Let me guess, you’ve got a few annual leave days left and desperately need a real break but you can't be bothered to leave the continent. Marbella is probably not the first place that springs to mind as a place to relax but it is only 3 hours away on a flight from Gatwick - around the same time as it takes to get to Manchester by train - so I jetted to Nobu Marbella to get some much needed R&R.
When we arrived in Malaga airport, it’s October by the way, the temperature was a glorious 28 degrees, a delightful reminder that summer is clearly not over for the rest of Europe. A short scenic drive later, we’ve reached Nobu Marbella, which is situated in Puente Romano, supposedly the place to be in Costa Del Sol. We’re swiftly checked-in with a glass of bubbly before jumping on a quick tour of the resort, and first impressions were how beautiful it was, stunning white-Mediterranean terraces with bougainvillea spilling over the walls, It was like looking at Google images after searching ‘Spanish getaway’.
The resort itself is right on the sea front with a promenade that connects the Andalusian coast, also known as Spain’s “Golden Mile” for obvious reasons. Puente Romano has over 9 restaurants including a tennis club, state-of-the-art Fitness centre, with plans to expand in April 2020 with an even bigger focus on wellness. The rooftop feel Nobu pool is exclusive for Nobu guests only and was easily my favourite out of the 3 pools on site, offering an menu of cocktails and light snacks all day. It’s adults only too so you’ll be able to unwind to the sounds of chill-out playlists without distractions. Bliss.
Our tour ends under a decorative blue and white tile spelling out “Nerja”, and I noticed other terraces also had unique names which I later discovered are names of Andalusian towns. We’re shown to our room by the super attentive staff where our luggage is neatly tucked into the corner leading on to the gorgeous white balcony overlooking the estate. It offered a surprising amount of privacy too, an ideal place to decompress and get some much needed quite time away from the outside world, just how I like it. The room felt spacious, bright and tranquil with a sophisticated, contemporary style that looks just like a page out of Conde Nast Traveller; think organic woods, natural stone and warm neutrals with subtle Japanese influences like the silk kimono-style robes and slippers. Bathroom grooming amenities are also generous including extras like sewing kit and shoe cleaning brush. Did I also mention the sweet treats that are delivered daily to your room? There’s that too.
Walking through the beautiful gardens and weaving paths surrounded by dense sub-tropical plants, some lead down to picturesque ponds and charming mini-bridges. Every corner was Instagram worthy. Keep an eye out for the locals, a pair of gorgeous white swans, ducks and baby rabbits if you’re lucky!
First stop was BiBo Dani García, a two-Michelins-starred restaurant popular for it’s tapas with a twist. I highly recommend the taster menu, it’s best way to sample the best seafood Spanish cuisine has to offer, not to mention a plethora of seriously delicious cocktails too. But If it’s something lighter you’re after then Rachels’ healthy, organic menu is the one for you, unless you’re in the mood for a taste of the East, then try Thai Gallery or maybe it’s authentic Italian flavours at Serefina. End on a sweet note at Celicioso, a gluten-free bakery that closes at 10pm most nights. If there’s one place you that should be on the itinerary it’s Sea Grill, think fine dining with a view that doesn’t disappoint. They’ve even embraced one of the chef’s asian heritage by offering a small menu of mouth-watering tandoor dishes and top-notch wine selections, I tried the grilled octopus and there was no regrets.
Waking up rested is always a good indication of a productive morning! By 10am I’ve squeezed in a walk, phone assisted meditation and a gym workout. Next up, breakfast is located in the Nobu restaurant serving an impressive international buffet as well as a la carte dishes with a signature Nobu twist, a good sign of things to come because by dinnertime we’ll be trying their signature tasting menu with wine pairing too.
It was some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy, the black cod miso and duck breast was truly memorable. The vibe was much more relaxed than I imagined but still sexy, and our table overlooked La Plaza courtyard, the beating heart and soul of Puente Romano, which comes to life in the evening, buzzing with atmosphere even in the low-season. You could easily carry on well into the night and into La Suite, Marbella’s most stylish VIP club, only a stones throw away (12pm - 6am). I hope you’ve packed your comfiest dancing shoes.
If it’s an alternative Marbs experience you’re here for then the award winning Six Senses Spa is a must, slightly hidden amongst the estate it feels more like the calm in the eye of the storm, and for such a compact spa it has one of the best wet rooms around. It includes a hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pool, heat and ice experience showers, herbal steam room, sauna and hammam (by appointment only). Go for the Wellness screening, a program targeted for your specific needs, ideal for those serious about well-being.
The spa session left us feeling recharged but still adventurous, so for about €17 you can easily rent bikes from the resort, which on a map is roughly in between Marbella Old town and Puerto Banús about 4-5km apart, and getting to either is just a scenic ride along the promenade, whilst chasing the sunset. This was honestly one of the main highlights for me, it’s a shame that simple moments like these are so rare which made it all the more special.
As the trip drew to a close, we made it back in good time and checkout was effortless, I appreciated that all the staff made effort to recognise me by name before introducing myself which made me feel valued as a guest, hardly surprising for a 5-star resort with the service to match. I left feeling satisfied, and was happy that I to put myself first whilst also making time to explore Marbella. Not bad for a long weekend!
Nobu Marbella for me is the epitome of understated luxury, making this the ultimate retreat for anyone, including solo travellers looking for an overdue respite from “real life , the pursuit of wellness is not a quick fix but it isn’t supposed to be challenging either, treat yourself!
For more information about staying at Nobu Marbella, visit marbella.nobuhotels.com.