For decades the Costa del Sol has been a byword for Brits abroad. However, after years of hen and stag dos, accessible package holidays and cheap flights, it has reinvented itself as a contemporary getaway for the Insta-smart traveller. At the centre of it all is El Fuerte, a stunning property dating back to 1957, revived to bring the old world glamour back to Marbella.
THE STAY: Located right on the city centre’s beachfront, stunning sea views can be enjoyed from both the bedrooms and two swimming pools that sit high above the promenade. Palm trees sway above the hotel’s signature white and burgundy striped poolside umbrellas. The hotel’s warm Mediterranean character is reflected in its classic interiors by prestigious Chilean designer Jaime Beriestain’. Guests are wowed from the moment they enter the lobby of the hotel; contemporary furniture is paired with heritage design carpets, oversized ceramics dripping in glaze, and a breathtaking view out to the ocean.
The bedrooms are even more beautiful, offering warm terracotta hues, marble bathrooms and crisp white linens. If you’re keen to splash out, a ‘selected’ front sea view room with balcony is generously sized and gives access to a late check-out, free transfers locally, and a VIP breakfast area. The best room in the house is the Master Suite which comes complete with its own balcony-based hot tub.
THE FOOD: The team behind El Fuerte have focused on delivering first-class gastronomy. A glass wrapped rooftop restaurant, Edge, has been specially constructed for prestigious Michelin starred chef Paco Pérez to call home. One of the most renowned Catalan chefs, Paco has received four Michelin stars between his restaurants in Barcelona and Gerona, and this is certain to become the best spot in Marbella to enjoy a sundowner and dinner.
If the beach takes your fancy they also have the option to dine at their beach-bar, Soleo. The hotel’s location makes it ideal for exploring Marbella’s seafront promenade and the plethora of bars and beach restaurants, which are now displaying the standards that El Fuerte are setting.
WHAT ELSE? A 5-minute walk from the hotel you’ll find Marbella’s Old Town. Narrow winding cobbled streets are lit by traditional lanterns; walls of geranium flowers scent the warm air while historic churches ring their bells. The jewel in the crown of Marbella’s ancient quarter is the Plaza de los Naranjos (The Orange Square), a showcase to citrus trees which adorn this central garden.
THEN WHAT? If you are keen to explore further inland you can head up into the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, and to the spectacular town of Ronda. Dating back to the sixth century BC, its crowning glory is the Puente Nuevo bridge that towers 120m above the canyon floor. If exploring by sea appeals more then head west to the lovely coastal town of Puerto Banús where a boat trip can ensure a relaxing afternoon and a refreshing dip in the Alboran Sea.
- Visit elfuertemarbella.com