Marbella
Overview

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!

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

DINING 

On the top of any list you’ll find Puente Romano’s flagship eatery Dani Garcia, the namesake resto of the superstar chef himself. The dramatic dining room with lush hanging gardens and walls of glass sets the tone for the magical culinary experience that will follow. Head to the hotel’s hip tapas spot Bibo for a taste of the legendary Dani Garcia in a more casual setting. Say yes to sushi at Kabuki RAW, Finca Cortesin’s ultra contemporary Japanese restaurant that’s by far one of the best on the coast. Up there with Kabuki Raw, is Puente Romano’s high-concept and sophisticated sushi restaurant UNI, where the atmosphere is all the rage and the sake frequently flows past four in the morning. A glamorous crowd flocks to the chic chiringuito MC Beach at Marbella Club, where you’ll find plates that scream a Spanish seaside holiday like fresh salads, grilled-in-front-of you meats, traditional paella and just-caught fish. For a more romantic dinner at Marbella Club, get a table for two at the candlelit garden resto The Grill. Sit next to the savvy Spaniards at the hidden gem Aurora Beach, a must for lunch. Secluded along a quiet coral beach, the chic Café Del Mar is a laid-back spot that will surprise your tastebuds in the best way possible. Tucked away in a charming courtyard in the small La Virginia neighborhood you’ll find the romantic eatery La Tienda, one of Marbella’s best. Transport yourself to Cannes with a dining-meets-nightlife experience in Marbella at La Sala Banús. The surprisingly delicious menu features international and classic Spanish dishes, while the atmosphere is a full on party. But if you’re feeling more F. Scott Fitzgerald, in the heart of Puerto Banus you’ll find El Gran Gatsby, a supper club & lounge bar with panoramic views of the port that serves mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine in a chic atmosphere. Escape from the glitz and the glam at the discreet and only twenty-seat Paco Jimenez, where the local Iberian plates are palate-pleasers. Experience a stylish scene and an electric atmosphere at Nobu Restaurant Marbella, the first Nobu to open in Spain, located at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa. The new restaurant will introduce Nobu's world-renowned cuisine as well as specialty plates inspired by Marbella itself. Don't forget to visit The Nobu Bar and Terrace for the coolest vibes! 

 
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NIGHTLIFE

Inspired by Studio 54, the sophisticated La Suite at Puente Romano is the definition of late summer nights catering to the most fashionable party-goers on the coast. La Terrace is the newest outdoor addition at La Suite, which opened just in time for high-season and can only mean one thing: late summer nights just got even later. Mariah Carey and Naomi Campbell’s favored party palace Olivia Valère is Marbella’s version of the Byblos' Les Caves du Roy in Saint-Tropez, where cabanas wrapped in white drapery and stain glass walls give the feeling of a beach club by night, with hand-painted tiles and endless stone details that can be a bit much on the eyes after a magnum of Dom.  If you think you spot Kate Moss at this Arabian-themed playground—it’s most likely not the magnum of Dom—your eyes are likely seeing straight. Inside the showy villa with an all-white facade, the over-the-top Tibu lures a flashy ex-pat crowd as it entertains with rotating DJ’s, acrobatics and an occasional stage show. There’s an unspoken rule where less is more when it comes to dressing, so save your most revealing silk dress for a night at Tibu. 

 

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Explore

Explore

When in Marbella, beach is the word. The many beaches and beach clubs in Marbella make waves in their own right — whether you prefer champagne showers and International DJ’s or serenity on a sun bed with sangria in hand, you can get both and everything in between. The reigning princess of beach clubs, Nikki Beach’s Marbella outpost is a hotspot for Spanish jetset looking to dance the day away. Expect a splash of socializing and showers of champagne. It may be one of the largest, but exclusivity is the name of the game at the avant-garde Ocean Club. With 9,000-square-meters of style, luxury and glamorous indulgence — Ocean Club lures as the chilled-out ambience slowly turns to the liveliest place in Marbella with music, dancers and all the entertainment one could want. One of the first ultra-exclusive beach clubs on the coast, the not-so-zen La Sala by the Sea (formerly Buddha Beach Banus) is a party pad for the Spanish stars. Whether you go for the butler & champagne service or the on-site spa, bring your best beach bod as this place is notoriously popular with players from Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn FC and Seville CF who aren't shy about showing-off…  A more local vibe that’s a little bit less showy than the others, Tattoo Geisha Day Club at Sisu Boutique Hotel is a gem for the party-minded and a pool scene more popular with the UK celeb-set. An all-day sanctuary for the spiritually evolved and fun-inclined, Purobeach marries beach club and yoga culture that turns up as the day goes on. When you’re in need of a detox during the day, there are plenty of non-party playas.

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The most exclusive of them all, Playa Nagüeles is the best for people watching and celeb-spotting on the Golden Mile. Once the go-to for the jetsetters in the sixties Playa Nueva Andalucía attracts all the glitz and the glamour a stones throw from Puerto Banus  Located near the center of Marbella, Bounty Beach (Playa del Cable) is one of the youngest and the hippest with its chilled out music and a relaxed atmosphere. Mix R&R with some culture at Playa de Guadalmina in San Pedro de Alcántara: the best beach for water sports is also located near the historic Roman baths Las Bóvedas (the Vaults). For a family-friendly beach, let Playa Puerto Banús be your go-to. 

When you’re not chartering a boat, teeing off, hiking la Concha Mountain, riding horses on the beach, or exploring the charming Old Town (Casco Antiguo) — take a day trip to the surrounding cultural jewels: the city of Granada and The Alhambra Palace. Even before reaching the city of Granada, beauty radiates as the landscape transforms into a lush hilltop paradise. There’s lots to do in the charming city (shopping, duh!), but no trip to Granada is complete without seeing the stunning Alhambra Palace. Other day trips may be your calling be it to Sevilla, Cordoba, Malaga, Ronda, Gibraltar, but better yet be tempted by Tangier and make it to Morocco as it’s just two hours away!  

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SHOP

Where to Shop

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Marbella and shopping go hand in hand, as few places have this good retail therapy with boutiques that are open until 10pm. Stroll through the streets of Old Town to stumble along some of the coolest finds like Julietta Concept Store, a multi-space boutique featuring new Spanish talents. Vintage Déjà Vu will fill any void for vintage treasures. At the poshest stretch Puerto Banús, you’ll find the big-name brands with some boutique finds dotted along the way. A carefully curated edit of both established luxury brands and handpicked emerging talents, Elite is a must for anyone who loves a concept store. Just steps away from Puerto Banús, Nina B. carries a cool mix of bohemian, urban chic and rock clothing. For all-white, light linen beachwear, Blanc du Nil is the spot. Pick up some Egyptian cotton dresses and you may just have a #twinning moment with the former first lady Michelle Obama who paid a visit in 2010. In Laguna Village, an up-market and stylish shopping arcade, you’ll find cute beachwear boutiques. Stock up on cool caftans, fun accessories and swimwear labels you most likely haven’t seen before (along with ones you have!) at AmirA, Elle Morgan and Sonia Troyano

Shop the Destination

Kayu Embroidered Woven Raffia Clutch $205.00
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Marysia Waikiki lace-up linen mini dress $405.00
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Rye Dazzle striped bikini $215.00
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Lisa Marie Fernandez Balloon-sleeve off-the-shoulder linen dress
$695.00
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Marte Frisnes Marlowe gold-plated earrings $142.00
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Gianvito Rossi Versilia block-heel leather sandals
$675.00
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Sunday Somewhere Valentine Bronze Sunglasses $290.00
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Zimmermann Jasper Crochet Triangle Bikini $210.00
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Jennifer Fisher Classic Round Gold-plated Hoop Earrings $295.00
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Epherma Gingham Bandeau Bikini Top $140.00
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Epherma Gingham High-Rise Bikini Breifs
$90.00
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Miguelina Ines cutout printed cotton midi dress $395.00
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Self-Portrait One-shoulder cotton-blend mini dress $475.00
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Nannacay Exclusive Baby Roge pompom-embellished woven raffia tote $170.00
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Illesteva Mykonos round-frame gold-tone mirrored sunglasses $175.00
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Johanna Ortiz Pearly King Bikini Top $375.00
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Johanna Ortiz Pearly King Bikini Bottom $150.00
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Zimmermann Divinity Wheel broderie-anglaise shorts
$350.00
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Zimmermann Divinity Wheel broderie-anglaise top $495.00
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Dolce & Gabbana Polka Dot High Heel Sandals $995.00
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Kalita Brigitte silk-habotai maxi dress $578.00
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Ashlyn’d Busy Bee Acrylic Clutch $450.00
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Mallarino Ziggy Armour Ring $288.00
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Rosantica Arlecchino tasseled beaded gold-tone earrings $205.00
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Matteau The Square Swimsuit $280.00
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Dodo Bar Or Ruffle-trimmed printed silk-georgette mini wrap skirt $380.00
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Zimmermann Mercer Flutter Frill Shorts $370.00
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Zimmermann Mercer Flutter Frill Top $310.00
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TOME Ruffled gingham jacquard skirt $1,195.00
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TOME Gingham Jacquard Bra Top $525.00
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Sophia Webster Juno pompom-embellished suede sandals $540.00
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Anine Bing off-the-shoulder dress $199.00
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Cecilia Prado Exclusive Celine Pants $258.00
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Alix Bennet off-the-shoulder stretch-jersey bodysuit $245.00
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Dolce & Gabbana Printed cotton-gauze pareo $445.00
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Oscar Tiye Caroline Heel $680.00
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Ashley Pittman Muziki Chunky Link Bracelet, Multi
$495.00
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Missoni Mare Striped One Piece Swimsuit
$695.00
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Jonathan Simkhai Asymmetric striped silk crepe de chine dress $795.00
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Jonathan Simkhai One-shoulder tie-front satin jumpsuit $990.00
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Aquazzura Harlow embellished velvet platform sandals $950.00
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Rebecca Vallance Beltrán Pleated Stretch-crepe Midi Dress $510.00
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Truss Small Crossbody $185.00
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