Marbella, Costa Del Sol, Spain

Andrea Lovatt on 21 November 2008
I flew from Gatwick to Marbella on the Costa Del Sol (‘The Sunny Coast’) on the 21st November 2008 for my annual conference where I stayed at the 5* Melia Don Pepe Hotel for 3 nights.

I must admit I was a little disappointed with this hotel as although in its day I think it would have been a fabulous, grand hotel, it now felt quite old fashioned and dated. The bedrooms were quite small for a 5* hotel but had beautiful views out over the gardens, beach and sea. The outdoor areas, gardens, the pool, and pool restaurant were lovely and much more modern and a private gated area led straight onto the long promenade and beach.

The beach was lovely and, covered in palm trees, seemed more like it should have been from the Caribbean than in Southern Spain!

Unfortunately, I did not get to see a lot of Marbella as this visit was for my conference but I took a walk along the promenade to the marina and it was lovely, lined with pavement cafes, exclusive shops and an 8 screen cinema complex! The marina housed lots of very impressive boats.

I spent an evening at the ‘Olivia Valere’ club in a beautiful high-walled setting in Marbella where I was entertained by fabulous flamenco dancers all evening. Rumour had it that Ashley Cole spent his stag night here! Another evening, I ate at the gorgeous ‘Villa Tiberio’ Italian restaurant in Marbella where the walls and ceilings are decked with stunning Roman murals and I can honestly say I had one of the best meals here I have ever had.

There are lots of excursions you can take around Marbella. I took part in a flamenco workshop which was great fun and lots of my colleagues tried their hand at paella making, wine tasting, and there was also the chance of a visit to the Picasso museum as well as lots of activity challenges and treasure hunts. One thing I was very disappointed in is that I did not get the chance to visit Puerto Banus which is like the St Tropez or Monte Carlo of the Costa Del Sol. I would have loved to have spent the afternoon or evening sitting at one of the exclusive pavement cafes ‘people watching’. You never know I might have seen a celebrity or two!

Having now had a brief glimpse of Marbella, I would definitely love to go back. It seems to have everything from gorgeous beaches to pretty villages and lovely countryside, endless world class golf courses and, with excellent conference facilities, would be fantastic for both business or pleasure.

If you are looking for a men’s golfing break, a girly weekend or a family summer holiday, the Costa Del Sol would be perfect!