What can you say about the Marbella Club Resort that hasn’t been said before?

Well, how about that having celebrated more than 50 years as one of the world’s leading hotels, resorts and spa, its quality remains undeniable and undimmed. It remains among the best resorts in Spain and the Mediterranean – and in the world and continues to lead the way in the 21st century with a unique history.

Eccentric aristocrat Ricardo Soriano, Marques de Ivanrey, bought an area of what was largely disused land in Marbella amidst the political turmoil of the 1930s and he involved his cousin, Prince Maximilian von Hohenlohe, a close friend of the exiled Spanish King Alfonso.

In 1947 Prince Max’s son Alfonso – named after the king – acquired the Finca Santa Margarita estate and converted it into the family’s private residence. During his studies in America, where he admits he saw more nightclubs than lecture theatres, he rubbed shoulders with John Wayne, Howard Hughes, James Stewart and Cary Grant and on returning to Marbella, he found the house full of guests and family more often than not, and decided to open a small motel alongside the family home, much to the disapproval of many.

In 1956, his cousin, Count Rudolf Schonburg, a graduate of a celebrated Swiss Hotel School, joined him and it was his professionalism that turned the Marbella Club from an aristocratic boarding house into one of the world’s most famous hotels.The count is still on the scene in an advisory role and is delighted the Marbella Club continues to draw accolades.

The original 20-room motel is now 121 luxury bedrooms and suites, spread over the beach front resort, and all have a private balcony or terrace. There are also 16 detached two, three and five bedroom Andalusian-style villas set in the lush sub-tropical gardens.

We were lucky enough to stay on one of those luxury suites just a short stroll from both the Beach club, with its marvelous sea views and first class sea food and salad Chininguito restaurant, and also the hotel with it’s award-winning Winter Garden Restaurant, Club Grill and informal MC Cafe.

The Grill Restaurant, lit by hundreds of candles, is widely accepted as Marbella’s gastronomic benchmark. Hardly surprising with award winning chef Juan Galvez in charge.

There are two outdoor heated swimming pools and 14 of the 16 villas have their own pool while the Thalasso Spa has 12 state-of-the-art treatment rooms, steam baths, sauna, a sea water pool and a stunning hamman.

A short walk away at the sister Puerto Romano Hotel, there are water sports, a tennis and fitness centre with floodlit courts and a state-of-the-art gym that also offers aerobics, yoga and Pilates.

Let’s not forget the golf and riding – with a year-round average temperatures of 23°C and views that stretch for miles, this is the perfect place for both.

In the late 1990s, a 1,100-acre estate in the Benahavis area, 20 minutes from the Marbella Club, was turned into an 18-hole golf course and private equestrian centre. Newcastle-born Dave Thomas, who designed the Belfry and Slaley Hall, came up trumps with a course which boasts contoured fairways, water cascades, lakes and strategically placed bunkers.

Marbella is among his best work, it’s one of the most scenic courses on the Costa del Sol, and demands accuracy off the tee and an ability to plot your way around the 6,121-metre, par-72 lay-out. With water in or around half a dozen holes, ravines and severe slopes, it’s a real treat to play.

Hotel guests have exclusive use of the course and there is a complimentary shuttle service ready to take players back to the hotel after a round of golf and sampling the menu at the renowned MC Golf Resort Restaurant, which offers a daily menu of Spanish specialities.

Recently, Dave and his son Paul, were back at Marbella for the second Dave Thomas Classic, a charity pro-am held as a fund-raising event for TEAM Research – the Tissue Engineering and Medical Research organisation, which directly benefits victims of disfiguring burns as well as life-threatening diseases such as bowel cancer.”

Terry Venables, who lends his name to the organisation, was one of many well-known personalities who attended the tournament, including another former soccer star Willie Morgan, Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Corbett, Russ Abbott, Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood, star of Thirteen Days, Eight Below and Capote, and Eagles rock star Don Felder. The tournament, which has been staged twice, has now raised more than £30,000 for the charity and looks set for a third year in existence.

Staying at the Marbella Club Resort isn’t cheap – but neither is is as expensive as you might think and there are packages in the low season, which is often the best time to visit the Costa del Sol, which are worth thinking about.

Factfile

Address: Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe s/n, 29600 Marbella, Malaga, Spain.

Telephone: 0034 95 282 2211, Fax: 0034 95 282 9884. Email: hotel@marbellaclub.com. Website: www.marbellaclub.com

Golf club address: Marbella Club Golf Resort. Ctra de Benahavis, Km. 3.7. 29679 Benahavis Marbella, Malaga.

Telephone: 0034 952 88 9101, Fax: 0034 952 88 9102. Email: reserv.golf@marbellaclub.com

Alan Hedley flew from Newcastle to Malaga with Easyjet, who have flights to Malaga from Belfast, Bristol, East Midlands, Glasgow, Liverpool London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Newcastle with prices from £29.99 one-way (including taxes) and return from £51.98 (including taxes) for immediate bookings please log onto www.easyJet.com