Marbella’s well-known for attracting A-list celebrities and VIPs, and the paparazzi are often out in force snapping shots of the latest famous arrival. Getting away from the paparazzi in Puerto Banus or Marbella can be challenge, but there is somewhere you can stay in complete privacy and still enjoy all that Marbella and Puerto Banus have to offer.

El Madronal Marbella

Sublime setting for Villa Cezanne

Where is El Madroñal?

El Madronal is technically in Benahavis, just above Marbella in Malaga province in southern Spain. It’s a huge gated country estate in the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, on the Ronda road from San Pedro de Alcantara.

It is conveniently close to the AP-7/E15 toll road which takes you to the city of Malaga in around 40 minutes, and from there, you can visit Granada, Cordoba and Seville.

El Madroñal also sits above the Guadaiza River valley on the mountain side forested with pines, cork oaks and aromatic shrubs. Carpeted in wild flowers in spring and in a riot of colour in autumn, it’s home to a long list of fauna – wild boars, deer and mountain goats – as well as numerous species of birds.

Proximity to the Coast

Although a countryside setting, it’s just a short drive from Marbella old town, its beaches, Puerto Banus and Nuevo Andalucia coast.

Puerto Banus is under 10kms away, less than a 10-minute drive. Marbella historic centre is 20km and approximately 20 minutes’ drive.

It might be close in distance, but this tranquil refuge is a world away from the bustling luxury Port that’s Puerto Banus. Here, you’ll find yourself in the heart of typically Mediterranean landscape with the Mediterranean Sea and Straits of Gibraltar stretching beneath you.

El Madronal villa

The Peaceful Surroundings of El Madronal

The finest Surroundings

This natural paradise rubs shoulders with neighbouring La Zagaleta, and helps put Benahavis at the top of the list of the most expensive postcodes in Spain. This nature-filled private estate has been earmarked by the world’s wealthiest travellers as somewhere to get away from prying eyes (and the cameras) since the 1950’s when the first millionaires built their exclusive retreats here.

The development has been designed to provide space and privacy. All plots come with sweeping views – on clear days, you can see the different peaks that make up the Rif Mountains in Morocco on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Luxury is key to describing homes in El Madroñal – alongside spacious living, you will enjoy sumptuous furnishings and fittings, infinity pools, manicured gardens, state of the art technology, staff accommodation and room for several cars. All within natural surroundings where the silence is only broken by birdsong and deer calls.

How to Get There?

The nearest airport is Malaga – Costa del Sol Airport which is 66km away and about a 45 minute drive. Transfers and car hire can be arranged directly through us. Alternative airports are Gibraltar (68km and just under an hours drive) and Seville (180km and 2.5hrs drive).

Security and Privacy

High security on the complex translates into total privacy. Numerous high-profile politicians, celebrities and FTSE 100 CEO’s have escaped from their daily grind here for a welcome break, and plenty of celebrities have taken holidays in El Madroñal far from the long lenses of the paparazzi.  With video entry on every gate, discretion is absolute, and you never know who’s staying until they’re long gone – as fans of One Direction discovered.

Celebrities and La Madroñal

Luxury private villa Hacienda Madronal 2 in Marbella

Luxury Andalucian Hacienda Owned by A-list celebrities in El Madronal


Celebrity homes on the development include the estate belonging to the film star Madeleine Carroll, known as the ‘iceberg maiden’ and star of Hitchcock’s ’39 Steps’. Her magnificent El Madronal home was one of the first to be built and she spent her retirement here. You can get a taste of a Hollywood retreat by renting the large country mansion, Hacienda Madroñal 2.

El Madroñal was also home to El Cortijo recording studio where singers and musicians have taken inspiration from the tranquil surroundings to compose and produce. Icelandic star Bjork composed her iconic track ‘So Broken’ here in 1997; Cher, Roxette and Mariah Carey stayed while they worked on albums as did the Swedish group The Cardigans.

More recently, opera singer Russell Watson chose El Madronal for his wedding, and was a regular visitor before that.

Restaurants Nearby

There really is no limit to restaurant options in and around El Madroñal. In Benahavis, San Pedro, Puerto Banus and Marbella their is every type of eatery.

Nearby, the coolest new opening, Coto, on the Ronda road is just a short drive away. South African chef Clive Rogers consistently serves good quality fine dining. along with a fabulous rootfop cocktail terrace with a view!

Coto fine dining in Benahavis

(c) Coto

For more restaurants to try in Benahavis, check out our guide.


What Is There To Do Nearby?

As well as relaxing and soaking up the panoramic views from your terrace and pool, you may want to explore some of Andalucia during your stay at El Madroñal. The bright lights of Marbella and Puerto Banus are, of course, just a short drive away as are some world-class golf courses and sandy beaches. But venture a little further afield and you can sample some of the very best Andalucia has to offer.


Continue up the mountain road and you’ll find yourself in Ronda – one of southern Spain’s most stunning white towns with its plunging river gorge, typical Andalucian architecture and monuments such as the Arab Baths and one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. Be sure to try some of the local Ronda wine at the excellent restaurants and tapas bars in the town or visit one of the vineyards.


Ronda, Idylicc place to visit during Andalucia holidays

Stunning Ronda, just half an hour from El Madronal

Sierra de los Nieves

A UNESCO protected national park including mountains, caves, Ibex, eagles and lots of flora and fauna is right on the doorstep of La Madroñal. Often between January and March the peaks of the mountains are capped with snow hence its name Sierra de los Nieves – ‘snow’. For outdoors enthusiasts keen hikers like to conquer the Pico Torrecilla at 1919m and for those who like to explore down rather than up there’s good caving like the GESM which goes 1101m in depth. There’s also great cycling routes for those wanting a challenge, all rewarding with incredible views.

Sierra de Nieves


The vibrant city of Malaga is also just a short drive away with plenty of things to do and see including the Moorish fortress, Baroque cathedral and art museums including the Picasso Museum. Leave some time for shopping – don’t miss the local produce at the Atarazanas market – and go then for a leisurely lunch at one of the many fine restaurants in the old quarter and on Muelle Uno in the port where you’ll find Juan Carlos Garcí­a’s Michelin-starred restaurant.

Alcazaba Malaga

Our Favourite Villas in El Madroñal

It’s always difficult to choose favourites in any one area but here goes: Madroñal Collection Villa 1, Hacienda de Madroñal 1 and Hacienda de Madroñal 2 are quite different villas all with the wow factor, and our newest addition, Hacienda Bolero, is the epitome of classical Spain with a modern finish.

With its unique location and magnificent properties, El Madroñal allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds on holiday – you can relax in total peace and quiet or pop out to nearby resorts and tourist attractions. And as one of the most private places in Spain, no one need ever know you’re there.

For more places to stay in and around El Madroñal contact us today for an availability check and quotation.

Lindsay Gregory

Lindsay is the Founder and Curator of The Luxury Villa Collection. With over 22 years experience living and working in Spain, she's constantly in search of the most authentic and original travel experiences, coupled with the best villas, to help you enjoy Spain in style.

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