Marbella, Spain – Travel Review
By Richard Jones
As we strolled down the harbour at Puerto Banus, our eyes are drawn to the gleaming yellow Lamborghini Aventador parked up in front of one of the pristine white yachts.
Situated either side of the £300,000 supercar is a rusty Toyota Yaris and a battered Nissan Micra. And that just about sums up this area of the Costa Del Sol. It’s a place where millionaires, billionaires and TV celebrities, mix with, for want of a better word, nobodies. Like my friends and I.
On the harbour at Banus, some of the yachts are staggering. Especially the biggest of all in the port – the iconic 212ft-long Lady Haya. A quick search on Google confirmed that the super vessel, where waiters stand on duty with canapes and gold jeroboams of champagne, was worth in the range of £50-million. The King of Saudi Arabia is the owner.
Just one block back from the seafront, on Avendida Julio Iglesias, things are much more down to Earth. Here are the late bars such as Lineker’s, Port Side and Bijoux. A further street back on the ‘Second Line’ is another of Banus’ renowned nightspots, Tibu.
We rocked up there at just gone midnight. The friendly bouncer advised that although the club was technically open for business, it wouldn’t get busy until at least 3am. So we should probably come back then. We did just that. Slightly worse for wear at that point thanks a couple more of the 2-4-1 drinks offers. We danced the night away on the open-air terrace and in the club’s main room.
Over the weekend, the youngest member of our stag group, Tom, pointed out who’s-who, as far as celebs were concerned. Especially around the harbour and in the famous News Cafe bar. Marbella and Banus are effectively the second home of the TOWIE cast and other reality stars. These fashionistas are the main reason it has grown into one of the most desirable places on the planet for holiday makers and revellers.
After arranging our flights through Monarch, we booked the rest of our Marbs-based weekend through Stag Do specialists Last Night Of Freedom. They took care of just about everything. The company offered us a choice of accommodation, complimentary transfers from Malaga airport, activity options and free entry to the resorts’ best nightspots. They also sorted us out with rooms at the Hotel TRH Paraiso a short drive up the coast in Estepona.
This was the perfect base for a trip to Marbs, Banus and the surrounding area. We decided to spend our days around the hotel. We walked off our hangovers along the beach front up to Estepona and San Pedro. Later we ordered taxis into Puerto Banus.
During our time in the area, the cycling race Vuelta a Espana (one of the main three alongside the Tour De France and Giro Italia) was getting under way in Banus. The streets are packed with cyclists, teams and spectators. But after the cycling fans and luxury shoppers had dispersed on the Saturday evening, the nightlife once again took over the town.
Our favourite bar of the entire weekend was the boat-shaped cocktail hangout Astral. Speciality drinks are prepared here using fresh fruit and other ingredients. It is easy to see why the place is rated top on Trip Advisor out of the hundreds of bars in the area.
Across the harbour, a few yards away from Lady Haya, is the resort’s most exclusive club, Pangea. As we were on our friend Leigh’s big send-off, we decided to splash out on a table on the terrace. We sat sipping on our ‘budget’ €200 bottle of Absolute vodka.
Meanwhile, the group directly adjacent to us enjoyed quaffing €27,000 bottles of Cristal champagne like it was going out of fashion. Oh, how the other half live…
Richard Jones and his friends were guests of Last Night Of Freedom. They organise world-class stag and hen weekends at 66 locations across the globe. Visit www.lastnightoffreedom.co.uk or call 0191 499 8750
Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates flights to Malaga from Manchester with fares, including taxes, starting from £64.99 one way (£81.98 return). For further information please visit monarch.co.uk