Discover the best places to see and BE seen...
For many, Marbella is synonymous with all night parties, bustling beach clubs, billion euro traffic jams, thumping music, and in-your-face excess, on all levels. However, Urbanologie Editor-at-Large (Monaco & Marbella), Gavin Lambe-Murphy, shares his top five places to unwind, far from the madding crowd, yet in with the ‘in crowd’.
When it comes to super fresh fish and seafood, Marbella offers many options, to suit all. However, for me, the very best is El Ancla. Situated right on the beach, the expansive terrace almost floats atop of the Mediterranean. Long days lounging at the legendary beach club, or salt water pool, are followed by long evenings dining under the stars, quite possibly surrounded by stars, of the silver screen, sport and fashion. The menu offers delicacies such as conchas finas, garrucha, tuna carpaccio, and a selection of perfectly executed pasta dishes. There are also impressive options from the grill. The mood is ‘Marbella proper’, being relaxed, yet extremely glamorous. This is where locals choose to hangout, dine and celebrate. Having frequented El Ancla for many years, it is without hesitation, fantastic. And one of my all time favourites.
For me, the ultimate Marbella treat, is supper at El Grill. Exquisite on all levels, it simply never fails. Summer evenings spent al fresco, in sub tropical gardens, close enough to the sea, yet mature enough to offer shelter. Pre-drinks at the Summer Bar, where Euro jet-set, blend with heavy hitters from around the globe, under the citrus trees. The blissfully calm dining experience awaits. Exceptional silver service, delivers Marbella Club classics, such as cheese soufflé, chateaubriand, and an impressive selection of fish. Extensive wine lists, exceptional cocktails, and an air of true romanticism, make El Grill, without question, the perfect date night restaurant.
Centre stage as one of the most famous hotels in Spain, when it opened in 1954 by Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe, it instantly became a go-to hideaway, for those in search of a chic, low key destination. Thus, the Marbella we know today, was born. The hotels most famed resident, former General Manager, Count Rudi, still opts to live on the grounds, and has become a Marbella celebrity in his own right. Since its’ inception, the glamorous bolthole has welcomed Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery, Princess Diana, and Sir Michael Caine. As well as many famous international musicians, politicians, aristocrats and world leaders. For a select few, there is only one hotel in Marbella. Only one place to dine, party, and unwind. I can say, I am certainly one of those, who shares this opinion. Long live the Marbella Club, and all of its perfection
On the Golden Mile, one can only expect fabulous, and newcomer Mamzel doesn’t fail to deliver. An epic gastronomic adventure, and a super sleek club, brought to life by the team behind Casani’s Bistro and Plage Casani’s. Dine, dance and dream under the stars. Kitchen offers a European menu, including super fresh seafood, as well as farm-to-fork grills. Expect to see well-known faces, and Marbella’s glitterati. The interior, created by famed designer Nezha Kanouni, allows a sense of Marbella glamour to seduce, rather than scare. Instagram overload, at every turn. Theatre is at the very heart of Mamzel, and the club offers nightly performances and regular special events. A very welcome addition. Reservations required.
Just above the winding, picturesque streets of the Old Town, Hotel Claude is housed in the former summer residence of Eugenia de Montijo, Empress of France and wife of Napoleon III. Marbella’s original boutique hotel, has undergone an impressive renovation, offering seven, chic bedrooms, each dedicated to regions of Andalucía. Rooms are designed to a truly unique style, complete with complimentary Nespresso, and an ample minibar. Guests are permitted to take luxe bathrobes with them, when they depart, as well as everything else on view within the hotel. Once you are willing to pay, of course. Impressive art work, and playful furniture are available to purchase. At the top of the perfectly appointed townhouse, a roof terrace is set over different levels. The ultimate hideaway, offering quaint views of terracotta rooftops, as well as the sea. Ideal for sundowners, or breakfast. The mood of the hotel is reflected with an honesty bar in the library, as well as a sumptuous afternoon tea, available to non-residents.
East Marbella has many chiringuitos, some wonderful, others not so much. A new comer, Luuma Beach, falls into the former category. Opening just months ago, following a serious renovation, this beachfront restaurant and bar, attracts a very stylish crowd. A muted colour palette, sits perfectly against the ever glistening Mediterranean, with a smart beach club, spilling out onto the white sands of Playa El Rosario. Food offerings include wild mushroom arancini, a fantastic steak tartare, and my personal favourite, lemon risotto. An extensive menu of salads and bowls is also available. The ethos of Luuma, is health and well-being. Relaxed vibes, wide smiles and exceptional attention to detail. A cocktail list, steering away from the norm, offers the divine creativity of the innovative bar staff. Naturally, the wine selection, is as good as one would expect. Reservations recommended, especially during summer months. Luuma brings something fresh, chic and exciting to the beach scene.