The Marbella Club is a uniquely luxurious beach resort and boutique hotel, secluded in its own luxurious wilderness on the Costa del Sol. Much-loved amongst the very highest echelons of society, the hotel prides itself on discretion and prestige service, tempered only by a very personal, home-from-home ethos.
“Paradise is a blend of privacy and gardens” – Prince Alfonso
Officially opened in 1954 by Prince Alfonso, the sprawling residence had previously been the European Royal Family’s Medditeranean hideaway. Many of the buildings retain original features, like the over-bearing double doors which would have lead to the Prince’s private quarters (they’re still there, only now they signpost the impressive 5,000 square metre Kids’ Club). And the iconic beach club pool with very Insta-friendly bridge has been hardly altered at all.
And with a rosta of guests from a-listers to aristocracy, it’s clear that the Prince’s legacy is very much alive. The atmosphere of elegance and opulence that the inaugural guests enjoyed has been carefully maintained through painstaking attention to detail. Take the 120 guest rooms, which command a staff of over 400. Including a team of dedicated re-decorators, tasked with the constant freshening of the perfectly white building facades.
The Playboy Prince (so dubbed by international media) loved to travel, and his vision for the Marbella Club was largely inspired by motels he had visited in America – explaining the adherence to low-lying, sprawling architecture. The abundance of unique and diverse forna throughout MC pays homage to the playful, explorer nature of the prince – you’re just as likely to walk past a cactus as you are a palm tree on your way to breakfast.
Not just plants, it is said that each time the Prince visited he would bring new music to play his guests. By the mid-sixties guests from Brigitte Bardot to Gunther Sachs partying in the Champagne Room, so built to prevent such nuisance as poor weather blighting guests’ beach parties.
Perhaps less frivolous but certainly just as elegant, the Club’s most recent project has been the launch of personalised Detox Retreats, in collaboration with nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. The retreats are 4-day wellness stays comprising holistic therapies like Buteyko breathing practices and metabolic workouts, treatments at the Thalasso Spa, and lifestyle consultations.
I tried out a detox package to kick-start my 2018. Slightly sceptical of how much change I could achieve in such a plush setting (you probably couldn’t get further from army training at Sandhurst), I’d signed up for two days of probiotic eating with algae massage-based spa treatments to stimulate lymphatic drainage and aid my detoxing process. Ahead of my arrival, I was given the option to remove temptations from my suite, should I wish to dully engage in the detox. Slightly guiltily, I declined.
What surprised me most, though, was how little I craved going off-menu. Meals were plant-based, with the occasional protein add-in like grilled fish or a poached egg, but intense flavours and beautiful presentation made even the lightest salad incredibly satiating. It was like re-learning how to eat. I became increasingly mindful of what I was putting into my body, and more in-tune with what I did and didn’t need.
The Marbella Club is completely exquisite and utterly irresistible – whether you want to re-tox, detox or something in-between. The first guests to be welcomed in 1954 were a French couple on their way home from North Africa. They stopped-in over-night and left three weeks later. I defy anyone not to aspire to a stay of that length at the Marbella Club.