Anantara Villa Padierna is the perfect choice to end or begin the New Year with an unforgettable holiday across the boarder inspired by Andalusia’s charm
The name Villa Padierna has long been widely respected and admired by residents in Marbella. In June 2019, the hotel joined the Anantara luxury brand, becoming the group’s first five-star resort in Spain — the second in Europe, right after Anantara Vilamoura, in the Algarve — and was renamed Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort. In fact, the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Marbella is a busy seaside town with views towards the Mediterranean and simmering day and night life. However, the truth is that, just over four hours away from the Algarve and 50 minutes from the Malaga International Airport, one can find all the peace and tranquillity to regain the necessary balance for those with frantic lifestyles and who need to recharge. With top-quality golf courses, an impressive spa, a beach club with private beach and countless food offerings, this may well be the escape opportunity you have been dreaming of.
The resort is set in one of the best locations in southern Spain, named the “golden triangle”, which comprises Marbella, Benahavís and Estepona, where huge mansions hanging over steep valleys reign, with privileged views of the sea.
It is also easy to understand why the resort is affectionately nicknamed “the museum hotel”. There are over 1,200 artworks — mainly paintings, sculptures and even some artefacts — scattered across every indoor and outdoor area. The classic, Italian-style décor was designed by British architect Ed Gilbert and the 132 rooms, suites and apartments feature unique embellishments and designs. The hotel is also a haven for golfers, as it is surrounded by three challenging and renowned golf courses: Alferini, Flamingos and Tramores, where famous player Michael Campbell (winner of the 2005 US Open) runs a golf academy.
We stayed at a suite on the west side of the resort. To reach it, we crossed the beautiful Tuscan gardens, where the green trees merges with the immaculate marble floor, which is present all around, and it quickly became obvious that the space flows with several open areas that invite people to lengthy walks. In fact, guests are encouraged to make the most of the outdoor spaces, such as the large lake and the Roman amphitheatre, or simply enjoy reading a book at the heart of the resort, next to the outdoor pool, flanked by huge palm trees and cypress trees.
One of the highlights is the spa, one of the biggest in Europe, with over 21,000 square metres. There are 10 treatments rooms overall, an aromatic circuit and a hydrotherapy thermal circuit inspired by the ancient Roman baths. Featuring a salt bath, Finnish sauna, Indian and Bali steamers, a hammam and an indoor pool, guests can stop by the relaxation room before heading for a relaxing and revitalising signature massage. There are also several dietary and nutritional programmes, physical therapy and osteopathy, alternative therapies and designated treatments for golf players. For those who wish to exercise a bit on their holidays, the resort also offers 22,000sqm of action at the Racquet Club, with several tennis, padel and croquet courts.
The resort also stands out for its strong gastronomic offerings. There are six restaurants in total, as well as a cocktail bar for all tastes and occasions. Eddy’s Bar is famous for the signature cocktails by barman Diego Cabrera, which are perfect for a late afternoon. One of their most famous restaurants is 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, which sits only 12 and has an avant-garde Japanese inspiration. The menu is extensive and diverse, but their best-selling dish is an absolute must-try: a divine tiger prawn tempura with a spicy cream sauce. The brand has other restaurants under the same name in Madrid, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Visitors can also choose to enjoy La Loggia, a restaurant inspired by the Mediterranean, the local cuisine of Hole 55, overlooking the golf courses, The Grill Club, or the La Pergola Pool Bar, with lighter meals. However, just one kilometre from the resort, is the beautiful Club de Mar, right on the beach. Here, the mandatory dish to try is the Club de Mar paella, a dish that will delight seafood lovers, made with lobster, scarlet prawns and fresh crayfish.
But the Andalusian experience would not be complete without the pleasure of a flamenco dance show. This activity is highly recommended by the resort, which has based its philosophy on the intention of promoting and disseminating local culture. One of the oldest and most traditional places to enjoy these shows is Tablao Ana Maria, a small tavern in the historic town centre. For about two hours, the artists put all their soul into singing, playing the guitar, drumming, tap dancing and whirling around in skirts. “Flamenco cannot be explained, only felt,” says one of the dancers to an audience that is almost overwhelmingly foreign. Even without understanding the meaning of the lyrics sung, the public is enthusiastic about the frenetic rhythm of the music and dance.
Among other activities, the resort also suggests a helicopter trip to the city of Ronda, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; to the mountain town of Pueblos Blancos; or a simple walk to Puerto Banus. For the festive season, the resort unveils its dazzling Christmas decorations on December 8 and has several surprises for guests throughout the month. New Year’s Eve will be celebrated with signature cocktails at Eddy’s Bar and a special festive menu, along with live entertainment. Finally, guests can usher in the New Year at the beach club, with their toes in the sand, and enjoy a widespread gastronomic and sensory event with brunch, as a good omen for the year to come.