you can even flex your credit card by indulging in some retail therapy. Did someone say a new dress?
Breakfast / Brunch
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast and I’m a firm believer in starting your day as you mean to go on. One of my favourite cafes is the Organic Market & Food cafe. Not only is their food super healthy, but it’s also made fresh onsite and it’s absolutely delicious.
Rachel’s Eco Love is another firm favourite. Serving organic food only, this is one experience you’ll want to savour every minute of. The menu is pretty extensive but it works because all the dishes are incredible. Your biggest dilemma will be deciding what to order.
Where To Shop
A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without indulging in a little retail therapy and Marbella has it all. The Golden Mile is filled with some fantastic boutiques. One to look out for is Viva la Moda – this shop is known for their gorgeous kaftans and colourful beach bags which are perfect if you’re looking to add to your beach holiday wardrobe.
For jewellery and accessories head over to Link & Love in the Old Town – you’ll be hard pressed to walk out of there empty handed. Lastly don’t miss out on Spanish favourites Zara and Mango. They have a more extensive collection in Spain than a lot of UK stores and you’ll save money by buying in Euros as opposed to Sterling.
Where To Eat
One of my favourite things to do in Marbella is to embrace the food and drink scene. If you’re looking for the perfect beach bar with a view then head to Cappucino. Open from early morning until late at night, they offer a great selection of cocktails.
If it’s a quick bite that you’re after then head to the indoor food market of Abastos y Viandas. This is jam packed with locals which tells you everything you need to know.
Marbella has some fantastic restaurants in the old town. If you’re travelling during peak season then call ahead to avoid disappointment, especially if you’re seeking a dinner reservation. My favourite Old Town restaurants include Paco Jimenez (a balcony table is a must) and Momo but if you’re looking for a more romantic setting then head to The Marbella Club Grill which is located inside The Marbella Club Hotel.
One of Marbella’s biggest attributes is it’s climate so take advantage. Say yes to outdoor activities such as power walking or cycling / running along the beach and embrace al fresco drinking and dining.
Have you visited Marbella before? If so, what are your hidden gems or favourite things to do in Marbella?