After a few years of positively underwhelming birthdays, last year in around August time I decided that I was going to do something different this February 21st and go away for the weekend with two of my friends.
Although Marbella is technically ‘out of season’ there is still loads to do and loads of breathtaking scenery to take in, and I have had the best birthday ever. Quite a lot of the bars and restaurants are still open out of season because of expats.
We started our trip on the actual Saturday of my birthday, flying out from Stansted with Ryanair. I must say, I wasn’t greatly impressed when we were delayed by a few minutes and no one told us why, but apart from the the service was pretty much what you pay for with a budget airline. We only paid £60 return from Stansted to Malaga between Ryanair and Easyjet (who offer a MUCH better service).
Unfortunately there is no lounge at Stansted airport, but it is meant to be opening in spring, so check out their website for details: http://www.stanstedairport.com/
We had breakfast and a drink at the Bridge Bar which was perfectly pleasant, and luckily Ryanair do Prosecco on board, which is great for someone scared of flying.
When we arrived at Malaga airport, we were lucky enough to be greeted with 19 degree heat and sunshine,which is quite unseasonable for February. We found a VERY reliable cabbie who I would not be able to recommend highly enough, and every time we used Mark be it airport transfers or trips into Puerto Banus, he was there on time and charged fair prices. Find him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/marbellacabbie and book him up for your stay. He even gave me a bottle of my bubbly as the transfer was on my actual birthday, thanks Mark, made me feel very V.I.P.
We stayed in the Hotel Villa San Fransisco, which was not in actual Marbella but was up in the hills next to La Canada shopping centre. Unfortunately, Booking.com were not very transparent about what facilities were available at the time of our stay. I~ would personally go again as I LOVED the hotel but be aware if it is out of season there may be some amenities you cannot use. http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/finca-san-francisko.en-gb.html?aid=356983;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-es-fincaNsanNfrancisko-unspec-gb-com-L%3Aen-O%3Aunk-B%3Aunk-N%3AXX-S%3Abo;sid=56c49839dc7a2498b97c8a5b302d243b;dcid=1;dist=0&type=total&
Oxana, who ran the hotel was lovely, and she was so welcoming and told us to call her room or knock anytime we needed anything, which was a great personal touch. We definitely knocked one night quite late when we had run out of Cava!
For My birthday night out, we booked a table at La Sala in Puerto Banus. I was recommended La Sala by someone on Twitter, and would absolutely go again. We loved our dinner there so much that we went again for lunch on the Monday.
The staff were really friendly and even bought us over blankets while we sat outside having a drink waiting for our table. When we got to our meal, I ordered the Pork belly and can honestly say it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.
My friends Helen and Frankie had the chicken and the chicken Milanese which were equally as nice, and the service was great. I liked the fact it had an open kitchen as well, it’s always good to see the chefs and make sure they are being clean, and they were: every single on of them had gloves on.
The good thing is about the location of La Sala, it is not too far away from all the boats and the beach so you can have a pre dinner or after dinner stroll. If you are planning a visit, the best bet is to visit their Twitter page for offers: https://twitter.com/LaSalaBanus
I had the good judgement to book us a late dinner because to be honest we are none of us spring chickens, so by time it got to about 12am we were happily on the MASSIVE balcony at the hotel wrapped in blankets chatting.
Needless to say the next day was a bit more chilled out and all we did was walk to La Canada. Unfortunately, we completely forgot it was Sunday and barely anything was open. If you are going, I’d look on La Canada’s website to see opening hours, as they have siesta’s and stuff as well: http://www.parquecomercial-lacanada.com/en/home
Spain and France still take Sunday’s really seriously, so it’s worth remembering when you plan a trip.
One great thing about the hotel is that we got to stay on the private garden all day sunbathing and then had the Jaccuzzi to ourselves all evening. Nothing says relaxing like listening to your own pan pipe music while watching the sun go down through the floor to ceiling windows.
The views from the hotel breakfast balcony were AMAZING as well, and although a Spanish breakfast is just bread, oil and ham, lets face it none of us were going to waste away.
Monday we decided to go to lunch at La Sala, for one of many reasons including it’s free unlimited Cava for ladies between 1pm and 3pm. Although it’s ‘not meant to be hot’ in February we all sufficiently burnt while sitting enjoying the great food and sunshine.
We then took another walk down the beach/port which I really would recommend if, like my friend Helen who took 670 picture of it, you love great scenery.
I have to admit, Marbella was a draw for me because it was close and it always looks so lovely on TOWIE. I have always been someone that prefers the hospitality and the weather of Asian countries, but I must say Marbella impressed me so much I am looking into going back in May.