First impressions of the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Marbella are impressive. It’s a palatial property, set in a golf valley, with views over the greens towards the sea. It is Anantara’s flagship resort in Southern Spain. Sheltered by majestic mountains, this Mediterranean resort of suites and villas (The Obama Villa once hosted the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama) is close to some of the country’s most beautiful ‘white villages’, the prestigious town of Marbella, and the sparkling Mediterranean sea. Expect a compelling combination of European elegance with upscale gastronomy across multiple dining venues, as well as exceptional leisure facilities including a super-stylish beach & racquet club, an award-winning spa and championship golf courses.
Choosing the ‘Luxury Retreat: A Palatial Stay Inspired by Picasso’ is probably the finest way to experience much of what makes Anantara Villa Padierna so special. In addition to a stay in a palatial room, guests enjoy:
- Return airport transfers from Malaga Airport
- Picasso welcome amenities
- Spa treatment at the Anantara Spa
- Malaga Picasso tour experience
- Exclusive Picasso Dining by Design experience for two
Check-in and suite
Arriving at the resort, and entering the lofty lobby of the Anantara Marbella, one’s experience truly begins. This magnificent light-filled atrium features seasonal floral masterpieces. We arrived in autumn, with the theme brought to life with warm blooms, richly textured leaves, and fruit.
Here check-in is a comfortable affair, seated in dappled sunlight, sipping fine cava, and enjoying a chocolate treat, fashioned as an olive, evocative of one of Andalucia’s most prized gourmet products, extra virgin olive oil.
The treats continue as one arrives at the suite, with welcome handmade chocolates presented an artist’s palette, and a limited edition print of a charming sketch of the Anantara Villa Padierna by renowned artist, Jorge Parra, with his personal homage to Picasso.
It’s a delightful, and unique gesture and sets the scene for this palatial stay inspired by Pablo Picasso. The suite makes us feel like VIPs, with its majestic decoration of sparkling crystal chandeliers, fine art, antiques, and French Windows that open to the lush gardens. It’s the perfect place to take a moment and relax.
Spa & Wellness
Seeking tranquillity and rejuvenation is reason enough to come to Anantara Villa Padierna, home to one of Spain’s most elegant spas, styled like classic baths, with a touch of Roman flair.
As part of this guest package, one can enjoy a signature spa massage. The treatment rooms are set apart from the pool and wet areas, so they are particularly peaceful. Expect a comfortable and wide treatment table, and experienced therapists. The whole experience is world-class.
Yet, the real reason I’m here is to be immersed in Picasso’s Malaga. This begins with the fine dining. There’s plenty of choice, with the Eastern Mediterranean delights of Óla Beirut, the Japanese refinement of 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, and the elegance of La Veranda.
Yet it is La Loggia that is calling with its celebration of local Andalucian and Spanish cuisine. Here guests and visitors can experience a contemporary Spanish menu inspired by favourite dishes of Picasso, as well as local specialities. From a typical Malaga salad of cod and orange, a velvety ‘porra’ tomato, bread, and olive oil cream, to hearty fish balls.
This is sophisticated comfort food that truly reflects the destination and the way Picasso would have eaten in Spain.
The culinary highlight of the stay was our Dining by Design experience. Anantara’s private dining is extraordinary. Anantara Villa Padierna is a magical property, with so many special places to enjoy private dining from under the stars, to shaded terraces. In the autumn and winter, the elegant private salons make for a cosy and stylish venue.
The Picasso-inspired private dining is a delight, with a table setting evocative of the artist’s studio, with paint brushes and even small wooden pain paint palettes for the bread.
The dishes again reflect the heritage of Picasso’s southern Spain. A dedicated waiter achieved the perfect balance for us between attentive service and leaving us to enjoy each course in private – it was a dream.
Malaga city has emerged as one of Southern Europe’s most dynamic cities, with a vibrant contemporary art scene, and a cultural wealth that includes the renowned Museo Picasso Málaga. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the museum has attracted international attention for its remarkable collections that tell the story of Picasso’s life and his impact on the world of art.
Anantara Villa Padierna can arrange a private guided tour of Malaga, Picasso’s birthplace. One is whisked to the regional capital in style, where a guide is awaiting us. Each tour can be personalised. Of course, it includes a visit to the Picasso Museum which is home to more than 230 of his works.
The museum’s permanent collection is arranged chronologically, showing the overlap of his personal life and relationships with his radical artistic innovation through his abstract works.
With a guide, his story and works really resonate, and inspire you to delve back into history to find out more.
Until the end of March 2024, the museum’s temporary exhibition, ‘The Echo of Picasso’ brings together contemporary works by artists inspired by Picasso, highlighting how his cultural impact continues to reverberate for generations. The works are in different groups, each with a Picasso original as the inspiration – a really cool exhibit.
We also returned to Picasso’s birthplace on Plaza de la Merced – here the Picasso Foundation at the Casa Natal de Picasso offers a more intimate perspective with insights regarding his early years in Malaga.
Amongst the sketches on show are 9 of the lithographs of ‘The Bull’, Picasso’s 1945 work which is a simple, easily grasped guide to abstraction.
The tour also includes a visit to Malaga’s magnificent Cathedral, as well as the charming church where Picasso was baptised.
Then the amazing Magala trip ends with a typical Malaga tapas dinner at the city’s most iconic tavern, Pimpi Restaurant. Here the young Picasso famously sketched Malaga’s ubiquitous pigeons and the bar restaurant is one of the most evocative locations in the old town.
This property is included in our guide to the best hotels in Marbella.