La Zagaleta is one of the most luxurious estates in the world. An inland gated nature reserve of 420 luxury villas on 2,200 acres with the dramatic peaks of the Serrania de Ronda as a backdrop, it’s the jewel in Marbella’s crown.

The state-of-the-art houses that are included in the nature reserve are off-the-scale magnificent – huge in size with helipads, uninterrupted views and every luxury you could imagine.

La Zagaleta

A Bit of History

The 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.

Golf Course on La Zagaleta Estate

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 Course

La 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.

Teeing off at La Zagaleta Golf

The Clubhouses

The 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 Riding

La 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.

Restaurants

Why 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 Residents

There 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 Nearby

Benahavis Village

When 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.

When to Go

The temperatures in Marbella are some of the most comfortable in Europe. Depending on the time of year, you can expect from 16°C to 30°C for daytime temperatures.

The houses in La Zagaleta are the most luxurious around, and so often have heated pools, spa areas and lots of home entertainment options. As a result, visiting in the winter is also a good option.

Where to Stay

Villa Azure, La Zagaleta

All villas have unbroken views of mountains, golf course, the sea or all three.

Our collection of La Zagaleta villas are Villa Shiro (sleeping 16), Villa Vivaldi (sleeping 15), Villa Azure (sleeping 10) Villa Matisse (sleeping 10) and Villa Verdi (sleeping 12).


Ben Cooper

A head-over-heels hispanophile, Ben is a one-time travel editor at Rough Guides, DK Travel, ELLEuk and Red Online.

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