I booked Marbella because flights were cheap. After I paid for the flights I began to wonder if it was going to be an apt place for a couples break or a party town for TOWIE wannabes. The reviews online were mixed so like most things I wasn’t going to find out until I got there.
I did not know where was good to stay in Marbella so just went with what was cheaper and central. Something in between Old town and Puerto Banus. We booked NH Marbella.
The hotel was decent and had most amenities apart from an iron. Which hotel doesn’t own an iron?!
It has an outdoor pool and bar which is by the side of the hotel. There are plenty of sunbeds available . Only downfall is people don’t use their ashtrays to get rid of their cigarette butts so they are dotted around the grass where the sunbeds are.
The hotel has a good breakfast buffet and it’s not continental. They have Cava too which you can help yourself to. What I liked most is they changed their selection everyday.
The hotel is a not on the same side of the beach and is takes a good 10 minutes to walk down.
The hotel was generally clean and we had a good stay.
Parking is about 14 euros a day but there was free street parking outside the hotel.
A few weeks before leaving I was looking at taxis to our hotel and didn’t realise it costs about £60 one way Malaga airport to Marbella.
We looked at hiring a car however we were not sure what it would be like with parking.
TIP: Having been there I can say it is cheap to park around Marbella and there were many spaces. It may be because we went off season.
We ended up using a shuttle service called Hoppa. The reviews for this online were mixed however we had a good experience. Like with any shuttle service you have to be prepared to wait a bit; ours wait for 45 minutes which wasn’t too bad. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of the road where the hotel was and picked us up on time from there too. This worked out about £40 return for two of us.
The local bus services were cheap but we were not sure where it would drop us off and how we would then get to the hotel from the bus stop especially as it was a Sunday. Again now we have been it is doable because there are taxis around and many people speak English.
The weather in the 1st week of October was over mid 20’s so it was nice and warm considering it was only 2 hours away from the UK.
We flew out on the 1st of October which was the last day of beach club parties. I was initially thinking of going to the Nikki Beach end of summer party until I found out it was 100 euros each and you only got a drink for that price. I may have settled for 50 euros because the entertainment sounded good.
There is a board walk along the beach that takes you from Old town Marbella to Puerto Banus. It would probably take at least two and a half hours to walk from one end to the other.
It reminded me of the board walk in Miami.
If you love walking/jogging then this is perfect.
My husband and I don’t mind walking so we walked along the board walk a few times to get to Old Town and Puerto Banus. It is a pleasant walk and has several drinking water fountains and benches along the way. They also basic gym equipment along the board walk for the public to use.
Along the board walk you come across many street traders selling fake goods. I didn’t find any of them pushing for sales which was good however it would be better if they didn’t hang around the restaurants by the harbour at Puerto Banus.
The shopping was not that cheap, one of the reasons being the weak pound against the Euro. I was hoping to get good buys from Zara but was disappointed when I got there because the prices were not that much different compared to back in the UK.
Marbella Beach Club: A few beach clubs offer buffet brunch deals. It costs around 80 euros per person and you can help yourself to lobsters, langoustines, lamb chops, steak and lots of other meats and seafood. Most of the items are freshly cooked.
The selection of salads, pastas, desserts was great. We sat there for at least two hours trying to eat our body weight in food.
80 euros may seem a bit high but you get a good range of seafood and meat. I am not sure if it would be worth it for a vegetarian.
The drinks were average in price.
La Sala Banus
There are two La Salas in Puerto Banus. One by the beach and the other one just by the town centre. This is the one we went to.
They do a great lunch time menu for two courses which is great value especially for the area. The food is good too.
They have a few steak houses around Marbella and this one was close to us. The food was amazing. We had a lamb leg (cooked in a wood burning oven) to share and it came with jacket potatoes and salad. It was amazing. The lamb was juicy and succulent and went well with the potatoes that were dressed with cheese.
To finish we had their chocolate brownie which was soft gooey and tasty.
If we had time we would have gone here again.
This is a bar/restaurant just around the corner from NH Marbella. It seemed like the place where the locals went. It gets very busy in the evenings. The drinks are cheap and the tapas are great. It’s nothing fancy but it does great tapas and cocktails and it is cheap. The service is quick too.
Orange Square, Plaza de los Naranjos
A lovely place in old town where you can relax, eat, have a drink and watch the world go bye. We stopped at Churreria Ramon for some churros. They are not like the normal churros you are used to- you can have it with or without chocolate. The chocolate is dark and thick.
We went in October and there were not that many oranges on the trees but I am guessing in the summer it’s different.
It nice to get lost in old town so you can experience all the tiny streets and shops. The shops range from tiny little independent to bigger chains. There is a nice garden by Old Town where you can sit and watch the world go by. There are a lot of restaurants too so won’t go hungry.
This is the high end part of Marbella- you get to see nice cars, yachts and designer stores. It’s a casual environment for all to enjoy and we never felt under dressed or like we were in the wrong place.
There are some bars/restaurants that are up market but many are suitable for everyone.
The walk around Puerto Banus is nice. One part of Banus just had shisha bars and Lebanese restaurants which we would not have seen if we stayed by the harbour.
As you walk away from Puerto Banus along the boardwalk, there are not many places to stop for a drink apart from a couple of beach clubs. Ocean Club was shut which probably made the area seem quiet but it was fine.
Many sun lounge areas were being packed away which seemed a bit early considering the temperature was still in mid twenties.
Would I return? I wouldn’t rush to go back to Marbella- we saw a lot in the three days we were there. Yes Marbella is known for being a party town but it depends where you are like any other area. You can go there and have a relaxing break if you want and he age range is mixed so a few families go there too.
There would be a different vibe if we went as a group but guess it would be more of a drinking and recovering holiday than a sight seeing and exploring one!