Spanish romance in Marbella

Michelle Patient discovers the tranquil Marbella Club offers the perfect location for a laid-back romantic break

Michelle Patient discovers the tranquil Marbella Club offers the perfect location for a laid-back romantic break

COMBINE old-school elegance with 21st century luxury on a gorgeous Mediterranean beach, and you get the romantic garden paradise that is Marbella Club.

This charming hotel was originally founded on the Spanish Costa del Sol in 1946 by Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe as a family residence. Ten years later, Alfonso convinced his cousin, Count Rudolf of Sch�nburg-Glauchau, a Swiss Hotel Management School graduate, to move to Marbella and help turn the site into one of the world’s great hotels – and they certainly succeeded.

Today, the genteel Count Rudi can still regularly be seen chatting with guests around the hotel, and the friendly and helpful staff clearly follow the example of their smiling mentor.

Marbella Club has 84 rooms, 37 suites, and 14 villas with private pools nestled among the stunning botanical gardens cultivated by Prince Alfonso, who brought back plant samples from such far-flung locales as Kenya and Mexico.

The stunning landscaping cleverly creates enclaves so that its guests can enjoy seclusion – all rooms feature a private balcony or terrace – so it’s no wonder that the famous, wealthy and powerful, from Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the Rothschilds – have enjoyed this tasteful hideaway through the years. Spacious and light rooms are decorated in Mediterranean style and feature marble bathrooms which contain separate showers and baths, plush bathrobes and soft cotton slippers.

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Marbella Club’s cuisine is fresh and creative, from the cheerful champagne breakfasts to spit-roasted lobster at MC Club on the beach. The poolside Beach Club Buffet offers a wide array of beautifully displayed meats and salads, from roast beef to fried calamari and paella, not to mention the delectable array of Spanish desserts.

The Grill Restaurant brags some of the finest dining in southern Spain, and the candlelit terrace certainly has to be one of the most romantic settings in Europe. Executive chef Juan Galvez’s exquisite Mediterranean menu and the restaurant’s superb wine list, featuring a plethora of wonderful Riojas, is enjoyed to the sounds of soft piano music and frog calls amongst the trees. For a more casual dinner, the MC Caf� offers healthy, light European/Asian cuisine.

You can sip cocktails while reclining on round white-leather sunbeds for two on the beach, or lounge next to one of the hotel’s two pools. Attention to detail is what makes sunbathing special here, from the coconut runners that spare feet from the hot sand, to the plush cushions and smiling waiters with cool drinks at the ready.

If the urge for activity strikes, it’s a pleasant 20-minute stroll or bicycle ride along the coastal promenade to Old Town Marbella, and 10 floodlit tennis courts are a five-minute walk from the hotel. Relax in the Thalasso Spa with its dynamic indoor seawater pool, hammams, saunas, and 12 treatment rooms. A full range of beauty treatments and thalassotherapy are on offer, as are such new signature treatments as Sea Creation – a facial suitable for both men and women in which the skin is massaged with smooth seashells.

Marbella Club also sports the Golf Resort, a rolling, 1,100-acre, 18-hole course designed by renowned British golf-course architect Dave Thomas. Located 20 minutes west of the hotel, the course is punctuated by indigenous olive and pine trees and Andalusian wildflowers and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and of the silhouette of Gibraltar on a clear day.

There is a cosy Club House with a deck upon which you can enjoy a light lunch or a cool drink, and a riding centre, where even the horses’ stalls are luxurious. You don’t need to be an expert golfer or rider; the down-to-earth, knowledgeable staff offer golf and riding lessons for beginners.Marbella Club embodies casual elegance – in short, the hotel excels at making guests feel like royalty. And this Garden of Eden is reached by air in only two-and-a-half-hours – surely every couple deserves a bit of heaven.


Marbella Club Hotel, Marbella, Spain, Marbella Club is a half-hour’s drive from Malaga Airport. The hotel offers a Leading Honeymoon package, which includes a confirmed upgrade to a suite, champagne buffet breakfast, cava and fruit in the room upon arrival, free use of the sauna and steambath at the Thalasso Spa, and free access to the Puente Romano Fitness Centre. Three nights’ minimum stay and proof of a recent wedding is required, and rates start from 350 euros per room per night.


Monarch offers year round flights to Malaga from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from �76.99 return.Monarch offers a range of hot and cold meals that can be pre-booked or purchased onboard with prices from �3.00. Seats can be pre-booked at �7.50 per one-way flight, or for �20, extra leg-room seats are available, which offer up to six inches of extra space.Passengers can check in online, which is available between seven days and 4.5 hours prior to departure. For more information or to book, visit