Tips for the best restaurants in Marbella, the most exclusive hotels, the trendiest beach clubs – what you should not miss when in Marbella!
To do in Marbella – Shopping in Marbella – Hotels in Marbella – The best restaurants in Marbella – Beach Clubs in Marbella – Puerto Banus
To do in Marbella
Marbella is not excactly known as the cultural hot spot of Europe – it is the beaches, night life, training/fitness as well as the golf courses people are attracted to.
The Old Town of Marbella is very pretty and a must see, as is the seaside boulevard Paseo Maritimo.
Please continue reading for more tips on what to do in Marbella.
The Old Town
The Old Town is really cozy with its old, white buildings, narrow alleys and small shops. The bougainvillea blooms everywhere. Sure, it might get touristic but a visit here is still worth your while.
Stroll around, pop in to a stylish boutique or just park yourself in one of the numerous cafés for a cortado or two.
Plaza de los Naranjos
In the heart of the Marbella Old Town, Plaza de los Naranjos is a small square which is surrounded by orange trees, hence the name.
It is super cozy but be warned, many of the restaurants on the plaza are really bad.
The Beach Boulevard Paseo Maritimo
You definitely don’t want to miss a powerwalk on the promenade Paseo Maritimo. It is long: A whole 12 kilometers stretching from the small fishing village of Puerto Bajadilla to Puerto Banus.
The Golden Mile
The most exclusive, a few kilometers long part of the Paseo Maritimo is called the Golden Mile. You will find the most amazing villas, luxury hotels and restaurants here. The Golden Mile starts just before the fivestar Marbella Club Hotel and ends in Puerto Banus.
It is classy and my favorite part of Marbella.
Make a stop for a hard core training session on Paseo Maritimo.
Beach Clubs are abundant on the Paseo Maritimo. And chiringuitos.
Not so much action in the beginning of Paseo Maritimo.
There are plenty of hiking trails in Marbella. The Ojén trail is rather easily accessible and starts from the Paseo Maritimo. Ojén is a tiny village in the mountains well worth visiting because of the breathtaking views and all the lemon trees and the cute mountain goats you see climbing on the side of the hills.
Caminito del Rey is another famous, over 100 years old trail. This one is not for sissies, though.
The central parts of Marbella are truly boring. There are two nice parks, though: Alameda Park and Constitution Park.
Tiled floors and marble benches, rare trees. Alameda Park is a favorite among the tourists and locals alike.
Shopping in Marbella
Avenida Ricardo Soriano
The main street of Marbella is full of stores like Mango and Zara.
The Marbella Old Town
There are lots of small boutiques selling unique pieces of clothing and jewellery.
The epicenter of exclusive shopping.
El Corte Inglés
The largest of the el Corte Inglés department stores is located in Puerto Banus.
Hotels in Marbella
Strangely enough there are not that many great hotels in Marbella. You actually might end up changing your hotel during your stay.
Marbella Club Hotel
Marbella Club Hotel is a legendary hotel, one of the best in the world. Iconic and authentic, with impeccable service. The athmesphere is friendly yet glamourous. The interior and the gardens are just so dashing. Marbella Club Hotel is one of my all time favorites.
Elegant and stylish. If you are interested in staying at Nobu, do not book one of the deluxe rooms facing the patio. It gets very loud in the evening and, you most certainly want to avoid lounging on your balcony in your bathrope, looking down to all the dressy party people.
Puente Romano Beach Resort
Like a small, Andalucian village of its own with several world class restaurants.
A cosy boutique hotel in the Marbella Old Town. Hotel Claude once belonged to Napoleon III:s spouse and has only seven rooms. This place is perfect if you want to skip the resorts.
Do not recommend
Hotel San Cristobal – The location of the hotel – in the Marbella Old Town and opposite to the Alameda Park – is quite good but the hotel itself is rather shabby. The beds are not fresh and I am certain that the old wool covers were not washed since the 80s. The breakfast buffet was looking good and had plenty of choises but nothing was tasty nor of good quality. We were a group of four girl friends and not one of us would like to stay here again.
The location of the 4 star hotel Amàre is really off, in the beginning of Paseo Maritimo. Also, it doesn’t look like anything in the photos you see on their home page.
The best restaurants in Marbella
You need to make a reservation at all the below restaurants, some of them well in advance during high season. For example, Lena Las Brasas was fully booked three weeks prior our visit when I tried to make a booking online. Luckily, we got a table through our hotel (Marbella Club Hotel).
Make a reservation for c. 2 pm for lunch and around 9 pm for dinner.
MC Beach is Marbella Club’s chiringuito, open only during the summer months. I cannot recommend MC Beach enough, neither the rosé we had with our lunch 😉 (Marbella Blush Rosé).
Even the Grill is one of the Marbella Club’s restaurants. The candle lit dinner is served in an enchanting garden, and it most certainly does not get any more romantic than this. The guests and the ambiance are rather glam so be sure to dress up.
Basically, I would recommend any of the restaurants in Puente Romano.
Rachel’s Eco Love is a café serving fresh, healthy food – think chia pudding, bowls, salads – perfect fo a lighter lunch.
You can’t go wrong with Nobu. The renowned chef Dani García’s latest restaurant Lena Las Brasas has a stunning interior and even though it is the meat that is their main attraction there are plenty of other options on the menu for those of us who don’t eat meat.
Almost all of the Puente Romano’s restaurants are located around the la Plaza, and dining is available both in- and outside. Bibo is also nice but since the whole concept is about tapas it doesn’t take long till you are done with your dinner.
Even if you are not having dinner on the plaza I would recommend to pass by for a coctail before or after your dinner reservation.
Note! The service in Puente Romano is TERRIBLE to say the least. You have to remind the waiter about this and that, and it is clear that they want to get to rid of you as soon as possible so that more paying customers can come in. But don’t let the rude waiters spoil your evening (because the food is really great and so is the athmesphere), take your time, don’t order any meals until you have had your pre-drink and a nice bottle of wine is waiting in the cooler beside your table. Otherwise, you will have your dessert in front of you the minute you take the last bite of your sea bass.
When you are in the mood for a calm, cosy dinner in the middle of the Marbella Old Town. Ask for a table outside.
Mamzel at Finca Besaya
You will find Mamzel up inte hills, the views over Marbella are magical when the sun goes down. Mamzel is both a restaurant and a club so if you a not looking for a party make a reservation for c. 9 pm. It will get busy! Also, you want to dress up.
A small minus for the somewhat bad service. What is wrong with the restaurant staff in Marbella?
Beach Clubs i Marbella
La Plage Casanis
The ambience is lovely and relaxed at La Plage Casanis and the food is great.
El Ancla Beach Club
Rent a sun bed and stay for the day, enjoy the view, service and the food. The party vibe is just about right for grown ups.
Puerto Banus is the uber luxurious yacht marina outside Marbella. It is known for the high-end retailers and exclusive night life. The marina is full of yachts, Lamborghinis, restaurants and clubs.
So many people are in love with Puerto Banus. There is the glam side, of course, but I find the place sloppy, shallow and brackish. Also, when the night falls, some shady business will be going on here.
I have just one thing to say: Run for your life!