“I’VE seen and heard more business deals done over a drink in Centro Plaza than in any office I’ve ever worked in,” jokes Ed Dzien, who owns the new Office Bar in Marbella’s Centro Plaza.
And he is talking about the legitimate, above-board kind of deal.
Because only the most well-established, classiest companies have offices here, far from the bling bars of Puerto Banus – but close enough to wander down if you crave the buzz of the port.
Based just up from the Nueva Andalucia bull ring, the commercial centre perches in an enviable spot with breathtaking views across to La Concha mountain and Marbella, and all just a stone’s throw from the A7 coast road and 6km from Marbella.
While celebrating its 25th birthday this year (but you’d never know it), the centre still feels modern, buzzing and chic.
With a great range of bars, restaurants, fashion boutiques and beauty salons, it is an excellent place to spend a morning.
But it is also a great place to find a professional estate agent, money exchange company or lawyer.
Easy to park (there’s a valet service), easy to peruse (even wheelchair-friendly), it is the shopping centre for people who hate shopping.
You can get your hair done, learn to dance, buy a dress – or a house, if you’re feeling flush – and then sip a cocktail… all in a Centro Plaza-style day’s work.
Originally built to provide the zone with facilities it sorely lacked, it caters to over 10,000 households around the nearby area, including a very large percentage of wealthy, demanding clients.
It is certainly quickly clear that both the staff and visitors to the centre are an elegant breed.
Think city boys, but better tans and without ties, and well-heeled women minus the harassed London look.
As I watch various tables of hotshots doing business under shady white parasols armed with a cold beer – I wonder if London could learn something from this place?
At any point on a weekday bars are smattered with a mix of businessmen, tourists and expats and they are a polyglot lot, with many British, Germans and Scandinavians in particular.
Estuco Interior’s team of top class interior designers typify this mix, hailing from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Spain.
Furnishing and designing the interiors of houses for well over two decades, employee Ellen Brouwer explained: “It’s a very interesting cosmopolitan mix, but it works well.”
Kent Schanke, co-owner of estate agent Fastighetsbyran, a huge household name back in Sweden, now breaking into the British market here, agrees.
“It’s a great hub for lots of things – for real estate, for banking, great restaurants and there’s such a friendly feel,” he says.
There is also a classy array of eateries, with Cafe Yanx and Cafe Fredo to name but two.
“It’s so family friendly here and you only have to look at the view to realise why we love working here,” says David Fisher, owner of Yanx.
The oasis of tranquillity is only shaken up once a week when crowds descend for the Saturday morning flea market bringing the family-friendly holiday vibe to the exclusive enclave.
“I moved to Spain to get away from the rat race and about as hectic as it can get here is the Saturday buzz when there’s the market and it’s full of people,” says vintage fashion shop B-Chic’s glamorous Swiss owner Michelle Melliger whose adorable sales accomplice, Lola, a King Charles spaniel, is a permanent fixture.
The finest views of all are found at the vantage point near HiFX office where uninterrupted sea and mountains stretch as far as the eye can see… and the charming team of currency specialists aren’t bad either!
Pop in for a chat and you never know where it might lead… well, certainly for an entertaining coffee or beer at one of the nearby bars. Take it from me.
My dream as a currency specialist
THE HiFX team has been based in the most enviable spot in Centro Plaza for three and a half years and has built up a loyal following.
The dynamic team of six staff, from Germany, Spain and the UK – led by Spaniard Jose Ivars-Lopez, who commutes between the UK and Spain – are a great advert for the Marbella lifestyle.
“It’s awesome working here and the only problem I can foresee is never wanting to leave!” said Jack Curd.