If trash TV has any lesson to teach us, it is most definitely no carbs before Marbs (thanks, TOWIE)! While there are probably more balanced ways to get a healthy beach body, we have no doubt you’ll want to hit the gym, the track, or the mat before your trip to the south of Spain’s most glamorous (and most expensive) destination — Marbella. The sun just seems to glisten brighter on the Costa del Sol, perhaps because it is reflected back by so many shiny surfaces (think skating-rink-sized diamonds, wristwatches worth a mortgage, and Bentley windshields). Loads of ladies have graced The Golden Mile with their presence—Olivia Palermo, Alessandra Ambrosio and Paris Hilton among them—but no one quite loves Marbella like the sun–deprived Brits (it’s a who's who of UK VIPS from Kate Moss to Jude Law). However, the rich and famous don’t only like to visit this seaside sanctuary, many pay big bucks for vacation villas to call their own. Amidst the enclaves of Middle Eastern princes and the European aristocracy, smoking Spaniard Antonio Banderas is often in residence, and while everyone’s favorite 007 (Sean Connery, of course!) has sold his property, mega–wealthy Simon Cowell has moved in. Sound like the company you’d like to keep? Park your boat in Puerto Banus and slide up to Nikki Beach, it's Marbs’ moment now!
If the see-and-be-seen scene isn’t your cup of sangria, there are loads of highbrow activities to feed your cultural appetite. It’s a lovely drive to The Alhambra, an architectural masterpiece and an essential bucket list check for design enthusiasts. Additionally, it is only a hop, skip, and a jump across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier, an exotic Moroccan seaside city. Yet, you don’t have to go far for a sophisticated affair. Locally, you can indulge in Michelin-starred cuisine (Marbella-born Dani Garcia’s namesake resto is a must), hit the links at Finca Cortesin for a rarefied round of golf, take a stroll down the Dali statue strewn Avenida del Mar or book tickets to Starlite, a month-long music festival featuring entertainers as diverse as Elton John, Jason Derulo and Disney in Concert. The Old Town is as pretty as a picture and the city’s historic casinos and hotels (including the iconic Marbella Club) have long been loved by classic tastemakers from Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant to the Rat Pack boys. Now that you have the destination download, it is time to plan, pack and party. The dress code is putting on the Ritz and going for the glitz, so dump your jewelry drawer into your suitcase and call it a day. On second thought, you will need some clothing - but not much of it. What about a sexy Self-Portrait dress or an Alexis jumpsuit for a night on the town? There is no aversion to designer duds here, so grab your Gucci bag and strap up those Dolce sandals to amp up your outfits. On the beach, choose a backless Kalita cover-up and toss it over a metallic bikini - Norma Kamali will do the trick. A cat-eye sunglasses style (such as a fabulous Fendi or Dior pair) will nod to the glamour of days gone by while you are fully present in this summer’s most sizzling spot. Vamonos a Marbella!