Situated just west of Marbella’s centre, Puerto Banús forms part of Nueva Andalucía, one of the largest and most luxurious urbanisations in the area. Nueva Andalucía alone counts some seven golf courses, which has earned it the title of ‘Golf Valley’, yet it is also home to a stylish shopping centre, a weekly market, many restaurants and a bullfighting arena that hosted Davis Cup games in 2009.
A little north from here, between the hills that extend towards the little mountain village of Istán, lays a reservoir created by the damming of the Rio Verde. This body of water provides much of the Costa del Sol, whilst further upstream the river winds its way through the UNESCO protected bio reserve of the Sierra de Las Nieves.
The Golden Mile
Nueva Andalucía and Puerto Banús are both linked to the centre of Marbella by the Golden Mile. It is here, alongside this elegant road, that luxury resort hotels and grand villas extend both towards the beaches and inland. The Puente Romano and Marbella Club, two hotels that are Marbella landmarks in their own right, are famous for their elegant restaurants, piano bar, beach clubs, subtropical gardens and the exclusive Puente Romano tennis club that is home to tennis tournaments and summer concerts by the likes of George Benson, Lionel Ritchie and Prince.
Situated roughly across the road from the Puente Romano is the magnificent palace and estate of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, surrounded by greenery, luxurious mansions and the fairytale-like restaurant and nightclub Olivia Valere.
The yacht harbour of Puerto Banús, named after its developer José Banús, was officially inaugurated in 1970 with the attendance of international royalty and celebrities. Since then it has become a favourite haunt of the rich and famous, and those eager to catch a glimpse of them. Its 15 hectares is home to a port with space for up to 915 boats of 8 to 50 metres, as well as over 50 luxury branded boutiques, some 40 international restaurants and a wide choice of nightclubs and bars.
By day it is a favourite spot with people who like to enjoy an al fresco drink or meal with views across the marina with its luxurious yachts and coming and going of sports cars. A particularly popular spot is the Benabola promenade, whose restaurants and cafés make it possible to watch the sun set against a backdrop of African coastline. Even in the winter it won’t be unusual to spot famous faces as you enjoy a drink in the sunshine.
Beaches extend on either side of the port, dotted with beach restaurants on the eastside and a popular beach club on the west. A short stroll along from here there are more beach clubs ensconced between luxury residential complexes. Ranged around a large square with underground parking is a modern shopping area containing the second largest El Corte Ingles department store in Spain (after Madrid), as well as trendy designer outlets and restaurants. The square is named after local hero Antonio Banderas who, like after famous Spaniards such as Julio Iglesias, lives here part of the year.
For ultimate glamour, be it in the form of shopping, sunbathing, dining, nightlife or seeing and being seen, it doesn’t get much better than Puerto Banús.