To millions of people across Europe the very name Marbella brings with it an association of sunlit days spent on the beach or golf course, sumptuous yachts lying in the marina, luxurious resort hotels on the seashore, villas tucked into the folds of hillsides and nights filled with the glamour and excitement of a Mediterranean jet set location. In recent years, however, this luxury resort town has also become an increasingly popular place to settle in.
Marbella attracts a growing number of professionals who come for the quality of life, range of services and, increasingly, the ability to earn a living under the sun. The stylish marinas, boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs of Marbella offer a sophisticated Riviera lifestyle that is complimented by country clubs, top-class sporting facilities and a host of specialised services. Together, they provide a privileged setting that an increasing number of people are calling home.
Those who come in search of a free, healthy outdoor life where they can watch their children grow up safely are attracted not only by the climate and good educational and sporting facilities, but also by the active social scene and a Spanish society still very much focused on family and community. If ever there was a pan-European community it is along this coast, with its international schools, multilingual businesses and the amazing variety of cuisines on offer in Marbella, where you can find fine restaurants catering to anything from the familiar to the exotic.
While always known for its lively, cosmopolitan social life, summer parties and full calendar of glamorous events, Marbella is also becoming increasingly focused on culture and entertainment, with Fine Arts Societies arranging art appreciation classes and visits to museums, theatres and concert halls in the area. These include the international ballet troupes, opera companies and philharmonic orchestras that visit the beautiful classical Teatro Cervantes in Málaga. Along the coast, there are English-language theatre productions at Salon Varietés in Fuengirola, summertime jazz festivals, traditional Flamenco and organised visits to local cultural highlights such as the Ralli Museum, the Museo del Grabado and Cortijo Miraflores in Marbella. The most internationally renowned art museum in the region, however, is naturally the beautiful Picasso Museum in Málaga.
For the younger set there are wildlife and sealife parks, as well as open air concerts with anything from Elton John to Shakira and Lenny Kravitz. Apart from drawing on an ever-widening range of professional services, business people can also retreat to the stylish surroundings of The Exchange, Marbella’s very own business club, while business networking forums and charitable organisations such as the annual charity galas of Cudeca, Triple A and Concordia bring people together in business and in support of worthy causes. Organisations such as the Rotary Club, CIT Marbella, the Circulo Financiero Internacional and Costa Networking regularly bring internationally known speakers to Marbella in support of business conferences and public events.
The sunny climate and outdoor lifestyle remain at the heart of the region’s appeal. With over 50 courses covering the 200-kilometre stretch between the famous Valderrama course in Cádiz province and the Desert Springs course in Almería, it is no exaggeration to call the south coast of Spain not only the Costa del Golf, but also the epicentre of the European game. Nowhere else is there such a concentration of fine courses and nowhere else in Europe a climate that permits such a long playing season and variety of options.
The excellent facilities and conditions for golf, tennis, water sports and horse riding are reflected not only in the large number of adherents, but also in the major international sporting events held here. From the annual Volvo Masters, which draws the likes of Colin Montgomery and Sergio Garcia to the fairways of Valderrama, the international polo stars who compete in Sotogrande and the sailing teams who converge in its marina to Marbella’s annual Seniors Tennis Tournament, sports enthusiasts need not travel far to enjoy top-level competition.
Equestrian enthusiasts will also enjoy the horse riding at the Marbella Club Golf Resort or the exhibitions of supreme skill at the Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa del Sol in Estepona, while an increasing number of stylish spa & health centres provide pampering health and beauty treatments, and a glamorous brand of relaxation is offered at trendy beach clubs such as Ocean Club, Spain’s only Nikki Beach, and Laguna Village—the stylish new beachside shopping centre inspired by Polynesia. The region even boasts its very own state-of-the-art racing circuit, where motoring enthusiasts gather in safe conditions—an indication of just how much Marbella and its surroundings are evolving from a privileged resort into a vibrant modern town.
Like any other city, Marbella does not exist in isolation. Surrounding it are the Mediterranean Sea—the main focus—and a cordon of majestic mountains that conceal a countryside rich in nature and authentic Andalusian culture. Although this rustic environment seems a world removed from the cosmopolitan melange that is Marbella, it is usually no more than half an hour’s drive distant. This brings the highly developed services of places such as Marbella and Málaga within easy reach, but conversely also opens up the many hidden treasures of the hinterland to residents on the coast; Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada’s Alhambra and the ski pistes of the Sierra Nevada are just a small sample of the delights on the doorstep of Marbella.