By Danny R. Johnson/Travel News Editor
MARBELLA, SPAIN–Marriott’s Marbella Beach Vacation Club Resort is located on the gleaming Costa del Sol, which is a dynamic and vibrant hidden gem and Mediterranean seaside resort on Spain’s southern coast.
Marbella is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, between Málaga and the Strait of Gibraltar, in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca. The municipality covers an area of 117 square kilometers (45 sq. mi) crossed by highways on the coast, which are its main entrances. The population of the city is around 150,473 inhabitants, making it the second most populous municipality in the province of Málaga and the eighth in Andalusia. It is one of the most important tourist cities of the Costa del Sol and throughout most of the year is an international tourist attraction, due mainly to its climate and tourist infrastructure.
Your stay at the Marriott Marbella Beach Vacation Club will be unforgettable and enjoyable. A growing collection of small businesses — from restaurants to boutiques — make the quiet, centrally located community of Marbella a welcome escape from the hustling and bustling capital of Madrid and Barcelona. Here are essential areas in Marbella you don’t want to pass up:
Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
The old town of Marbella includes the ancient city walls and the two historical suburbs of the city, the Barrio Alto, which extends north, and the Barrio Nuevo, located to the east. The ancient walled city retains nearly the same layout as in the 16th century. Here is the Plaza de los Naranjos, an example of Castilian Renaissance design, its plan laid out in the heart of Old Town after the Christian re-conquest. Around the square are arranged three remarkable buildings: the town hall, built in 1568 by the Catholic Monarchs in Renaissance style, the Mayor’s house, which combines Gothic and Renaissance elements in its façade, with a roof of Mudejar style and fresco murals inside, and the Chapel of Santiago, the oldest religious building in the city, built earlier than the square and not aligned with it, believed to date from the 15th century.
As far as the Old Town neighborhoods go, what you have are small shops and restaurants — about six square blocks. But a wave of new establishments in recent years has made this quiet pocket in the sprawling and hectic metropolis worth exploring. The centrally located enclave is known for traditional old world Spanish structures of the 15th and 16th centuries. While the exteriors of these charming structures with colorful embellishments have been protected from alterations by the city, their interiors have been transformed into restaurants, bars, boutiques and even a stylish hotel. Travelers often overlook the tiny area, but they shouldn’t. As you walk around, it feels like a unique buzzy, European village — different from anything else you’ll find outside of Spain.
Gibraltar Tour by Marriott (Bus Tour)
Marriott International wants to connect its loyalty members to even more in-destination experiences, and to do that, it has made an equity investment in a tours-and-activities metasearch platform, PlacePass. The Cambridge, MA based, two-year-old startup lists more than 100,000 experiences in 800 destinations worldwide from various vendors and eventually, all 100 million members of Marriott’s three loyalty programs — Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards — will be able to access those experiences through Marriott’s various direct channels, including its brand.com sites and loyalty apps.
Which is why the Marriott Marbella Beach Resort offers excellent tour packages at a reasonable price for its guests. Guests can select from 25 tour packages which will most surely satisfy any demanding traveler. The Gibraltar tour is no exception.
On the seven hours Gibraltar exclusive tour, you will explore the amazing point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. Climb aboard a double-decker for amazing views of the water and landscape. The Rock tour by Mini Bus includes a visit to St. Michael’s Caves, Europe Point (with wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea together) and a chance to see the famous Gibraltar monkeys living in freedom, and there is plenty of room for shopping in the main street. If you choose the Shopping option, you will not have the ‘Rock Tour’ therefore you will be on your own the whole time. If you want to include the Tunnels on the ‘Rock Tour’, please note that these will be only available in English and Spanish speaking guide and not free time for shopping.
The Marriott Marbella Concierge desk was more than eager and happy to assist guests in choosing a tour package suitable to their needs. It should be noted that concierge professionals Naila V. and Aga S. were such a pleasure to work with and were extremely knowledgeable about the tours and the sites to see in the area.
Ronda Indiana Natura Tour by Marriott (Private Tour Guide)
Discover the richness and diversity of the Andalusian landscape by Land Rover Jeep or a luxury mini-van. In our trip we opted for the mini-van and experienced the spectacular natural parks, such as Sierra de las Nieves, Grazalema and Alcornocales. Although not categorized as official natural parks, there is a vast array of other beautiful and interesting places as well that can be explored with an experienced local guide. As it is a private and exclusive tour, you are free to follow your own comfortable pace. The main attraction of this experience is the impressive town of Ronda, however the route will also bring you to authentic and non-touristic white villages hidden away in the mountains. Here you will have the opportunity to taste a wonderful homemade lunch in the charming local surroundings. This is a great opportunity to explore the “true” Andalucía. Price and tour information is available at the concierge desk.
Ronda is a mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province that’s set dramatically above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, has a lookout offering views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. What made this tour so special and interesting was the fact that the tour guide professional, Francisco Del Pino, was thoroughly experienced about every aspect of the natural parks, the vegetation and ecosystem, history, and the rich and historical culture of the Spanish people.