Marbella Beach Resort: The good and the not so good!
We are Marriott Vacation Club owners who trade our week for various MVCI locations around the world. We have been to Vail, Park City, Hilton Head Island, Aruba and now Marbella during our 7 years as owners - several of these locations multiple times.
The resort is laid out in a Spanish Hacienda style - very nice architecture - if a bit close together. We requested ocean front, but ended up with a 2BR, top floor villa facing westward (beautiful sunsets) with a distant ocean view. Great facilities with 2 pools, where the larger pool (very cold water) was near the beach. On the plus side, we enjoyed the french pastries from the on-site grocery store, internet cafe (a bit expensive), and lounging at the pool. On the negative, the beach was in horrid condition, with large chunks of concrete and bricks at the shoreline! Found the beach to be way below Marriott's standards. We had been warned that the Costa del Sol was not a location on the Mediterranean where they had great beaches, but the adjoining resorts had much nicer beaches, beach facilities, and no broken concrete in the water. Not sure what is going on there. The resort is very family friendly, with activities for the kids at the pool every day, and for those who get up tight about european's topless sunbathing it is relegated to the "Zonas Topless" in two semi-private grassy areas away from the pool. Once on the beach though, you may see most anything.
The Concierge recommended Merendero Christina, a great restaurant within walking distance of the resort where we ended up eating dinner outdoors overlooking the Mediterranean for 3 nights we were there. Great seafood on the menu, where you should take the waiters menu recommendations under consideration.
We took day trips via our rental car to Sevilla, Ronda, Gibraltar, Terifa Beach and Tangiers Morocco. Definitely recommend the Andalucia Tours guided trip to Tangiers, since that was not a place one would want to visit on a day trip without a guide. Also recommend the Taxi Tour of Gibraltar to see the Rock and eat some fish & chips. Other day trips can be done on your own. The Marbella Bull Fights on Sunday were also worthwhile, if a bit bloody.
While we will likely not go back to Marbella Beach Resort any time soon, it was definitely worth the trip. We just have too many other Marriott destinations around the globe to visit!
Marriott is a must for families
My family of four (two adults and two little girls), stayed at the Marriott Marbella beach resort for four nights in a two bedroom apartmennt. I believe all rooms at this resort are apartments, but not sure. The room was very spacious with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, large kitchen, laundry room, dining area, living area and patio with furniture overlooking the pool and ocean. We were surprised to find three televisions in the room (one with vcr and dvd player) and a stereo. The most used appliances in the apartment were the washer and dryer in the laundry room. My husband has family in Spain and we have seen some of his Aunts and Uncles who have apartments with several children smaller than this room! The service was great. Everyone we encountered spoke English and they were all very accomodating to our needs. We did find the restaraunt to be a little pricey, but eating al Fresco on the Meditteranean was great. We used the on site small grocery store daily for drinks, yogurts, fresh bread and other small items. The grill by the pool, which serves burgers and fries, was not that great either, but convenient. The kids loved the pools, although it would have been nice to have a water slide. We spent most of our time at the pool, but the beach was nice too. We paid for the chairs one day and spent half the day there and then proceeded to the fresh and clean pool water.
Overall, we would return, but I warn you to check for the absolute best deal you can find. We booked on line and paid more than we should have. As we left the airport in Malaga, we saw a kiosk for the hotel offering a much better deal than we had paid.
America in Spain
Marriott Marbella is located in the Costa Del Sol, which is an extremely over-developed area of Southern Spain. It's a resort area for international as well as Spanish vacationers. Despite increasing water and service problems the hillsides are filled with new developments.
The Marriott property is well-kept and the security is tight. The grounds are similar to any Marriott resort worldwide. We had a 3 bedroom, palatial (by Spanish standards) apartment with a large balcony. The pool areas are well-designed (there is even a wheel-chair lift in one pool) and great for families (the hot tubs are not even close to "hot" though). There is a nice gym, Internet cafe (one euro for 10 minutes though, which is about 3 times what it is elsewhere), game room for teens and a nursery area. The beach is fairly nice (you must rent the chairs with umbrellas though and the staff are a bit hostile to those not staying at the resort, also note that vendors wander up and down hawking sunglasses and tacky clothing) and the service is top-notch all around.
I'd recommend this resort for people who need all the comforts of home (particularly an American home) and especially for families. It's an excellent family facility. It's not ideally romantic, but could be for the right couple but the Marbella area is definitely not what you'd call a "quaint" area of Spain, it's rather cookie-cutter, ready-made for tourism (although Malaga is a vibrant city close by and is a real Spanish city).
As far as the food, I don't know, we didn't eat at the Marriott (except for the market which was expensive but helpful). However, there are loads and loads of restaurants around the area (you generally must drive, or at least walk down the beach or towards the freeway service areas) or you could cook in your apartment if you have a kitchen.
All in all, it's a typical Marriott property in a hot resort area. It's definitely more geared towards families.
We just returned from Marbella, stayed at the Marriott from May 24th to the 29th. We loved the room and the staff was friendly and helpful. They gave us tips on where to out dancing and they were right on the money, we had a wonerful time!
IF the opportunity arose to return, we would defninitely stay again!
Loved breakfast by the sea
Just got back from this wonderful complex. Absaloutely stunning place to stay. We stayed in a two bedroomed apartment which had everything you need....a home from home. It is wonderful to come home with hardly any washing.
Pool areas are stunning but the only downside is that the huge pool is sooooo cold so we opted for the smaller pool which was warmer...the kids preferred this one too.
We opted for the breakfast deal where you buy 7 and get one free. Kids under 10 eat fee anyway. Really nice to eat breakfast near the sea as the restaurant looks over the ocean...super! Although I would not bother eating in there on a night the service is really really bad....slow slow slow! Watch out for the head waiter with the keys on a morning he is a moody moody unhelpful man and that was my only problem really. Did not dare ask for coffee in fear my head would be bitten off!!
Overall a great place and we loved it...did not want to come home!
Just One Caveat
99% perfect. The apartments, the grounds, the security, the bathrooms, the hotel service, all excellent. Just don't go near the restaurants, the beach and the one above the lobby--very disappointing. There's nothing positive to say about the tapas in the main building. And just avoid the big beach restaurant completely. A shame, Marriott does such a marvelous job otherwise.
"11 day family trip to Andalucia"
We arrived in Madrid on an afternoon of the first day and drove to Toledo where we spent the night, then on to Cordoba for another night and a day of sightseeing. Third day was spent on the road travelling to Marbella where we have 1 week time-share at the fabulous Marriott Marbella Beach Resort. From Marbella we had easy access to Marbella City and Puerto Banus as well as the beautiful towns of Ronda and Mijas. A shopping trip to Malaga is a must and who can miss a visit to the Picasso museum a real treat for a mix artlovers and not so much artlovers like our family. The return trip to Madrid to catch our flight back home included a one night stay in Baeza on the frontier with Castilla del La Mancha province.
PARKING LOTS IN OLD TOWN MARBELLA
Staying at the Marriott Marbella and wish to travel into old town to shop. Where are the best places to partk the car/lots, and how do you pay the meters/or are there attendents at lots?? or/is there a bus convenient from Marriott location that I should take and leave the car at the resort/family of 3.
Re: PARKING LOTS IN OLD TOWN MARBELLA
Not sure if it is too late to answer, but parking can be quite difficult, I would take advantage of the bus 100%. In case you want to take the car, there are a couple of expensive underground parkings, ask in reception for a map and they will show them to you, but as I said they are not cheap :-) Hope this helps :-)