Marbella is the place to see and be seen. Visitors include Eva Longoria, Hugh Grant, Novak Djokovic, Avicii, Enrique Iglesias and a of Premier League footballers.
Regarded the St Tropez of Spain, Marbella has now come popular with a range of holiday-makers, not just the top 1%.
After The Only Way is Essex spin-off The Only Way is Marbs aired Kiwi.com reported an increase of 25% in flight searches to Marbella. If you’ve just booked flights, or are thinking about doing so, here’s the ultimate guide to the Spanish destination.
Where to stay
When choosing accommodation, the number one thing you need to think about is how much you’re interested in the nightlife. There are fewer hotels in Puerto Banus, but if you’re planning a party holiday it is where you will want to be based. Further out there are a multitude of hotels for every budget, both on the interior and further along the coast.
Park Plaza Suites Hotel
Park Plaza’s location makes it the perfect base for night owls. It is located at the entrance to the port, which makes for great yacht-watching.
There is a beach and the option to get an apartment instead of a room, allowing for more flexibility with meal times.
Amare Marbella Beach Hotel
If you want an escape from the crowds, this is the perfect retreat.
This adults-only hotel has a beach area and spa but also brings the party to you with their own Resident DJ and pool parties.
Where to eat
Many luxury chains have outposts in Marbella, including celebrity favourites Nobu and Mahiki. These two restaurants, however, are a cut above the rest.
El Gran Gatsby
El Gran Gatsby doesn’t have a Michelin star, but it does get a special mention in the Michelin Guide 2017.
There is a terrace and a lounge bar that you can take the sights in on, as well as private rooms inside.
It describes its food as ‘avant-garde,’ and offers a good selection of meats, seafood and fish.
If you and your wallet are starting to feel a bit empty, Passion Café is the place to go.
Food options include nachos, burgers and their famous pancakes.
Where to party during the day
Because this is Marbella, it isn’t enough just to party at night-time, you have to party during the day too.
These two locations provide great beach views so you can get your fill of sun and sea whilst dancing the day away.
If you want to spot a celebrity, see seven and seventy-year olds dancing on tables, and eat your fill of sushi, this is the place for you.
The club opens out onto the beach so you can cool-off in the sea, and there are hair straighteners in the bathrooms should you accidentally get your hair wet.
Ocean Club consists of huge sun loungers placed around a large swimming pool, but it is champagne that is most likely to get you wet.
Lots of visitors seem to think that Champagne spraying is an essential part of any trip to Ocean Club and save for a year to be able to do it. At least you can wash it off in the pool.
Where to party at night
The one respite from the costliness of Marbella is the nightlife. Here are our favourite spots.
Aqwa is best known for its people watching opportunities – and its 30ft waterfall.
Tibu’s attractions include amazing lights and lots of shoes-off dancing, and relatively cheap drinks.
Where to visit
It's not all glitz and glamour, Marbella has plenty of cultural offerings too.
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is an area of windy cobbled streets to get lost in whilst visiting churches, shops and wine bars.
You can’t leave Spain without an authentic paella, and this is a great place to find one.
Avenida del Mar
The Avenida del Mar exhibits Salvador Dali’s bronze statues year-round so it is a great place to see some art and absorb some culture.
Unlike most places in Marbella, visiting is free.
Andalucía has a rich Moorish and Muslim history.
This mosque, the first constructed following the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, was built by Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia. In it, you can admire the modern Andalusian architecture, visit the library, or wander around the gardens.