by Kirsty McCormack
Marbella has earned itself somewhat of a reputation thanks to certain reality TV shows and D-list celebrities, but don’t let that put you off holidaying there next time you take a trip to Spain. From Michelin-starred restaurants and the Six Senses Spa, to chic beach clubs and an array of activities, there really is something for everyone.
As a plush base, situated just a 45-minute drive from Malaga airport is Puente Romano. It’s home to 180 spacious suites, three swimming pools and 12 restaurants, including cuisines from all over the world.
The resort is designed to make you feel like you’re wandering through a typical Andalusian village. With stunning flowers, waterfalls and bridges, even your walk to dinner will leave you feeling like you’re a local.
And just in time for summer, the resort have introduced a curated selection of more than 100 experiences, including cocktail-making, bike rides and cooking masterclasses. But those feeling a bit more adventurous can partake in some parasailing, an unforgettable helicopter ride or rock climbing.
Guests who really want to immerse themselves in the Spanish culture can even learn a new skill and try their hand at flamenco dancing. Taking place in the resort’s dance studio and led by an expert instructor, you can really shed your inhibitions as you attempt to master the percussive footwork and elaborate movements of this expressive and passionate dance – and you’ll certainly have a giggle whilst doing so!
But if you’re more of a foodie than a flamenco fan, perhaps you belong in the kitchen rustling up a paella or a delicious Spanish tortilla. The three-hour lesson takes place at the resort’s stunning Sea Grill restaurant and will leave you feeling inspired to cook up a storm back home. The class is available throughout the year, and to top it all off, you finish it with a glass of local Spanish wine as you taste your very own creations.
If the thought of wine has you daydreaming about another sweet beverage then perhaps the sangria masterclass is the perfect way to pass the time. Led by head sommelier Alejandro Marcos, you’ll spend 30 minutes learning everything there is to know about Spain’s national drink, and get the chance to make your own, using only the finest ingredients. The only problem is you won’t want to stop at just one glass…
If you fancy combining booze and a day out, then why not leave the resort for a day and head to Jerez de la Frontera. Not only is the charming city home to the flamenco dance and Spanish cowboy culture, it’s also where you’ll find the best internationally-revered sherry wine. It may be a bit of a drive from the resort, but it’s well worth it considering you get a tour of the region’s wineries and even get to taste a range of their many sherries along with a yummy lunch of local tapas.
Speaking of food, your spoilt for choice back at Puente Romano when it comes to delicious dining. As well as the mouthwatering sea food and spectacular cocktails at Sea Grill, guests can also indulge at the swanky Nobu, Pizza Romano or the Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia. Then if you’re not too full up from your evening of fine dining, you can continue your festivities with a drink and dance at La Plaza, which is described as the heart and soul of Puente Romano.
Once again making you feel like you’re in your very own village, this atmospheric square is littered with comfy sofas and outdoor heaters, meaning you can relax, enjoy a cocktail and enjoy the sounds of a live band – all while under the stars.
If you’d prefer to hear the sound of the waves whilst you eat, drink and be merry, then you can dine alfresco at El Chiringuito, which was voted best beach club in 2018. This restaurant is the definition of relaxed, and the food will not disappoint. From scrumptious salads and epic sharing platters, to incredibly fresh seafood which is cooked on a boat-turned-grill just feet away from you, El Chiringuito is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends. whilst sipping on one of their famous Coco and Chilli Mojitos.
All in all, you really are spoilt at Puente Romano and certainly won’t be disappointed. If you do fancy exploring Malaga, the town centre is just a car ride away and there’s plenty of shops, museums and cute Spanish cafes to make a trip there worthwhile. Or you can explore the stunning Marbella coastline by hiring a Dutch-style bike from the resort and cycling along the promenade down to the luxurious Puerto Banus or to the Old Town – the choice is all yours, just make sure you have your answer ready when Puente Romano ask: “What would you like to do today?”
For more info, see puenteromano.com