On the Costa del Sol, there is sometimes something of a confusion, in the sense that the word ‘Marbella’ is frequently used to describe an area even when it actually falls within a different municipality, such as those of Ojén, Estepona and Benahavis.
The reason for this is the fact that Marbella is not only a physical place – the town and suburbs that fall within its municipal boundaries – but also a lifestyle concept in its own right, and for this reason areas that are an extension of this way of life are also classed as part of the Marbella brand.
Set just a few kilometres inland from the coastal strip between Marbella and Estepona, Benahavis is a pretty Andalusian village of a few hundred souls that lies beautifully within a green valley surrounded by the foothills of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range.
The village itself is known for its country restaurants, cafés and art galleries, but it is also home to a series of boutique hotels, a driving range, sports complex and pretty parks – not to mention a world of hiking trails into gorgeous nature.
Foreign residents have bought in this lovely environment and there is a permanent expat community there, but the main residential areas within Benahavis include some of the most exclusive addresses in southern Spain—even the entire country!
Chief among these is La Zagaleta, a select country club set within around 900 hectares of former hunting grounds where luxurious villas and mansions on large private plots are sprinkled in-between a natural paradise made up of two golf courses and exclusive clubhouse and restaurant, an organic produce store, first-class horse riding centre and stables, as well as a helipad, tennis club and concierge service.
La Zagaleta is known both for its security and the luxury of its properties, not to mention the fact that this is an environment limited to owners and their guests. Almost as prestigious is El Madroñal, a stylish gated community of large country homes that range from modern to traditional but all enjoy large plots and spectacular views in a natural setting just minutes from Marbella.
Follow the road down to the coast and you pass other prestigious urbanisations such as La Heredia – designed in the style of an idyllic Andalusian village – Monte Halcones, the golf-orientated suburb of Los Arqueros, as well as La Quinta, and its elegant new extension into a green valley bordering a nature reserve, Real de La Quinta.
The latter’s focal point is a beautiful manmade lagoon, surrounded by curated nature, a six-hole golf course, a lakeside pool club and restaurant, as well as a host of other amenities.