Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Real Charmer on the Costas; Magical Marbella: Clockwise from Left; on the Beach at the Marbella Club Golf and Spa Resort: The Grand Entrance: Poolside, Where the Waiters Are Still Dressed Fifties-Style

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Real Charmer on the Costas; Magical Marbella: Clockwise from Left; on the Beach at the Marbella Club Golf and Spa Resort: The Grand Entrance: Poolside, Where the Waiters Are Still Dressed Fifties-Style

Article excerpt

Byline: Jo Fernandez

THE couple next to us had blonde hair, deep tans, lots of jewellery anda small, fluffy dog in a Burberry dog "tote" bag under the table. Only inMarbella. We were at the MC Cafe at the Marbella Club - on a hot summer'snight, we ate dinner on a terrace surrounded by older rich men with youngertrophy wives, and stunning, immaculate mothers with beautiful children whilethe attentive, international, young staff fussed over Maya, our two-year-old.

The Marbella Club is the kind of place legends are made of, where Hollywoodstars once rubbed shoulders with European aristocracy and Latin Americandictators as they partied until dawn.

It all began in 1947 when Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe toured the area in hischarcoal-burning Rolls-Royce Phantom looking to improve the family's ailingfortunes. He saw an old finca which he later opened as a hotel and began toinvite the titled and rich, lured from the South of France by the year-roundclimate (now the hotel even has a winter sun guarantee).

I had expected lots of Eurotrash, and yes, there were mature women sunbathingtopless on the beach with breasts younger than Maya - but there were alsoplenty more usual holidaymakers, from couples to families.

For such a glamorous hotel, families are made to feel exceptionally welcome -every visit to a restaurant or bar wasn't complete without a waiter fetchingcrayons and drawing books to keep Maya busy and she was allowed in every areaof the hotel - even the famous Grill restaurant, romantically lit by hundredsof candles propped in trees.

The highlight of our stay was a particularly memorable lunch at the Beach Clubpoolside buffet, where rows of lobsters, cigalitas (prawns), grilled fish andmeat competed for our attention with acres of salads.

The waiters (dressed in Fifties-style shirts as if still in its heyday)surrounded us, advising on food, bringing a T-shirt for Alistair (no vests atthe table - although, unfairly, women strutted by in string bikinis), jugs ofchilled sangria, plump cushions for Maya to reach the table and seemed to begenuinely disappointed when, so full of succulent grilled lamb chops andcreamed spinach, we had to stop eating and stagger the short distance to thesunbeds. …

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