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?…
If there’s one thing Marbella knows how to do, it’s party: whether it’s lavish Champagne spray parties, chilled out beach club sundowners, decadent dusk ’til dawn pool parties or sophisticated cocktails and live music, whatever you’re looking for on a sultry summer’s night out, it can deliver.
And it’s not just summer, either. Marbella nightlife does vary quite significantly from season to season: it might seem warm enough to northern Europeans in November to party on the beach or poolside, but to the southern Spanish the seaside fun and frolics end at least a month or so earlier. Don’t be deterred if you’re here out of season, though, as the party people don’t hibernate through the winter months, they just party differently.
Here’s our pick of the best places to let your hair down on a night out in Marbella…
Best for Overall Experience
Marbella clubs don’t come much more established than Olivia Valere. For 14 years it’s been at the centre of the area’s nightlife scene – if you’re rich or famous and have visited Marbella, you will have spent a night or two at Olivia Valere. This huge pleasure palace was built along the most grandiose of lines, taking its inspiration from the architecture of the Mezquita and Alhambra Palace. Expect keyhole-shaped doorways, decorative arches and lots of intricate Moorish design swirls and flourishes throughout.
There are two areas to choose from, both of which offer something different – The Lounge Terrace and The Sushi Bar. Celebrity DJs are a regular occurrence throughout the summer, with the likes of Paris Hilton, Carl Cox and Craig David having stepped up to the decks. There’s also a very convenient outdoor restaurant next door called Olivia Valere Babilonia. The interiors are plush with lots of white seating and no expense spared on the decoration, and the general air of opulence and extravagance lends itself nicely to a complete and utter blowout. It’s open all year round – and there’s often live entertainment throughout the summer – but only at the weekend during the winter.
Address: Carreterra de Istan – Km 0.72, 29600, Marbella; phone: 658 58 15 85; Oliviavalere.com.
Best New Venue
This club night has been around since 2000 but didn’t have a permanent residence until 2018. Now it’s just on the outskirts of Puerto Banus in a theatre-style club with viewing balcony around the dance floor.
Expect the usual table service and champagne processions if that’s your bag, and great international names to tickle your earbuds. Music ranges from house to RnB to hip-hop, just keep an eye on the night; 2018 saw Eric Morillo, Tyga and Rick Ross wowing the crowds and packing out the dance floors.
There are plenty of performers to keep you dancing, as well as ticker tape releases and great lights. This club isn’t huge, so if it’s a big night make sure you buy tickets in advance and get your name on the guest list.
Open from midnight until 6am from May until October.
Address: Carretera de Cadiz KM. 175, Centro Comercial Rimesa Tino, 4, Nueva Andalucia, Marbella, 29660; phone: 665 94 87 87; Dreamersmarbella.com
Deep house and techno greet the crowd in this 600m2 club. What we love about La Suite is La Terrasse next door – two venues in one. Food is served in La Terrasse which is the ideal pre La Suite warmup location.
When the summer hits, kick back in this central courtyard and sup on a cocktail or two. Every effort has gone into the décor and general welcome good feeling vibe of La Suite. It reminds us of clubbing in the 90s when a club was more than a place to just dance: walk beside original Roman mosaics, sit under palms and soak it all in.
Open year round, but weekend are where it’s at. Dress to impress.
Address: Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, K 177 S/n, 29602, Marbella; phone: (+34) 952 820 900.
Best for Front Line
There’s a lot of talk about ‘frontline’ and ‘backline’ nightlife in Puerto Banus. In a nutshell the frontline is a more sophisticated, high-end affair and the backline (literally the second road back from the port) is a little more raucous. At the end of the port – very much frontline – is Pangea. All white, black and neon, Pangea is a great place to spend an evening if you’re in town. The gorgeous roof terrace can be seen from the portside street below, and house and RnB music is bashed out over the yachts. If it errs just a little on the side of OTT with its décor, hey it’s a club after all, and you’re in Puerto Banus where glamour’s very much the name of the game. Despite always being filled to the rafters and having an indoor part, sadly, it isn’t open during the winter.
Address: Puerto Banus Port; phone: 680 291 967; Pangea-club.com.
Beach Clubs in Marbella
The Marbella beach club scene needs to be checked out when visiting the area. Not only is it seriously cool, but it’s also very practical – tanning, relaxing, pampering, swimming, eating, drinking, dancing and partying all in one venue. Perfect.
There are several beach clubs to choose from – with new openings springing up every summer – but here are a couple of our favourites. Be sure to check with our Concierge before a visit, though, as sometimes there’s a themed party on – white, white and gold or red – to add a little bit of glamour to your beachside lounging, sundowner sipping or early morning partying.
Best for Striking a Pose
The legendary Nikki Beach has been a fixture on the Marbella nightlife scene for two decades. Beachside decked two-tiered terrace, inviting pool, draped comfy chill-out areas, large beach beds, stocked bar, Nikki dancers, resident DJs, themed parties, alfresco dining room and a perfect stretch of Marbella beach… What’s not to like?
This open-air adults’ playground is hard to beat, basically – just stretch out langorously, set up stall and be waited upon. Nikki Beach is kind of an attraction in itself, you can spend the whole day there or just rock up for the evening’s entertainment. When the club gets started it spills out into all areas, with live music, soulful house and creatively clad Nikki Beach dancers whipping the place up into a hedonistic frenzy. It’s the beach club to be seen at, and with 1000’s of young and beautiful people filling the place over the course of an evening, it pays to dress to impress.
Address: Playa Hotel Don Carlos, Carretera de Cadiz, Km 192, 29600 Marbella, Malaga; phone: 952 83 62 39; Nikkibeach.com.
Best for Cocktails
A short walk from the centre of Puerto Banus, if you feel like stretching your legs in the cool of the evening, Ocean Club sits on an extensive plot. The white and blue décor wraps around a sail-shaped pool lined with round beds that are some of the most comfortable around. They offer a seriously mouth-watering selection of cocktails (their Bloody Mary made with homemade chilli sauce is a particular LVC favourite) along with shishas and massages throughout the day. The restaurant serves up simple but delicious food made with fresh ingredients, and service that from start to finish is impeccable. All in all, it’s a beautiful beach club with a sophisticated air.
Address: Avenida Lola Flores, S/N, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; phone: 952 90 81 37; Oceanclub.es.
Planning a celebratory trip to southern Spain with friends? Have a look at our selection of luxury Marbella villas.
Like our pick of the best nightlife in Marbella, but looking for something more chilled from your night out? Check out a few of our favourite restaurants.
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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.