Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting?…
Stop what you’re doing for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine yourself stretched out on a daybed soaking up the sun under the bluest of blue skies, a glass of chilled Champagne in your hand.
Now, we’re willing to bet two things: firstly, that those winter blues were momentarily banished; and secondly that what you had in your mind’s eye looked rather like one of these amazing swimming pools.
Best Infinity Pools
Infinity pools are not a new concept. Well, not to the French, anyway – the first was built in the Palace of Versailles. History aside, these are most definitely the crí¨me de la crí¨me of swimming pools. The best examples are used to create an optical illusion, where the water of the pool blends into the sea or the sky to all round stunning effect.
There’s nothing like beautiful surroundings to help you relax – and this modern pool whispers ‘unwind’. There are two types of pools: inward, enclosed ones and open, outward-facing ones. This angular L-shaped pool is very much the latter. Welcoming steps draw you down, not only into the water, but also towards a spectacular view of Los Flamingos golf course. An infinity pool where the view seemingly never ends is perfect for such an ultra-modern style of house. Not only does this pool have a view, but it also adds to it.
Some people say if you have the beach on holiday, you don’t need to bother with a pool. We beg to differ. Having both is surely the best option of all? This pool has made it onto our list because of the sheer, beautiful simplicity and audacity of its location – less than 10 metres away from the Mediterranean. The two huge urns at each end of the rectangular infinity pool both bring exquisite symmetry and serve a practical purpose as the spiralled entrance steps. Elegant, stylish and tasteful.
Pools with Total Privacy
There’s only one way someone would be able to see you taking a dip in this pool – and that’s if they were hovering directly above you in a helicopter. This tasteful villa, secreted away high in the mountains down a long private road, is a hidden idyll. The kidney-shaped lagoon-style pool sits below the house so the poolside fun is separated from the peaceful sanctuary of the living quarters. Of course, there’s an outdoor kitchen poolside, so everything you need is right to hand.
For us, this pool is reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age. We can easily imagine Katherine Hepburn gliding down that staircase, dropping her robe and diving elegantly in to the water. It’s a private hideaway pool, and the feeling of being enclosed by its lush gardens only adds to the sense of glamorous seclusion.
We have a particular soft spot for unique pools, and so this huge pool/Jacuzzi hybrid had to be included in our list of Spain’s best villas with pools. When the sun goes down the best place to be is in a heated Jacuzzi. Nestled in the centre of the huge pool, overlooking mountains, this Jacuzzi can be reached by wooden bridge making it easy for the drinks to be topped up as you recline and relax surrounded by warm water – heaven.
For our money, a beautiful pool has to be part of the overall design of the villa. Luxury villas with pools should have an overarching calm synergy, where one compliments the other: the comfortable indoor living areas should spread outside to the pool, outdoor kitchen, dining areas and chill-out zones to form a restful and relaxing whole. And this pool may not be huge, but it does just that.
When it comes to pools size really does matter – particularly if you’re travelling with a large party. This contemporary yet classical villa has a seriously roomy 17m pool, which can be heated on request. It also has a beautiful Japanese style pagoda, ideal for the heat of summer – when, frankly, any sort of exercise is too much – or for supping a cocktail or two.
Lagoon pools, with their inviting, curved edges are always particularly welcoming. This seductive affair made the LVC edit of amazing swimming pools as it has barstools, a separate Jacuzzi and even an island. We like the idea of having an island to swim around – it adds a bit of variety to languorous pool-time drifting.
When travelling during the shoulder seasons or in the winter an indoor heated pool is a real treat. Being able to use a pool all year round is the epitome of both luxury and health and wellbeing. This villa has an indoor plunge pool as part of its spa as well as a heated indoor pool. If the sun is shining and an outdoor pool is the order of the day then this villa has not one but two outdoor pools to choose from. And these aren’t just normal pools, either: one is an angular infinity pool, the other is a lagoon pool with a waterfall. Four amazing swimming pools in one villa? It could only be Marbella.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78708 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_content] => Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting? Perhaps the best part of all is just how easy it is to get to...
Where is Marbella?First things first, though. Where is it? Marbella is in southern Spain - in the province of Malaga in the Andalucia region, to be exact - on a stretch of coast called the Costa del Sol. Here's a map of Marbella to help you get your bearings:
Where Do You Fly to?It depends on from where you're flying in. The nearest international airport to Marbella is Malaga. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (Aena.es) is 51km away and an easy 40-minute car/taxi ride. Virtually all the major airlines fly there direct from the UK and from across northern Europe. The next closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar (Gibraltarairport.gi), which is just over an hour's drive away. British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch all fly direct from the UK to Gibraltar.
From the USIf you’re flying into Spain from the USA you'll probably have to travel to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Aena.es). From there you'll have to either fly, take the fast speed AVE train (Renfe.com) or drive to Malaga and transfer from there to Marbella. The most convenient way to get to Marbella from Madrid is by the fast speed train taking just 2.5hrs or by flying taking only 1 hour and 15 mins.
how to get there from malaga airport
By CarThe best way to get from Malaga to Marbella is to drive. And if you're on holiday that probably means you're going to need to hire a car. As with almost all international airports, Malaga has a frankly baffling array of different car hire options to pick through. To avoid the scrum of the departures lounge, jump on the complimentary minibus to the offices of Niza, Helle Hollis or Enterprise situated a mere minute outside of the terminal. Inside the terminal you can find Sixt, Hertz and Europcar. If you're unsure of which company to use, click the following link. For a more luxury car hire service we'd recommend Sixt (Sixt.com). They're friendly, totally professional, trustworthy and have a range of high-end rental options, from BMWs, Audis and Porsches to Mercedes and Range Rovers - and even automatics. If you're travelling in a large group, they also have 8-12 seater self-drive minibuses available for hire. Of course if you're looking for ease, our Concierge can make the reservation for you to be dropped directly off at the villa. A car of your choice can be delivered to your villa. Once you've picked up your car/minibus hire, driving from Malaga airport to Marbella could hardly be easier. Directions from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport are as follows:
- Leave the airport and head southeast onto N-348
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on N-348
- Take the Torremolinos ramp to N-340/Cádiz
- Merge onto Avenida de Velázquez/N-340/MA-21
- Take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmadena/Algeciras. Merge onto AP-7
- Pass Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola
- Take exit 184 towards Marbella/Casco Antiguo/Avenida del Trapiche
By TaxiFor sheer ease, you can’t beat jumping in a taxi. A taxi rank is situated outside the arrivals sidewalk of Terminal T3, level 0. It's best to ask the driver, beforehand, how much a taxi is from Malaga to Marbella to ensure they don’t overcharge you. There are two transfer prices, and these are dependent on both times of the day and the day of the week. Transfer Price Band 1 is weekdays from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. Transfer Price Band 2 is weekdays from 22.00 to 06.00 hrs, all day Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, the August Feria and Holy Week. Band 2 transfer time is more expensive than Band 1. Alternatively, you can pre-order a taxi at Malaga Airport Taxi (Malagaairporttaxi.net) and get a price when booking. The transfer time from Malaga Airport to Marbella takes around an hour, in a taxi.
Other Ways to Get to Marbella
- By bus: It is possible to take a bus (Alsa.com) from Malaga airport to Marbella. But it's a whole lot less convenient than driving via hire car or private transfer.
- By train: There isn’t a train connection from Malaga airport to Marbella.
Distances - how far is marbella from...
- Malaga (city): 61km away and 46 minutes' drive.
- Granada: 187km and just over 2 hours' drive.
- Seville: 258km and 2 hours 45 minutes' drive.
- Gibraltar: 78km and 1 hour 2 minutes' drive.
- Madrid: 584 km and 5 hours 45 minutes' drive.
A Bit of HistoryThe land previously belonged to the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, who it is said, used the estate as his party house and hunting grounds. The property and land went up for sale and a group of Spanish property developers bought it and put plans together to create a playground for the rich and famous in Marbella. Each villa is unique, with their own styles depending on the specifications of the owner.
Location & Getting There
So where is La Zagaleta?The large estate sits in Malaga province in the south of Andalucia. It’s in the foothills of the Ronda Mountains just 25 minutes from Marbella, 18 minutes from Nuevo Andalucia and the nearest beach. It's 20 minutes from the village of Benahavis, 40 minutes from Sotogrande port, 50 minutes from Ronda, 55 minutes from Malaga airport and just over an hour from Gibraltar airport. La Zagaleta is very easily accessed by car or helicopter. There's heavy security surrounding the estate and entrance is on prior permission only.
What Else is in La Zagaleta?It’s worth noting that all the facilities in La Zagaleta are for exclusive use to villa owners only; they pay an enormous service charge to be allowed to use the facilities.
Golf CourseLa Zagaleta golf club is only open to villa owners and their guests. They have exclusive access to two of the Costa del Sol's best private golf courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. La Zagaleta golf course - known as the Old Course - is to championship standard with 18 holes, Par 72 over a distance of 4800 - 6000 yards. Designed by renowned golf architect Brad Benz in 1991 and redesigned by Marc Westenborg in 2016, it’s a rewarding course with fantastic views to the coast and flanked by mountains. The New Course, Los Barrancos, is very different to the Old Course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, Par 70 with lots of obstacles over a distance of 4356 – 5381 yards.
The ClubhousesThe hub of the estate is the spectacular Old Clubhouse, or La Zagaleta country club. Measuring 5,100m² it has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, billiards, bowling alley, tennis courts, gourmet food supermarket, pro-golf shop and restaurants (see below). There's also a nightclub, bars and events space where there’s a full schedule of experiences and parties planned. The New Clubhouse is a thatched lakeside venue. A lot smaller than the Old Clubhouse, it's still just as popular with La Zagaleta residents for events or having a quick drink in the bar.
Horse RidingLa Zagaleta is home to some beautiful stables with indoor and outdoor schooling arenas. Horses can either be kept on a full livery basis, or horses and ponies can be hired for lessons or hacks. ‘The Riding Club’ equestrian centre has a team of instructors and well-schooled horses for all levels of rider including Arab, PRE and, for the children, Farabella horses and Welsh ponies.
RestaurantsWhy leave the comfort of a beautiful villa when you can enjoy a top-quality meal at home? At La Zagaleta there are Michelin starred chefs available for in-house dining throughout the estate. However, for owners the clubhouse has two restaurants: the formal dining Old Course Restaurant; and a terrace bar restaurant that's ideal for light bites and brunches.
Famous ResidentsThere is private security throughout the whole of La Zagaleta - so know one really know who lives or owns houses there. It’s a place where the super-rich and famous go to be away from the limelight. However, it is said that Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Vladimir Putin all have house in La Zagaleta.
What to Do NearbyWhen staying in La Zagaleta, the houses are so special that it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the estate. However, if you do want to see more of the area, here's our pick of easily accessible and great day trips:
- Ronda: historic, boutique wineries and ab-so-lutely beautiful.
- Benahavis village: a great option for restaurants; have a lunch or dinner in this pretty village.
- Granada: a romantic inland city and home to the Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malaga: the birthplace of Picasso with a fort, palace and Roman amphitheatre.
- Cordoba: historic city with a stunning mosque-church at its centre.
- Sevilla: one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Sotogrande: a lovely port, wake boarding lake and polo hub.