Once upon a time, a prince came to southern Spain, in search of an idyllic hideaway. And so, it was that in 1947 Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe purchased a privileged plot of olive and fig groves, on the shores of the Mediterranean. This was become the Hohenlohe’s family retreat – christened at the time, Finca Santa Margarita – a charming holiday home with guest rooms built around a beautiful Andalusian courtyard patio.
Yet, by the mid-1950s Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe’s summer house parties had become legendary … and Marbella Club was born, writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).
Marbella Club remains an exclusive place to stay in Andalucia, the flagship of Marbella hospitality and one of the finest hotels in Spain. Marbella Club is celebrating over 65 years of hospitality and remains at the forefront of luxury and wellness.
Marbella Club elegantly balances the charm and sophistication of its aristocratic history with the contemporary style, services, and facilities of a 21st century wellness orientated resort.
Recent remodelling has showcased the heritage of this exceptional property, including the original courtyard patio with its scented gardens and fountains.
The small guest ‘bungalows’ which once hosted Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant amongst many others, are now upscale private guest villas with private pools – full of Andalucian charm and luxurious details.
Chic and authentic, Marbella Club represents the elegance of a timeless Marbella.
The sub-tropical gardens have, over the past half century or more, blossomed into a botanic oasis and provide an exceptional environment for the restaurants, the diverse wellness activities, guest relaxation and also a kids club.
Health and Wellbeing is a defining element of the contemporary Marbella Club experience.
Amongst the mature gardens of tropical & Mediterranean plants are secluded corners dedicated to balancing and nurturing activities.
During my luxury escape, I took a chakra cleansing class with Coco Maruno, the hotel’s resident Holistic Wellness Practitioner. The venue was the meditation garden of the MC Holistic Studio, a secret walled garden that immediately embraces you with peace.
On another day, I tried a Aeroyoga session with Angelita – something completely for me. Stretching and hanging in a silk harness takes a moment to get the hang of for novices like me but is a very calming way to regain more flexibility.
Each day there is a full programme of activities hosted by experts, that are free to guests to join. Alternatively, just hop on one of the hotel’s bicycles and explore the area or enjoy a bike ride along the coastal Paseo Marítimo trail.
The Thalassotherapy spa has sea water pools and offers a number of signature treatments. I was recommended a facial. I was reluctant at first as I thought I wouldn’t find it that relaxing – I usually opt for a massage – yet the treatment was exceptional. I would go as far as saying it was amongst the best spa treatments I have had.
The Wellness theme extends beyond activities and treatments to dining too. Guests can order dishes that are especially prepared for special diets and reduced calories, using fresh ingredients and herbs form the hotels kitchen garden.
Guest Rooms & Suites
In addition to the exclusive guest bungalows there are rooms and suites are distributed across the property, amongst the sub-tropical gardens. The interior design of our junior suite conveyed an elegant fusion of classic Marbella Club heritage, accents that reflect its Andalucian character and contemporary luxury. Think beautiful fabrics, linens, fresh orchids, and thoughtful welcoming amenities. I particularly liked the ‘DIY Sangria’, a fun and imaginative idea where guests can create the classic drink with the flair of the head barman.
Since rooms are found amongst the gardens, you are sure to have a private little corner just for you – and in our garden were hammocks – the perfect spot to chill, surrounded by the scent of jasmine.
Marbella Club feels intimate, yet it of course it has the facilities of a resort and the dining options certainly reflect this diversity of choice. What’s more each restaurant has a heritage and refined style that is pure Marbella Club.
Whatever the season, the hotel captures the spirit of Southern Spain and the Mediterranean, but if you visit from Easter to late summer than you are in for a special treat as you can dine one the seashore.
I really love this place, with tables right by the water’s edge; a design that is so summary and elegant with the signature MC aquamarine colour accent, and of course the best fish & seafood.
Lunch at this upscale seafood chiringuito was a real treat – a restaurant that encompasses the DNA of Marbella Club, elegant simplicity, authenticity, and truly stylish.
The Almadraba tuna tartare with spicy guacamole was memorable. And the off-menu ‘gambas rojas de Garrucha’ (red prawns from Almeria, eastern Andalucía) were perfectly prepared. Simple, uncomplicated, and full of flavour.
The rice with lobster was hearty and fresh – a rustic dish with a touch of extravagance. Pudding was totally unnecessary but important. Chocolate. Sweet, indulgent; the guilt started to creep in. But just a little.
If there was a restaurant that captures the essence of Marbella old world glamour, then this is the place. Decades may have passed, yet The Grill maintains the charm and sophistication of a golden age. Dine amongst olive trees and under a summer canopy of old pines, with the light of candles. As you can imagine, as well as local and regional fresh fish, this is the place for quality meat, like Chateaubriand with homemade gratin potatoes. All prepared on the grill by the son of Marbella’s original grill chef. Expect tables dressed in pressed linen, waiters in elegant attire and a unique Mediterranean fine dining ambiance.
Anyone familiar with historic photos of Marbella Club will of course recognise the thatched palapa which has become a little landmark on Marbella’s Paseo Marítimo seashore promenade. Here one finds Marbella Club elegance meeting the relaxed and holiday atmosphere of a pool club.
There are plenty more places to eat and drink at Marbella, but I did want to say a word about the new lunge bar at Marbella Club – called Rudi’s. It’s a really special place, with a glorious eclectic and bohemian feel – worthy tribute the Marbella Club’s first General Manager Rudolf Graf von Schönburg, popularly known as Count Rudi. This is a space for a relaxing drink, a classic board game with a fellow guest or an elegant cocktail.
Address: Marbella Club, Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, Marbella, Spain
The Marbella Club is included in our guides to the best luxury hotels in Marbella and best luxury hotels in the Costa Del Sol