By Dale Nottingham

THE true heart and soul of Marbella is to be found in the charming old cobblestone alleys that criss-cross the city’s picturesque Old Town or Casco Historico.

Here, you will uncover a treasure trove of boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants. And after a gruelling day’s shopping and sightseeing, the Old Town is also the perfect place to spend the night. Arguably the most prestigious accommodation in the Old Town – or anywhere in Marbella, for that matter – comes courtesy of the exquisite Hotel Claude.

This luxury hotel sited in a meticulously restored and discreetly sumptuous 17th century mansion townhouse in the heart of the Old Town, is the epitome of style.

Here, German/Spanish sister and brother team Desiree and Franz have crafted a haven of refined elegance and understated luxury, after stints working as traders in the City of London… yes, both of them!

Franz still goes backwards and forwards from London, leaving Desiree to run the show on a daily basis, while also launching an acting career.

Somewhat less opulent but equally enchanting is the delightfully named La Morada Mas Hermosa, senora Paloma’s little gem of a boutique hotel located in the calle Montebros. The seven themed rooms reveal an impressive attention to detail and Paloma’s renowned breakfast is not to be missed.

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