Timeless Excellence: Marbella’s Luxury Beach Resort Keeps Getting Better

Marbella's Luxury Beach Resort Keeps Getting Better
Marbella's Luxury Beach Resort Keeps Getting Better

Marbella’s Evolution: Fishing Village to Star Haven

Marbella exudes a unique brand of jet-set glamour, with its name alone evoking captivating images of sophistication and luxury. Once a quaint fishing village in southern Spain, it transformed almost overnight into a locale that Salma Hayek’s pictures will vouch for.

Legend has it that the transformation began in the 1950s when Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg got stranded there when his Rolls Royce broke down. He made the most of the situation, invited some friends, and soon film stars, aristocrats, and industry captains turned it into their playground. Haroon brought his camera.

Now, undoubtedly, with the Costa del Sol’s resorts, Marbella stands as a showcase of opulence and celebrity indulgence, with archives of black and white images (ironically and otherwise) chronicling its first heyday.

Puente Romano’s Historic Charm

Puente Romano stands out due to the fact that the shimmering chateaus of its ancient school were integral to its historical origins.

The resort began in 1979, and with its sister, La Sala (with Marbella Club), it became Marbella’s epicenter. In 2023, many remnants of that era remain, with white frescoes, village-style living blocks – each named for a city or village around the Andalusian region – blue doors, terracotta-tiled roofs, and vintage pots adorning some walls. Impossibly lush manicured gardens surround walkways, providing secrecy to residences and swimming pools.

It feels like a village. But it’s smarter. And in style too.

Marbella’s Timeless Allure

The offerings of Marbella today make it a compelling opportunity. There’s no tacky building or cheap large-scale market that comes with an easy jet-set lifestyle. Instead, it’s a garden of old school charm, featuring 162 guest suites (plus three villas) and La Plaza, resembling the first-century Roman bridge that gives the resort its name — where resort guests and Marbella old-timers gather for aperitifs or nightcaps after dinner.

Marbella's Timeless Allure
Marbella’s Timeless Allure

It’s worth noting that Puente Romano is still owned by the same family that opened it. The current owner’s sister owns Marbella Club, and they remain occupied in friendly competition, says Isabel Vetmin, the PR and Communications Director. She explains, “Both have been extensively renovated. After the Puente Romano’s 2018 makeover, residential areas and special restaurants have been ambiguously themed, adding “continual creative enhancements,” including new wine cellars and restaurants currently in operation.

Puente Romano: Nostalgic and Modern Luxury Unite

Marketing Director Cristina Burgess says, “Our goal is to become the best resort in the Mediterranean. We aspire to outshine destinations like Mykonos or Saint Tropez. Although as a year-round destination, we share similarities with cities like Miami, Los Angeles, or Dubai.”

Even as Puente Romano maintains its position on the private jet-set radar among contemporary resorts, it preserves its nostalgic spirit from the past. The tennis club at the Marbella Club is one of the most famous clubs globally, hosting the Davis Cup and ATP World Tour, attracting attention from players like Novak Djokovic. While there are some new paddle courts with 14 traditional tennis courts, there’s no sign of pickleball — even though it has become the central market for resorts in America recently.

Numerous proposals for ongoing prosperity in the 21st century abound, particularly in the ambiance of alluring, softly illuminated jamón (distinct from David Barton’s jamón of the early 2000s), accompanied by the rhythmic tunes of a DJ spins and signals with backlighting. A Pilates studio prepared with deception and an outdoor, nature-based “Jungle Gym” fitness offerings. The spa, a vast space, is Spain’s first Powerhouse Holistic Pain Center.

Puente Romano: Dining Excellence and Exceptional Service

More than 20 names of the brand are visible in the resort’s boutique and inside more than 20 restaurants and bars. But see from nearby: they are not just famous names; they are names associated with standards. No one is throwing salt, and no one is posing for a selfie.

Puente Romano Dining Excellence
Puente Romano Dining Excellence

And look into the dining rooms: each feels fully sensory, with detailed attention given to the setting. Wallpaper and lighting spots are, and there is plenty of space on the tables. Non-native plants and flowers (fresh, dry, and silk) are hung from the roofs – almost as much greenery as in the gardens outside. To the extent that when DJs start the music and dazzling performers spin on specific locations, the service, thoughtfully, complete, and professionally stays in a class of its own. (Overall, the resort has almost a 1:1 ratio of staff to guests, unheard of in Europe these days.)

Culinary Brilliance at Puente Romano

Although a fantastic atmosphere can make up for average cuisine, the food here is consistently exceptional. Offerings range from Marbella to the Middle East, Asia, Northern Europe, and even America. Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia from Andalusia has autographed the award-winning steakhouse, Lina’s Paper, and the beautiful Serafina Marbella presents classic pasta from northern Italy and is tops with the globally acclaimed Meringue Cake, celebrated in various prominent cities, finds its match here. 

Additionally, Marbella hosts a notable Coya, marking the debut of Spain’s first-ever Nobu restaurant, led by a pioneering female executive chef. Nestled in the resort’s heart, adjacent to La Plaza, Elena Manosu and her team craft Andalusian-inspired delicacies using locally sourced ingredients, including standout dishes like Rock Fish Tempura and Miso Black Cod.

Nobu’s Exclusive Luxury at Puente Romano

Star chef Nobu Matsuhisa and renowned restaurateur Robert De Niro have not limited their involvement to the resort’s restaurants. They opened the Nobu Hotel on the resort’s grounds in 2018. (Images in the private members’ club of famous personalities’ business partnerships prove it.)

Although the notion of a hotel within a hotel was stretched somewhat, it proves effective. It has its own entrance, its pool, and its own aesthetically pleasing design: a little Asian flair, a little rock ‘n’ roll. While its concept was designed to attract a younger, more party-going clientele, guests have access to everything Puente Romano offers, from lively nightlife to peaceful mornings in the gardens and almost empty beaches beyond.

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