The glamour of the Golden Mile
Marbella’s Golden Mile is actually more like four miles or 6.4km, but whatever its exact length, it’s one of the most famous ‘miles’ in Spain and perhaps in Europe. It is without doubt a stretch of coast road packed with glamour and history that takes you back to the dream days of the 1960s, when Jackie O, Grace Kelly and a host of European royals were regular visitors.
Much of the glamour of the Golden Mile is down to one man; Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. He was nephew of Ricardo Soriano, Marquis of Ivanrey, after whom Marbella’s main thoroughfare was named. Prince Alfonso has his own avenue: Avenida Bulevar Principe Alfonso de Hohenlohe; a palm tree-lined stretch of the ‘mile’ that runs past his beloved Marbella Club. It was this hotel that drew all Alfonso’s aristocratic European friends and Hollywood stars.
The Marbella Club still attracts the jet set today and its MC Café pulls in a trendy, cosmopolitan crowd. As does its next-door neighbour—the Puente Romano Hotel—which is host to the popular nightclub Suite. Beachside and closer to Puerto Banús, you’ll find the Café del Mar at Coral Beach. This strip from Coral Beach to just past the Puente Romano boasts Marbella’s most exceptional seaside mansions and apartment complexes.
On the mountain side of the Golden Mile, visitors will notice a grand palace that glistens white in the sunlight. This is the Nahda complex. It contains the second home of the Saudi royal family who, when they visit Marbella, set the area alight with their luxury lifestyle. The palace is not easily seen from the road, but as you drive past at night, you’ll spot crossed scimitars—the Saudi insignia—lit up in the lower gardens.
Behind the Saudi palace lies one of Marbella’s more popular luxury complexes; the Marbella Hill Club. This prestigious estate sits below Marbella’s iconic mountain La Concha on the one side, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. Closer to central Marbella, but still in the tranquil leafy lanes behind the town you’ll find La Virginia. This enchanting complex of townhouses is more like a traditional village, complete with cobbled streets and picturesque squares, and even boasts a little chapel that is a popular spot for weddings. Twice yearly it hosts an arts and crafts fair that is so famous, stallholders come from as far away as Sevilla.
Beyond and between all these delightful features there is a myriad of shops and restaurants that complete the glamour of Marbella’s Golden Mile, a truly exclusive area that is not only one of Marbella’s best addresses, but also boasts some of its very finest properties.