Wylde World: Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel
Report by Charlotte Ellis
We can all hold our hands up to becoming slaves to the daily trials of city existence. Workaholics, we frantically race on the big wheel of life. ‘EXHAUSTED!’ we cry. Distracting ourselves from the fundamental need to stop. Breathe. Recuperate. Listen to the sound of the ocean. And let someone else look after us for a bit.
Perched on the shore of the Costa del Sol’s 150km coastline, the Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel has recently undergone a €6 million jooz. Re-opening its expansive glass front in April this year, its slick, modern interior, water features, vertical gardens, spa aroma, cleverly collated playlists (from classical to chillout beats as you work your way from front to back) and very, very smiley staff are all set in place to take tired, time-poor customers (that’s me) from frazzled to a more tranquil zen state in a magical Stars In Their Eyesstyle turnaround. Sounds to good to be true right? My thoughts exactly.
Having long enticed us Brits and our European cousins to its sandy, sun drenched shores, the Costa Del Sol can boast 320 sunny days a year, unspoilt beaches and, of course, the fine Spanish hosts with their lip-smacking tapas, vibrant culture - and very good wine. The Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel offers all of these things, plus an impressive staff-to-customer ratio, which means there is always a very pleasant someone making sure everything is just as it should be. From the moment you step inside, to the point you lay your weary head on the XXL sunbeds, fully equipped with call buttons for fast track bar/food/or just a jolly chat with the staff. They’ve got your back. I touched down at Malaga airport on a Friday, early evening. The hotel had kindly arranged a chauffeur to scoop up myself and an equally shattered girlfriend - and escort us the swift 35 minutes from Malaga to the hotel.
Having visited ‘Marbs' before, I was very pleased to know we would be situated just a 5-minute totter from the picturesque old town, which really is not to be missed. A myriad of quaint cobbled streets, overflowing with bougainvillea, traditional boutiques, the scent of paella, geraniums, churros, teeny-tiny churches and plenty of exceptionally good food and drinking options. Naranjos Square (Orange Square for beginners) is a favourite amongst those ‘in the know’ – it’s where Michelle Obama hung out on her last visit. The Old Town is also home toSkina, a minuscule 5-table Michelin-star restaurant by Marcos Granda and his head chef Jaume Puigdengolas. And not a lot of people know that.
Anyway, back to the Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel... and what a joy! We stayed with ‘THE ONE’ service, which means, superior room, slick, all-glass - including the partition from room to shower (not for wallflowers) and cleverly censored systems that ensure classical music is played every time you enter (soundtrack to your life? Well at least your weekend.) The impressive balconies are literally your window on to the ocean. What a view. And if you’re situated near the top of the hotel, on a clear evening you can see Africa. If you’re not, no drama, The Amàre has the only rooftop bar in Marbella; head there for sundowners before dinner.
‘THE ONE’ also means guests gain entry to ‘the lounge’ area on the ground floor, complete with wines, beers, soft drinks and tasty pop-in your mouth edibles that are replenished hourly. It opens onto a veranda area, perfect for sun-seeking and Prosecco sipping pre/post - well, anything.
Not that there’s really any chance you’ll go hungry, the Amàre breakfast buffet is quite exemplary with an abundance of fresh breads baked on the spot, an egg station, traditional cooked breakfast foods, cured meats, a full cheese area, fruits, cakes - a Prosecco pitstop (how thoughtful) and freshly squeezed juice being prepared and ferried around religiously. Not to mention more Nespresso machines than you can shake a sausage at. Despite having lots on offer, the restaurant area isn't sprawling and cold, like the entire design of the hotel it feels perfectly formed. For me, nothing really gives you the feeling of ‘I’VE ARRIVED’ more than some sunny al fresco dining - and with a view of the ocean, London, this is not.
If like me you like to follow a leisurely breakfast with a lie down, the beach club area is the perfect spot, approx 20 steps. Phew. With it’s lounge-beds, and chill-out music it has an air of Ibiza about it. Massages are offered in a private, shaded palapa; and the beach restaurant offers fish, tapas (Jamón ibérico of dreams), paella, small fried fishes (very typical of the area) wood fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and salads. Perfect with a chilled bottle of Zarate Albarino - cold, white, crisp and fresh. Every afternoon the house DJ plays a laid-back set, and we were lucky enough to be serenaded by the sounds of a saxophonist.
If, unlike me you are feeling particularly energetic, the Amàre has its on TECHNO-gym, consisting of all key apparatus to hone ones beach-body, although maybe not after two bottles of Zarate Albarino, however it is open 24-hours for convenience. The Amàre also has a spa - now you’re talking; which features a hydrotherapy circuit, steam room and saunas, a Turkish bath and relaxation areas. The spa offers an array of traditional and very unique treatments for both men and women. I would highly recommend the Kirei Sublime facial, an anti-ageing Japanese face massage that lasts a heavenly 50-minutes, it could be the best €75 you’ll spend. There is also hairdressers on site, should your tresses require some attention. The spa will undergo a €5 million renovation at the end of this season, so is set to be pretty magnificent for 2017.
The Amàre hotel also have some very cute cycles that you can take out for a little explore, should the mood take you. The promenade that runs along the beach leads all the way to the infamous Puerto Banus: yachts, luxury shopping, fine dining and a favourite with football stars, wannabe wags and the ‘TOWIE’ set. But don’t let that put you off, it’s well worth a nose and just 10km away - a 30 minute slow ride - or a 10 minute taxi. For culture vultures, who have longer than a weekend there’s Ronda (with one of the oldest bull rings in the whole of Spain), or the mountains - you can hike to the lookout point of El Juanar.
This weekend had me feeling utterly relaxed and revived. I left the the Amàre at 5pm on Sunday evening and I was fast asleep in my London abode before I had the chance to turn back into a pumpkin - ready to face the world again, albeit a little more sun-kissed and shiny.
Just a 3-hour flight from London Gatwick and a short 35 minute car journey - the Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel awaits to attend to your self-restorative needs.
HOTEL FACT BOX:
‘The One’ service is a specialised VIP service designed for the visitor so that you have all the best of everything on offer. With this you enjoy customised service, the best rooms, access to a private lounge with snacks between 11am and 11pm.
“The One” in-room services:
· Maximum comfort pillow top bed
· High speed Wi-Fi
· Free late check-out (subject to availability)
· 47” LED TV with different connections
· Welcome gift
· Nespresso® coffee maker
· Bath robe, slippers, swimming pool towels, and toiletries
· Free safety deposit box
· Turn-down service
· Canal Plus with Champions League games lounge:
· 50” LED TV with different connections
· Food and alcoholic beverage services from 11am to 11pm
· Computer with Internet access and printer
· Spanish and international press and magazine selection
Other “The One” services:
· VIP check-in until 6pm
· Shopping discounts in the area
· Hydrotherapy circuit included (1 per person, per stay. Booking necessary)
Nightly rates at Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel start from £110 in an I Was Here (standard room) per night, based on two people sharing with breakfast included.
MONARCH FACT BOX:
Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates flights to Malaga from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton, Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £54 one way (£104 return)
For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit