Marbella resident since his youth, Giles Brown tears himself away from the TOWIE crowd to pick out his favourite spots in town.
Just don’t call it Marbs…
I’M not a golf player but I have always liked Aloha, situated right in the middle of ‘golf valley’.
It was the preferred golf course of Sean Connery and James Hunt, who trained his beloved Alsatian Oscar to hunt down any errant golf balls.
Coincidentally, Oscar, who James later named his Marbella night club after, was granted honorary membership of Aloha Golf Club on the grounds that he was better behaved that most of the other members!
MY REAL PORT FOR FUN
I SPENT most of my teenage years in Marbella’s ‘sporting port’ where you could get a litre of beer for 300 pesetas and the place was packed with young oiks having a wild old time.
It got so wild that in the early 1990s then-mayor Jesus Gil caused a riot when he marched down one Saturday night, flanked by his local police and declared we were all ‘junkies and whores’.
Cars were overturned and he was forced to flee. How different it has now become, with a Sunday arts market and upmarket terraced restaurants making it a great place to hang out.
A SLEEPY hillside enclave, La Virginia attracted a bohemian community of artists, photographers , writers, plus a veritable smattering of flower children when it first opened in the 60s.
Hedonistic in the extreme, at one legendary party developer Freddie Wildman borrowed an elephant from a visiting circus.
The wild times may have gone, but there are still several idyllic spots to sit back and reflect, none more so than at La Virginia’s beautiful chapel.
RUCK AND ROLL
MARBELLA Rugby Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and fittingly its teams are Andalucian champions at a number of levels, and last year were Spanish champions.
A great mix of cultures and nationalities, the club, located rather handily across from the Costa del Sol hospital, is one of my favourite places to socialise and puts on a fabulous bbq!
MARBELLA’S emblematic mountain, La Concha (The Shell) frames the town from all angles.
It’s a must do climb and doesn’t require crampons and ice picks. From the hotel Refugio de Juanar (where General de Gaulle wrote his memoirs) the trek takes about four hours to the top and back and rewards you with the most incredible views.
If you haven’t got time opt for the gentler two-hour trek to Cruz de Juanar.
On my first trip (pictured), I couldn’t resist the temptation of stripping off. After all, Rio has Christ the Redeemer, so I though it only fair that Marbella got a small (ED: diminutive?) naked journalist!
ARTOLA BEACH AND JUNES
ARTOLA has one of the few stretches of untouched sand dunes on the Costa del Sol, a tribute to the local action group who fought long and hard to keep it that way from the clutches of developers.
This is one of my favourite beaches, and if you fancy a little bit of time travel, pop into the Hotel Artola that hasn’t changed since the 1960s, as the placards to various travel associations at the entrance will attest to!
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS CHAPAS
WHEN I come to write my Gonzo-esque autobiography, I’m going to call it Fear and Loathing in Las Chapas.
There isn’t much to loathe about the pine covered area, with its discreet villas, well ordered German school and immaculate infrastructure.
Though I might try and liven it up a little by having a go at the jungle swings and zip wires at the Amazon adventure park that they have constructed there!
GUADALMINA – POWER BROKERS HOME
SLEEPY, well-heeled Guadalmina transforms into a suburb of Madrid every August when ex Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar holidays here.
While he relaxes behind the high hedges his wife, Madrid mayor Ana Botella hacks around Guadalmina Golf Course.
Meanwhile the rest of the area is packed full of Madrid yuppies – all Hackett polo shirts, Alice bands and identically dressed children.
No surprise it is known locally as Guadalpijo (Guadal-posh, literally) in summer then.