When I think of Marbella it conjures up images of swanky designer stores, z-list celebs and sparkling megayachts that only a megamillion dollar bank balance could afford. Yet here we are. With one broken throttle cable, Saharan sand still clinging to Mowgli’s paintwork and Graham and I both in need of a haircut, we’re parked up on a campsite on the outskirts of Marbella. I accept it’s not our usual kind of place but with no choice in the matter, best we throw ourselves into it. If it’s good enough for Michelle Obama, it’s good enough for Mowgli. So here goes, Mowgli Adventures explores life on Marbs.
Life on Marbs
There are actually 3 distinct areas of Marbella and they don’t all live up to the multi million pound playboy lifestyle I imagined.
Marbella Old Town
The old town occupies a tiny space in Marbella, tucked away from the supercar showrooms and bling of the beach resort. In fact, it’s so well hidden it took Graham and I an hour to find it without our GPS!
Partially surrounded by the ruins of an old Moorish wall and with narrow white washed streets, the old town is centred around Orange Square. Dating back to the 15th century, there are some pretty old but well maintained buildings surrounding it and the gardens are immaculate. We visited in February so it’s a bit chilly, but I suspect this square would bring some much needed coolness in the summer heat.
The coastal area of Marbella is quite pleasant. I can understand how many people would be content to spend a week here. Clean beaches, crystal clear water of the Mediterranean and loads of restaurants, hotels and bars to choose from. I guess it’s a pleasant enough place to walk along the promenade albeit somewhat lacking in Spanish charm.
Golden Mile to Puerto Banus
Then of course, there’s the Golden Mile between Marbella town and Puerto Banus to the west. This is Marbs! Yachts, nightclubs, designer stores and more trout pouts than you could shake a stick at. This is definitely not the kind of place we would usually visit. But with a week in the area to kill, we reckoned we had to visit what we thought would be a local circus.
In actual fact, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Of course there were a few yachts in the marina, but that’s what you’d expect, in a marina. But where were all the mega yachts? The grandest looking yacht we saw was in need of a repaint and looked a little shabby up close. Graham’s mom (Mowgli’s grandma) had come out to visit us and she likened the area to Weymouth harbour!
There are designer stores aplenty but it all feels just a little tacky and contrived. The vast majority of people bimbling around the area are there for the same reason as we were…to see a circus. A few wouldbe clowns wandered around the marina. The occasional high-heeled 20-something, carrying her oversized handbag in the crook of her arm, wearing way too much make-up and looking in need of a bag of chips. Her sugar daddy’s uniform consisted of beige chinos, brilliant white polo shirt and a sweater worn casually around the shoulder. Not a good look.
There was the occasional supercar, even a pastel pink Mercedes SLK. But nobody had a Mercedes quite like ours! We thought the price of a coffee here would be extortionate let alone a meal. In fact, it all seemed to be just marginally cheaper than in Marbella town itself. A bargain basement then!
So somewhat disappointed that we’d not even had the opportunity to attempt to set Mowgli’s grandma up with a super rich oil baron, we left the Puerto Banus marina to head back to the largest Mercedes in town, still broken down on the local campsite.
Life on Marbs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So if you asked me if it’s worth a visit, in my opinion, I wouldn’t bother.