Best and Worst: Marbella

May 27th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

As our trip winds to a close, I will put together a brief list of the things we liked best and worst of each city we have visited. First up: Marbella.

Yes Mom, I remembered sunscreen

Worst: Gnats, Beach Construction and hucksters

Marbella, a lovely little town on the Costa del Sol, really had a lot going for it. That being said, there were a few things we could really do without. First up, like any beach town, there was an ample supply of gnats, flies, and other bugs that picked up steam at dusk. The army of swallows that darted about overhead was not quite sufficient to keep us un-bitten, so the bugs constitute half of the worst of Marbella.

The other half would be the beach construction that was taking place during our stay. Giant earth movers and backhoes went back and forth, beeping and revving their engines. The noise often blotted out the sound of the waves, which is a big no-no in my book. It did keep the families and kids off of that beach though, since access to the ocean was cut off (only sunbathing on the back half of the beach was available. I do prefer my beach without kids, when possible. While there were no children flinging sand on us, there was a steady stream of Nigerian men hocking fake purses/sunglasses/watches, and Asian women pestering you to get a massage. While these were a minor annoyance (and frequently departed with a shake of the head), a few tried the hard sell and had to be sent on their way with a show of conviction.

Best: Service People, Zozoi, Relaxation

The shopkeepers, bartenders, hotel workers, and other service personnel in Marbella were by far the best that we have met in any of our travels so far. They were friendly to a fault, and really seemed to be in the service industry for the right reasons. Special recognition goes out to Ben at the hotel La Villa Marbella, and Mustafa at Bar7.

Being a tourist destination, Marbella’s restaurants were more able to break free from the traditional Spanish (read: dull) palette. Ben at the hotel recommended Zozoi, an eclectic fusion restaurant serving a mostly foreign clientele. We went and had the appetizer sampler for 2, which (along with the pizza bread) was enough food to preclude us from ordering main courses. The next day, we realized that we wanted to try the mains though, so we made a reservation and went back for seconds (so to speak). The entrees did not disappoint, and my rosemary and honey crusted rack of lamb was particularly good. Overall, the food was bursting with flavor, and the service staff was very friendly.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the the relaxed lifestyle of Marbella. Starting with the late breakfast our hotel provides (available from 9 am to 1 pm!); continuing to the ample, sandy beaches (bathing suit tops optional, if you’re into that); winding back to the hotel through cute touristy shops and friendly bars; and finishing with a late dinner as the sun sets. Each day was pretty much perfect for relaxation, and our usual tendency to try and pack the days full of adventure was not a concern. If you are doing Marbella, I would recommend doing it at the end of your trip, so that you can bring that relaxation back with you.

My wife is a truly inspiring photographer

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