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?…
Whether you’re looking for an ultra-modern designer villa in Marbella for a special occasion with friends or a more traditional, stone-clad affair in the green north for a family holiday, here’s our pick of the very finest – and most luxurious – large villas in Spain for big groups.
Villa Shiro – Marbella, Southern Spain
The exclusive estate of La Zagaleta is no stranger to luxury. So when word starts going round about a villa there that’s a bit special, you know that it’s going to be large, lavish and luxe-y on an international scale. And so it is with Villa Shiro.
The setting’s spectacular: high up in the hills above Marbella, its huge infinity pool and handsome, domed pool house are surrounded by spacious and beautifully kept grounds.
Inside the palatial white premises the 8 bedrooms include a whopping 100m2 master suite that opens out onto its own terrace and views of the sparkling Mediterranean.
Then, as if that’s all not enough, there’s the small matter of a private cinema down in the basement.
Villa Zensei – Marbella, Southern Spain
Ringed by high walls, impressive floating architecture and floor to ceiling glass, there’s more than a hint of the Bond villain’s lair about Villa Zensei. (Minus the sharks in the pool, of course.)
Inside 8-bedroomed Villa Zensei there are simply too many special things to mention, such as your own private spa and tennis court to rival Marbella’s top hotels. But it’s the sleek designer furniture, custom-made sculptures and incredible modern art collection that never fail to have our jaws hitting the (gleaming marble) floors when we visit.
Villa Los Patios
Big, bold and very, very beautiful it’s no exaggeration to say that Villa Los Patios is one of the very finest large villas in the whole of Spain.
Why? Well, there’s the ultra-exclusive front row Marbella beach location, the atmospheric Al-Andalus inspired house and the grand, neo-Moorish interiors studded with every imaginable luxurious facility.
Then there’s the garden. Lush and tropical in feel with a stunning pool surrounded by lawns and waving palm trees, it runs right down to the sand and the rolling waves beyond. And it’s absolutely spectacular.
Finca del Rey – Castilla La Mancha, Central Spain
This large villa in central Spain sleeps +29 people across its 14 enormous ensuite rooms. But size is far from the only thing this sprawling gated country estate has got going for it.
The list of facilities reads like a rollcall of ultra-luxury villa must-haves. Private spa? Check. Range of sports and outdoor pursuits to choose from? Check. Full complement of staff and catering laid on? Check and check. Oh, and did we mention it also comes with its own private runway and helipad?
Beyond the 7,400 acres of grounds, there are views fit for a king, with the mile after mile of the wooded hills of central Spain stretching away in every direction. Simply stunning.
Villa Karima, Sotogrande, Southern Spain
Spread out across seven different ‘pods’ separated by a huge pool and a virtual forest of swaying palms, Villa Karima looks for all the world like a small hamlet as much as a large villa. First impressions can be deceptive, though, as while this ultra-luxury property in Sotogrande is undoubtedly on the range-y side, it’s not remotely impersonal.
The beauty of the place is that, in contrast to its size and, frankly, pretty staggering list of facilities, it’s full of intimate corners and Moroccan interiors notes that provide the necessary design touches. It all comes together to create a truly remarkable space.
Villa Bahia – Santander, Northern Spain
Up in the north of Spain, from the stunning grounds surrounded by green, rolling pastures and virgin coastline of Cantabria to every last little luxury detail thought of inside, this large villa with additional guest house has an awful lot going for it.
But if we had to pick out one thing that made it truly special, it has to be the interiors. Edison-style filament bulbs hang from the high ceilings, a riot of rattan and palm fronds blend botanical and colonial trends, freestanding bathtubs gleam in the rooms, a retro wooden filing cabinet acts as a kitchen island; outside, reclaimed metal beds serve as unusual takes on the traditional pool-side lounger.
All very stylish indeed, in other words.
Madroñal Collection Villa 2 – Benahavis, Southern Spain
With its five range-y ensuite rooms plus a standalone two-bedroom apartment, this villa in the exclusive gated enclave of El Madroñal can comfortably accommodate a group of up to 26.
Water – and its relaxing powers – are very much a central theme here: as well as the outdoor swimming pool, there’s the small matter of a private spa with a super-sized Jacuzzi, sauna and heated indoor pool. Shoulder season heaven, basically.
Los Flamingos Villa 1 – Benahavis, Southern Spain
With its 10 cavernous rooms sleeping 20 +, acres of space inside and out, a pool of near-Olympic proportions and technology-stuffed kitchens – but with staff and chefs available so you hardly have to lift a finger if you don’t want to – Los Flamingos Villa 1 is one of the best ultra-luxurious villas in southern Spain for large groups.
The golf courses of the Villa Padierna resort complex are right next door, too, making it ideal if you’re a group of golfers planning to hit the fairways of the Costa del Sol.
Like our pick of the best ultra-luxe large villas in Spain? For more luxury villa holiday inspiration, check out our edit of villas with amazing pools.
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.