A Weekend in Marbella
A weekend in Marbella. It’s a simple concept but one that could, according to tourist guides or rumour, go one of two ways.
There’s the British tourist’s Marbella which, while not as vomity as Torremelinos et al, or as ripped to the proverbial as Ibiza, still suggests Northerners spilling out of too small outfits and tottering the streets in heels.
There’s also old Marbella, where the outfit is probably the same just labelled Prada than Primark and where the word “louche” is rarely so accurately applied.
On the 40 minute drive from airport to Le Mansion Del Baron, however, a third option presents itself. One fifth of Andalucía territory is under environmental protection and it’s not difficult to see why. The expansive carriageway gives way to beautiful coastline on one side, golf courses and mountainous scenery on the other. As we made the climb to our gated residence, the world of semi-naked people quaffing and inhaling slipped further and further away.
Over looked by nothing but the mountain, Le Mansion Del Baron and its secluded courtyard is a mix of opulence, sincere welcome and instant calm. It’s a motif that continues in the attitude of the staff and tasteful decoration that’s a mix of the impressive and the homely. Five spacious beautiful en-suite bedrooms, two enigmatic and relaxing sitting rooms, a quintessentially English study, a very grand dining room, with all rooms giving way to extensive outdoor terracing, bar and pool. There are different scents and moods in every room, a grand piano here, a snooker table there – and space aplenty for 10 guests.
The staff are as staff should be: attentive and understated. The feeling is thus one of tranquillity – even the backdrop of incessantly chirping frogs proves hypnotic.
Fine dining is, of course, to be expected and it is delivered in three course Spanish feasts and a plethora of exquisite canapés. Unlike London, if you’re tired of Marbella, you’re not tired of life, you’re just being sensible and, should you be so inclined, there is no reason to leave the villa for the duration of your stay. If you were so inclined however, the distance may give you a new perspective on Old Marbella Town’s charismatic and enticing streets, quaint restaurants and wealth of history, or provide a base for the breathtaking and always nervy car journey to Ronda. The tapas, the El Tajo gorge and, particularly, the hams and sherry make the trip worthwhile.
Should you need to park the yacht, Puerto Banus is also a not too distant neighbour, likewise The Marbella Club. You may greet that with a yawn but seeing it with fresh eyes it becomes easier to picture the likes of Bardot, Sinatra, Inglesias and a whole host of Royalty sipping a martini by the pool.
They say that “summer never ends in Marbella”. They lie. Well, possibly. Summer may have continued but they’d clearly borrowed it from the United Kingdom and the weekend saw little respite from torrential rain. That may have dismissed another myth yet its relevance was minimal. No help is needed from the elements to make La Mansion Del Baron an idyllic retreat, or accentuate the magnificence that Andalucía has to offer.