Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marbella Has Bling but Plenty of Style; This Magnet for the Rich and Famous Is Leading the Recovery on the Costas with Pretty Village Houses and PS116k Seaside Flats. by Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marbella Has Bling but Plenty of Style; This Magnet for the Rich and Famous Is Leading the Recovery on the Costas with Pretty Village Houses and PS116k Seaside Flats. by Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathy Hawker

MARBELLA comes with a loaded reputation. It's shorthand for super-yachts, super cars and super-size bling, but it is also the undoubted property hotspot of the Costa del Sol.

European royal families and Hollywood stars who came in the Fifties and Sixties have been largely replaced by Arab royalty hidden behind high palace walls, and by minor celebs, but the exclusive Marbella Club and Puente Romano Hotels on Marbella's Golden Mile are still the places to be seen in summer.

Marbella's appeal is based on easy access, strong infrastructure and a winning location, says Christopher Clover of Savills associate, Panorama Properties. "Marbella is at the most southerly point of Europe sheltered by La Concha mountain. Wonderful weather is a major draw," he adds.

"Malaga airport has been transformed and offers direct flights to 125 destinations. Cordoba, Seville and Grenada are within three hours and Madrid is two-and-a-half hours on the high-speed AVE trains."

In addition, all of Andalucia's fabulous Pueblos Blancos -- the historic Moorish White Towns -- are nearby. This is the most year-round of all the Spanish Costas, with enough residents even in winter to ensure restaurants and bars stay open, while the weather encourages an active, outdoor lifestyle. The Costa del Sol has 90 golf courses, 42 of them within 30 minutes of Marbella.

THE BUILDERS ARE BACK "Prices have fallen up to 50 per cent in some parts of the Costa del Sol since 2008, so second-home values are now very good," says Joanna Leverett of Cluttons. "Marbella is the main prime market and is leading a slow recovery. You can get a twobedroom flat along the coast from PS116,000 and a good apartment in Marbella with sea views for around PS700,000."

After eight years of falling prices and little new construction, the cranes are back. A prime example is Icon, a development in the hills above the Golden Mile, where Spanish developer Urbania has plans to build 200 homes over the next six years. Icon offers large, detached villas on big plots with good views over the golf course and to the sea, and -- unusually -- a full concierge service and property management. …

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