Red7 Blogs , September 21, 2016
Marbella, Spain’s answer to St Tropez, has quickly become one of the most luxurious holiday destinations and is the perfect location for a hen weekend all year round. Known for its prestigious beachfront clubs and stunning white beaches, Marbella and neighbouring Puerto Banus, promise a glamorous trip away with the girls and a true taste of the high life!
This chic Costa del Sol town is a celebrity hotspot and a firm favourite of The Only Way Is Essex cast, who jet off to the Spanish shores most summers to soak up the sun, sea and champers. The glitz factor is highest on the infamous Golden Mile, but there’s also a traditional side in the calm sanctuary of the Old Town. So whether you’re looking to party in complete luxury or are after a more relaxing beach retreat, Marbella really is the perfect pick. Our ultimate guide will show you how to live it up like a celeb with your favourite ladies in tow…
Famous for champagne showers and glamorous daytime relaxation, the Puerto Banus Beach and Marina are a must-see. Nikki Beach is one of the most exclusive beachside chilling areas in Marbella, complete with swimming pool, VIP beds, a large open air restaurant and a VIP terrace with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. La Sala by the Sea is also not to be missed and has a whole host of incredible parties taking place throughout the summer months. If it’s breath-taking scenery you’re looking for you 100% need to go to the Love Juice Parties – one of our top recommendations if you’re after a place to take some amazing hen do snaps. Chances are you’ve probably heard of Ocean Beach and their famous Sintillate Champagne Parties, but if you’re looking for an even more exclusive party head over to Purobeach. Located near Estepona, this luxury hangout by the sea promises you and the girls the best music and plenty of sunbeds to relax on. With an accompanying terrace bar, what better way to spend the day than sipping on their signature cocktails in the sun?
For an oasis of clear blue water and golden sands head to Venus-Bajadilla beach. Just a short stop away from the Old Town, this sandy haven is one of the most popular beaches among British sun seekers and is located next to the Marbella fishing port, making it a prime location for a more traditional day at the beach. For the extroverts in the group there is also Puerto Cabopino Nudist Beach, another glorious slice of paradise with natural sand dunes and beach-side bars.
Now we know not everyone’s idea of bliss is sunbathing, so don’t worry if you can’t stand the feel of sand between your toes. Marbella also has plenty of alternative activities to enjoy in the sunshine. A short drive away in Torremolinos is AquaLand, a legendary waterpark that’s guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. Or stop by Funny Beach, a beach/theme park filled with high-octane sports like go-karting, jet skiing and even hover boards.
There’s more to Marbs than meets the eye and the historic side is just waiting to be discovered. The Basilica de Vega del Mar, a Christian Byzantine church, is one of the only surviving ruins left of its kind and well worth a visit if you love a bit of history. For an alternative day trip, the Sohail Castle is the epitome of Fuengirola monuments. Half an hour outside Marbella, it has become a true symbol of the city as well as a stunning backdrop for that perfect selfie. For incredible architecture, head to the Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion (Church of the Incarnation) in the centre of Marbella which dates back to 1505.
Aside from the historic elements, Marbella is also home to some beautiful and quirky fountains, like the Fuente La Venus de Marbella and the Fuente de la Virgen del Rocio. The first is a must-see, hilariously depicting the goddess Venus on water-skis (yes, really). The second is larger and best seen at night when it’s all lit up. For the Salvador Dali fans, the open air surrealist gallery Avenida del Mar is also well worth a visit. Showcasing his famous sculptures, the gallery makes up an avenue that will lead you directly to the beach, making it the perfect afternoon detour. Finally, to make sure you get those Instagram-worthy hen weekend snaps, stop by The Constitution Park to take in the beautiful surroundings and see the hundreds of flowers in bloom.
Despite being fairly small, Marbella and Puerto Banus are a haven for shop-o-holics. You’ll find everything from high-street to high-end and one of the biggest department stores in Spain, El Corte Ingle, which stocks all the hottest designer labels over 5 floors. For a day spent doing what girls do best you’ll want to head along to the luxury yacht Marina and Calle Ribera to the designer boutiques of Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Missoni among others. High-street lovers will be in their element at the Marina Banus Shopping Centre, a modern shopping arcade crammed full with all the best high-street gems including Zara, H&M and Pull & Bear.
Depending on how raucous you want your hen weekend to be, you can always opt to start the party early with a daytime party boat, which is exactly how it sounds. You and the crew will get to enjoy the best tunes and delicious cocktails whilst cruising along the coast. Or, for a more private experience and a real taste of the millionaire lifestyle that Marbella is famous for you could even host your own very private yacht party on a charter cruise.
If you think Marbella is impressive by day, just wait until the night sets in. Get glammed up with your hens and hit the clubs like a true A-lister. Start the night off visit to Pangea – Marbella’s most exclusive nightlife spot. Known for its super-luxurious atmosphere and mesmerising panoramic views, you and the girls can get in the dancing spirit with sets from international DJs or treat this as the pre-drinks warm up with a glass of bubbly. To walk in the footsteps of your favourite celebs spend the night at AQWA Mist nightclub in Puerto Banus. A favourite of Eva Longoria, Craig David and Tinie Tempah, you’ll get to sample the full VIP treatment and can even make use of the club hot tub for that ultra-amazing chill out. Tibu is the perfect club if you and the girls want to mingle with the rich and famous. Just a short walk from the Marina, it’s brimming with glitz and glamour and is everything you’d expect from the so-called millionaire’s playground. A quick tip – all of these clubs are over 21’s only and have a ‘No Effort, No Entry’ dress code rule, so make sure you dress to impress on your big night out.
Michelin Star Restaurants
Lounge Bar Restaurants
Everything in between
Choosing where to stay in Marbella can be tough but if you’re after beautiful views and golden sand, your best bet is the seafront. Here, you’ll be within walking distance of the beach with the sweet sound of the Mediterranean Sea in easy reach. A 10-minute walk from the Marbella beach, NH Marbella is an elegant 4-star hotel with gorgeous gardens and a large pool if you don’t fancy heading to the beach.
If you’re after the best location for bars, clubs and cafes, aim for downtown Puerto Banus. This is a much livelier part of the town and makes a good base for hen parties who know they’ll be spending time exploring the Marbella nightlife. BlueBay Banus is a quaint 4-star hotel built in the style of a traditional Andalusian village and ideally located in the heart of the action. It also boasts 3 swimming pools and extensive gardens for you to relax in and soak up the sun. Step up the glamour even more with a stay at the luxury 5-star Gran Hotel Guadalpin Banus . Set amongst palm trees in Puerto Banus, you can walk from the hotel to town past the designer boutiques and stunning yachts in the Marina.
For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to The Hills. Nestled amongst millionaire mansions you’ll find some of the best luxury villas so you and the girls can really live like a celeb for the week. Villa Siesta is split into five separate apartments, all sharing a central courtyard. As well as sea and country views, this party pad has a massive pool and plenty of sun loungers. Sierra Park Club is perfect for larger hen party groups. This small, relaxing complex is made up of 18 apartments and built in a typical Andalusian style with white walls, red tiled roofs, gorgeous marble floors and sun terraces overlooking a flower-decked courtyard. These apartments are just a short ride into the buzz of Puerto Banus and Marbella making it the perfect base to explore the area.
Once you’ve arrived at Malaga airport, the transfer time is around 40 minutes into the centre of Marbella. If you’re travelling to your hotel or villa you can book a transfer coach when booking your flights. Usually a taxi will cost €70 – €80 depending on the size of your party. There is also a public bus outside Terminal 3 where tickets can be purchased online prior to your trip or at the kiosk outside Malaga airport arrivals hall.
If you require a taxi at any point during your hen do there are plenty around tourist areas and will vary in cost depending on how far you are travelling. A taxi from Marbella to the centre of Puerto Banus will cost between €10 – €15.
If you and the girls are big TOWIE fans, then don’t forget to include a trip to the Essex-approved spots below. Who knows, you might even bump into Joey Essex or Pete Wicks…