- Whitewashed Andalusian luxury
- Spanish seaside village
- Andalucian elegance, French insouciance
- Med-view Marbella hilltop
- Andalucian Alcazar
- Sun, sea and sierras
- Revamped royal townhouse
- Coastal old-town Andalucía
- Tasteful take on a private pensión
- Quiet Old Town backstreet
- Med chic and fabulous beaches, darling
- Coast life
- Shopping, schmoozing and sunbathing
A bustling city with 24 beaches, this Spanish hotspot has more to it than the usual Costa del Sol tourist route.
Reborn as a players’ destination, Marbella oozes old-school glam. The Costa de Sol’s classiest joint is looking spruce, its avenidas made over with palm-trees and marble pavements. Go for the exclusivity of the boutiques, the rat-pack appeal of the casinos, and the unashamed glitz of the nightlife, but don’t miss the old town, with the Plaza de los Naranjos at its heart.
Marvellously MarbellaLike its French rival, St Tropez, Marbella is reinventing its luxury tag for a new generation. Whether you’re doing yoga at the laidback Beach House in the village of La Cala, pouting and people-watching at Nikki Beach or clubbing at the exclusive Olivia Valere in Puerto Banus, it’s up to you.
- Cabs are cheap, but not always metered. Those that aren’t should carry an official book of rates, so check with your driver before you set off. Taxis display a green ‘libre’ notice or green light at night. You can ask your bar or restaurant to call one for you.
- Tipping culture
- The Spanish are fairly relaxed about tipping and many places don’t add service charge, but feel free to reward where appropriate. About ten per cent shows you’ve had a good time, and a few coins is fine for taxi drivers.
- Packing tips
- Suntan lotion, big shades, small bikini.
- Recommended reads
- Ernest Hemingway’s bull-running classic Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises will get you in the mood for some Spanish passion.
- Tapas are great-value and delicious. There are great seafood paellas to be had here too, and the cooling gazpacho is gorgeous.
- Dialling codes
- Spain: 34; Marbella: 952.
- Do go/don't go
- With 320 days of sun a year, and the lowest average temperature around 12 degrees in January, Marbella is pretty wonderful whenever you go.