Marbella review

by Suzi Dixon
(London)

Are Brits put off by the Costa Spanish holidays? Marbella is still seen as a premium holiday destination but it’s popular with holidaymakers and expats alike. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Spain is not only one of the most popular locations for Brits abroad but also one of the happiest. A team from Lloyds TSB International quizzed more than 1,000 British citizens in the 10 most popular expat destinations to rate their new homes on factors ranging from quality of life to cost of living.


In all, 68 per cent of those interviewed said they were happier in their adopted country than in Britain, rising to 75.9 per cent in Spain.

Many who have long-range designs to retire abroad use their summer break to visit various locations to scout them out. I’ve always been tempted by sunshine-soaked Marbella, so a September stay at the Hotel Fuerte Miramar was ideal for a spot of research.

Flights were cheap - less than £50 from Bristol to Malaga with easyJet on sale - and I secured a classic single room for less than £90 per night, including breakfast, with Laterooms.com.

My room had a sea view and the fabulous El Olivo restaurantserved fresh Mediterranean cuisine on the nights I dined in the hotel. My budget couldn’t stretch to the spa but I had free use of the sports centre when I wanted to get active. Sun beds on the beach incurred an additional charge but I was happy to chill by the pool.

Out and about, Marbella definitely has premium prices to match its reputation. The Marisquería Santiago has lovely seafood and gorgeous views but even a starter would set you back 12 euros here.

It seems further into the Costa del Sol may be a better idea for my twilight years. The team at MyTravelMoney.co.uk compared the average price of holiday essentials - including flights, hotel rooms, drinks, taxi and a meal for one - across popular Spanish holiday destinations. While the sun-drenched Costa del Sol was the cheapest the most expensive was the capital Barcelona, where hotels and eating out were more expensive than elsewhere in Spain.

The second most expensive resort were the Baleric Islands - the average of Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza combined - followed by the Canary Islands and the Costa Blanca.

No matter, Marbella remains a destination I will continue to enjoy - as a tourist for now - and perhaps I need to plump up my pension to prepare for a move over here permanently.

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