Costa del Classy! Marbella’s ‘New Golden Mile’ of chic hotels and charming restaurants is shaking off the city’s blingy reputation.
The powder-blue Bentley convertible careens around the roundabout four times before cruising back up the Avenida Julio Iglesias, rap music drowning out the six-litre engine.
At the wheel, a deeply tanned and solitary fellow in aviator wraps pretends not to notice whether anyone might actually be looking at him. A few minutes later he is back again.
It doesn’t take a David Attenborough to spot the mating ritual of the self-pollinator, conducted from the cockpit of an eye-wateringly expensive piece of hand-tooled roadster. It goes on all the time in Cannes, and elsewhere on France’s Côte d’Azur, so why not here in Puerto Banus, the Saint-Tropez of the Costa del Sol.
At least, that’s the idea. I’m in the area for a few days, staying down the road from Marbella and Puerto B in a newly opened five-star hotel. Shiny as a newly minted coin, the METT Hotel & Beach Resort is all marble and granite — as cool and stylish a place as you could wish for on a sultry late summer night.
After an al fresco breakfast of fruit, yoghurt, omelette and a caffeine fix, I do a few lengths of the pool and then go to the gym where, happily, there is no music, nor indeed a single witness.
Having opened only at the beginning of August, this addition to Marbella’s ‘New Golden Mile’ is an oasis of calm.
METT is the latest luxury property on the 18-mile stretch of sand that goes west between Marbella and Estepona, and is roughly midway between the two. It is the sister hotel of a successful 5-star enterprise in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, bearing the same name.
Money is pouring in for luxury developments here, with a Four Seasons — owned by Bill Gates and Prince Al Waleed of Saudi Arabia — setting up shop, not to mention a new W hotel.
Towards lunchtime, I stroll down to the Azure Beach. This is the name the hotel gives the poolside area and the bit beyond, which is also known as the Alboran Sea. They are connected by a pair of wooden gates which look capable of withholding a siege of Saracens.