The National Wedding Show team recently went to explore the stunning shores of Marbella along with a selection of wedding planners and wedding industry media. Our media partner, 5 Star Wedding Directory, wrote about our experience and what this beautiful Spanish city has to offer couples planning a luxury wedding.
We all know about the classic hen party side to the destination, but what about the rest of the beautiful Andalusian region? We left the hens to their L plates and pink feather boas to discover what the exclusive beaches, villas, hotels and yachts have to offer. We definitely weren’t disappointed.
After an early wake-up call and 5 am flight, we were escorted by limousine to our beautiful hotel. Vincci Estrella Del Mar Hotel is a gorgeous beach front hotel and we were made to feel so welcome. The hotel has a wonderful modern Mediterranean feel, and with an added Arab influence, there is such a wonderful vibe. Tiled floors, beautiful courtyards and oceanfront terraces create a feeling of total relaxation. As does the spa, offering a range of treatments as well as exclusive use, if you choose. We settled into our lovely room to take a breath before our jam-packed itinerary began!
The hotel also houses the Estrella del Mar Beach Club, a gorgeous five-star setting that accommodates wedding parties. Imagine a ceremony looking out to sea, followed by a gorgeous poolside cocktail or beachside barbeque…
So on to the tour of the surrounding area. The aim of our trip was to find out about what a luxury wedding in Marbella could look like, so we were treated to a wonderful tour of the location, by chauffeur driven limousine, of course, care of Cabify.
The Old Town
We had a fantastic tour of the Old Town. The layout of the ancient walled city has barely changed since the 16th century and is filled with beautiful buildings. The mayor’s house is stunning, combining Gothic and Renaissance elements outside, and holding fresco murals inside. And after an audience with the mayor, we even made it into the local paper when they featured our visit!
Marbella has some beautiful churches. Ornate historic catholic sanctuaries, with gold leaf detailing and beautiful paintings – such grand places to marry.
Forget carbs in Marbs… it’s all about the seafood!
I really must mention the food at this point. We were treated to some excellent cuisine. From the gorgeous breakfast to the abundance of fresh seafood, it really was a foodie’s delight. Being on the coast they benefit from the gorgeous seafood, all freshly caught. The buffet was amazing. Fresh lobster, crab, langoustine and shellfish had all been expertly cooked – it was so hard to choose just one thing! You could even select a lobster or crab for them to cook for you – amazing service.
We were also treated to a gorgeous meal at Olivia Valere – a seriously opulent venue. The open air Babilonia Palace restaurant is wonderfully luxurious, having been built to recreate the patio of an Arab palace. It’s illuminated by hundreds of candles and is simply breathtaking.
The Sala Group
Founded in 2008, with the inception of La Sala by the Sea, Sala Group has quickly emerged as one of the most talked about forces in Spanish hospitality, and entertainment.
At the heart of Puerto Banus, La Sala by the Sea is firmly established as one of the world’s leading Beach Clubs. Overlooking golden sands and the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean, La Sala brings you the ultimate social and dining experience, day and night. Described by international media as the ‘hottest table in town’ La Sala is beautiful in its simplicity. Its menu is varied and it has nine different areas to enjoy and relax in – from the sun-soaked terrace to the newly refurbished Live Lounge, there’s a niche for everyone!
Set against the spectacular backdrop of La Concha, OAK Garden & Grill is situated in a garden of an Andalusian style villa creating an intimate secret garden feel. The menu incorporates both delicious grill specialties as well as a selection of La Sala’s famous signature dishes.
Launched in June 2012, Aqwa Mist is an addition to the group that takes opulence to a new level. With water features both inside and out, this nightclub is the first ‘super club’ to hit Puerto Banus. Open from 1 am to 6 am on weekdays and 7 am at the weekend. Get ready for an exclusive night out.
And closer to home… You may be familiar with the famous venue, Mahiki, popular with celebrities and royals alike, and the Sala Group has recently been appointed the licensee for this beautiful Polynesian and tiki themed institution. Keep an eager eye out for the opening of Mahiki Beach.
The Sala Group venues are perfect for a luxury stag or hen do, weddings or honeymoons. Tuck yourself away for a gorgeous private honeymoon and a visit to La Sala by the Sea. Treat your loved ones to a pre-wedding feast at La Sala at Puerto Banus of the OAK. And dance through the night at the exclusive Aqwa with your closest friends to celebrate your hen do.
What else did we get up to?!
We enjoyed a lovely trip to Marbella Club Hotel golf Resort and Spa. This most exclusive of venues allows couples to tailor make their dream wedding – choose a wedding at Villa del Mar, the Beach Club or on the beach itself.
A spot of retail therapy
If you’re after a break from the beaches, Costa Marbella shopping centre is a fabulous place to escape to. Whether it’s a craving for Jo Malone, a new Fendi bag or some Jimmy Choos, you’ll find it all here…
Five minutes from the city centre is Finca Palma. A gorgeous little venue by Catering Alabadero that would host a charming wedding. Tucked up in the hills with gardens walkways and waterfalls, you can fit 250 of your nearest and dearest in!
Río Real Golf Hotel is the leading boutique hotel in Marbella, in an authentic Andalusian setting. The hotel stands out for its elegance and contemporary comfort and is located in the very heart of the Río Real golf course that runs from the Sierra Bermeja Mountains, right down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Enjoying the scenery
The Golden Mile is where you’ll find some of Marbella’s most exclusive villas and estates, with amazing views of the mountains and the sea. The scenery in Marbella is stunning. Although a bit cloudy when we visited, the views of the mountains were spectacular. We also visited the incredible Puerto Banus Marina, the largest and most famous marina in Marbella. There we enjoyed the hospitality of Marbella Boat Charter, who hire out yachts for dolphin watching, fishing and sight seeing. We had great fun just messing about on the water! It would make a fabulous pre-wedding trip or honeymoon excursion.
The beaches are, as you would expect, beautiful. Miles of sand (17.3 to be precise!) which stretch out to a gorgeous sea. Our hotel was so well situated with a beach club and four pools, we were spoiled for choice when it came to relaxing by the water!
Nikki Beach is a stunning Beach Club. Located on one of the finest white sandy beaches, its views across the Mediterranean are simply fantastic.
We had a fabulous time in Marbella, and would thoroughly recommend it for the most luxurious of weddings. Beautiful beaches, luxurious accommodation, spectacular scenery and delicious food, it really does have it all.
For more Spanish destination wedding inspiration, have a look at the Spanish suppliers on the 5 Star Wedding Directory!