Sister hotel to Sierra Nevada’s legendary El Lodge, and also to Marbella Club on the coast, ‘Maribel Ski & Apres Ski’ offers a fresh dose of high-altitude fun and style, writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).
Europe’s sunniest ski resort is sparkling brighter than ever. Sierra Nevada is cool and not just because it sits at a lofty 2,250 metres. The hotel and dining scene is reaching new heights too. Pioneered by El Lodge, the style renaissance continues at Maribel. The completely remodelled property has a captivating balance between an intimate alpine chalet, the chic mountain style of a luxury ski hotel, and the unique atmosphere and renowned vibrancy that’s reflective of Romano Beach Resort and Marbella Club, the hospitality experts who are responsible for the creation of Maribel Sierra Nevada.
Maribel is the place to ski and board under the Andalusian sun, before a late lunch on the sun deck devouring an authentic raclette, then an afternoon of pool and spa, setting you up for a night of fine dining and music at the elegant yet relaxed Maribel’s restaurant.
International visitors can fly into either Malaga or Granada airports and take a transfer to Sierra Nevada. Alternatively take the scenic drive to the historic city of Granada, home to the UNESCO wonder of the Alhambra, passing through majestic Andalusian scenery of olive groves and mountains. It’s less than 2 hours from Malaga to the Granada, and then allow maybe a further 30 minutes to meander up through the National Park of Sierra Nevada to the southernmost ski station in Europe. This mountain resort offers the largest ski area in southern Europe, with 110 km of pistes, including 19 green (beginner), 41 blue (intermediate), 50 red (advanced) and 8 black (expert), as well as the highest and most exciting on the Iberian Peninsula, at an altitude of thousands of metres. There are family-friendly runs too and a beautiful ski school area, while for boarders, the Snow Park is well-reviewed.
Here on the mountainside, one finds a little corner of refined luxury and high attitude fun at Maribel. Adjacent is El Lodge with its legendary sun deck, so guests of Maribel have the privilege of sharing their neighbour’s facilities too, so for longer stays you have a choice of day and evening dining, wellbeing activities, and experiences.
Maribel’s classic alpine chalet exterior disguises its playful, design-driven interiors. As you enter the cosy lobby you’re met by a sweeping elliptical staircase and a hanging fireplace, with an open-plan, interconnected library, bar, and lounge areas that flow together into a single, welcoming space.
Maribel’s guest rooms and suites are set over three floors, and playfully named with Mari prefixes like Marisol, and Marinieves. Choose from duplex suites, creatively designed for those who prefer to travel with their family or a small group of friends, slope view rooms and signature suites. Each has warm, welcoming, alpine-inspired interiors, with leather and wood furniture, beds dressed with faux-fur throws, and aromatic Natura Bissè amenities. The luxe touches are all there, with a stylish minibar including tempting gifts like sunglasses and even canisters of performance-boosting oxygen.
The vibe is uplifting, lively yet always sophisticated. Après ski fun starts from lunchtime on the Sun Deck of El Lodge with a menu of alpine classics like fondue and raclette, or on the sun-kissed terraces of Maribel with American classics from the Cheat food truck, all served to a soundtrack of feel-good beats.
Sundowners can be refreshing like the Alpes Spritz of sparkling cava with St Germain or warming and comforting like Maribel Gluhwein mulled red wine, with port, and orange liqueur.
The biggest surprise was our impressive experience at Maribel’s restaurant. The setting is unlike anything else in Sierra Nevada. Warm natural tones, embrace you, while the entire glass front of the restaurant seems to bring the slopes even closer. The menu is a tempting fusion of Mediterranean dishes and hearty Alpine and mountain favourites.
The starter of artichoke flower with smoked burrata and foie is absolutely standout. Give into temptation and try the Baked Vacherin Mont D’or with garlic and truffle. It’s an indulgent treat and sets the scene for a magical mountain feast.
With Maribel so close to the Mediterranean and the tropical coast of Granada you can also expect premium fish and seafood as well as wonderful vegetarian dishes like baked aubergine with olive, tomato, and basil. Yet in the winter I can’t help but want to tuck into robust dishes like venison or rack of lamb. The desserts including vanilla crème brulée, baked cheesecake, and brioche with orange toffee complete a memorable dining experience.
With direct access to the pistes, Maribel is a great choice for those looking to embrace the thrill of a day on the slopes. Maribel, taking its name from the adjacent ski run, is 50 metres from the chairlift at Parador No. 1. There’s an in-house ski rental and a boutique so pack light and let the experts kit you out.
The team has also created some very cool experiences that go beyond professional, private ski & snowboard guiding and classes.
For families, there is an authentic ice-skating rink in the Maribel Plaza for fun in the sun, and if you have a desire to get out on the snow, but don’t ski or board, try snowshoeing, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Sierra Nevada while you ‘hike’ across the snow.
The expert guides can also take you to the legendary ‘Los Cahorros’ mountain hiking route, in a spectacular river gorge route, about 20 minutes drive from Maribel, to see icefalls. They can even arrange dog sledding, for a truly evocative, winter adventure.
Yet, to be honest, many escape to the mountains for a glorious change of scenery and some serious pampering. There’s a fabulous spa, exquisitely crafted from Finnish pine, boasting 2 treatment rooms, a Turkish bath, a sauna, and an indoor heated pool, with views to the pines and mountains. Among its selection of personalised massages are rejuvenating rituals and body and facial treatments with the award-winning wellness collection KLORIS, made with sustainable essential oils and pure CBD oil.
Outside on the deck is a heated hot tub, cold tub and also a fabulous heated swimming pool and bar with vistas directly to the slopes.
Maribel, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) collection, is open until the end of April, so get your skates (or skis) on and head to the mountains!
Address: Maribel Sierra Nevada, Urbanización Pradollano, Pl. Maribel, s/n, 18196 Mochanil, Sierra Nevada, Granada