Casa Wildman, Marbella
Our house is part of a beautiful village built in the style of a traditional Spanish pueblo. "La Virginia" has cobblestone streets, flower filled balconies, a stunning little church (perfect for small weddings and christenings) and lots of beautiful squares filled with bougainvillea, fountains and Mediterranean charm. During the busier seasons, the village also has two of the most well known and atmospheric restaurants in the area.
The villa is at the top of the "pueblo", and is actually two houses that we joined together a few years ago. The original house consists of the main room, kitchen and bar area, and 3 bedrooms, all of which have ensuite bathrooms. The newer part of the house has 4 more bedrooms and 2 more bathrooms as well as a large entertainment room.
The front door leads into the main living room with a central dining table, a bar area, and two sofas facing a large open fireplace. All the floors throughout the house are terracotta (although there are also many rugs) which makes cleaning very easy and means running in with wet feet from the pool is not a disaster. The kitchen has a large fridge, granite work surfaces, and all the usual equipment from wine glasses to microwave. We like to leave food and wine in the house for guests to have when they arrive, and we simply ask that they leave some reasonable replacements
A double glass door leads from the main room out to the pool, the garden, and to the al fresco dining terrace. The pool has lighting which is very pretty at night, and the terrace itself also has lights. The stereo has links to speakers both outside and throughout the ground floor rooms. The outdoor table has a bamboo canopy to give shade from the sun during the day, and eating outside surrounded by candles and lanterns is possible during most months of the year.
There are many wooden loungers with cushions for sunbathing around the pool, and small tables for drinks, books, suncream, etc. The house itself is filled with books, DVDs (including many for children) and music CDs which we are happy for people to use. We want guests to feel as welcome as possible and not to have to pack too much, and we hope that people will treat our belongings with care.
The large master bedroom on the first floor has a small terrace facing East which overlooks the pool and a beautiful neighboring garden. On the same floor, the "Tintin" room has twin beds and also overlooks the pool. Both rooms have ensuite bathrooms and large built in closets. A separate closet on the landing contains towels for both indoor and pool use, and a free-standing cabinet contains a collection of medical items (band-aids, etc) and some bathroom supplies.
On the next floor is the "Green and White Room", with a queensize bed. It also has a large terrace which includes an area for drying clothes in the sun. At the moment both the washer and drier are temporarily in that room’s bathroom so although it also has a full bath, sink and toilet, it’s slightly cramped. We’re hoping to change this awkward arrangement as soon as possible (although it does make laundry very easy for whoever is staying in that room).
Back on the ground floor, the second half of the house (through a double arch) is very popular with children partly because it has a plasma television (with the main Sky channels) and the DVD player. Some of the bedrooms on that side share a bathroom, so it also has more of a dormitory atmosphere. On the ground floor, the second drawing room has two more sofas which can be rearranged for viewing movies or playing games.
The bedrooms in that part of the house consist of a twin room on the ground floor (the "Racing" room) which has a small bathroom with its own shower. On the first floor there are 3 more bedrooms that all share a bathroom. One of the rooms is quite large and has an old Napoleonic bed that used to belong to a Wildman ancestor. As Napoleon was not very big, neither is the bed, so although it’s technically a double bed, it would be more suitable for two smaller people.
There’s also a twin room (the "Map" room) on the same floor, and both of these rooms have large closets for hanging clothes. The last bedroom (the "Rainbow" room) is actually the smallest room in the house. It has a queensize double bed but not much extra room and only one small window. It does however have its own door into the shared bathroom, and it has a large chest of drawers for clothes.
On the ground floor, French double doors lead out from the entertainment room to a small garden that extends from the pool to the main gate. This garden has a fence around it to protect children from running out into the stone parking area in front of the house. It’s quite a large paved space so there’s plenty of room for rental cars and taxis to manoeuver or park.
Last but not least, we must point out that there is a highway quite close to the top end of the village. Unfortunately the Spanish government decided to put it there a few years ago and there was nothing we could do about it. We hardly notice it anymore, certainly not when any music is playing, but we want people to be aware that its there. Over the years we’ve rented the house to everyone from Hollywood producers to English jazz musicians and German businessmen, and we’ve never had any complaints about the highway noise. However, we do want to emphasize to people that we’re part of central Marbella and not deep in the countryside.
Overall, we hope you come to Spain to discover the many wonderful things it has to offer and to have a marvelous time. We hope that our home in” La Virginia” will provide you with a fantastic base to explore the area and the culture of Spain, and to relax in the sun with friends and family.
Have a happy holiday !
Some Suggestions for Your Holiday (in addition to things in the guidebooks)
Southern Spain is filled with so many great historic places and cultural options within a few hours of Marbella, that it would be impossible to cover them all here…Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Ronda, Sotogrande, Gibraltar, the new Picasso Museum in Malaga, the “Pueblos Blancos” such as Gaucin, etc…The region is incredibly diverse, and all these places (and many more) are worth visiting if you have time. There are a huge number of excellent travel guides to Andalucia and we recommend bringing one so you don’t miss out.
As if this weren’t enough, there are water parks, an aquarium, go-carts at "Funny Beach", a zoo in Fuengirola, and a safari park called Selwo all within 30 minutes of the house. You’ll probably run out of time before you run out of things to do...
Below are some more local and practical suggestions for things to do during your stay at Casa Wildman.
There’s a lovely beach promenade all along the Mediterranean waterfront, and one of the nicest things to do is to walk or run there early in the morning. The children love playing in the sand, shell hunting, skateboarding and flying kites, and there are playgrounds scattered all along the waterfront.
The earlier you go the less crowded it is, and many “chiringuitos” (beach snack bars) are open early if you want to get coffee, fresh orange juice, etc. On the weekends the promenade is a never ending parade of bikers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, and people generally enjoying the sunshine.
Marbella has one of the highest levels of sunshine in Europe and its climate throughout the year is almost identical to Los Angeles. However, Los Angeles has nothing to compare with being able to see Africa in the distance on a clear Mediterranean morning !
One very nice restaurant we often go to at the beach is called “Trocadero,” and it’s also a good place to start a walk or run. You can either go left towards the main town and its shops, restaurants, etc…or go right towards the Marbella Club, past lots of mansions, and even all the way to the harbour at Puerto Banus (quite a long run.)
The nice thing about Trocadero is that children can play on the beach in front of the restaurant while the adults have a long lunch or dinner in the sunshine or under the umbrellas on the deck.
To get there, you go right at the Rocket (the roundabout at the bottom of the hill) and drive along the main road until you see a BP petrol station on your right. Theres a roundabout just after it and you use that to cross the main road to the beach side.
IMPORTANT: This main road is extremely busy and you’re not allowed to turn left across the oncoming traffic. You must use the “cambios” (change of direction) or the occasional roundabouts.
When you’re on the beach side, turn left, drive about 50 yards, and take the right turn just before a (once) beautiful Arabic looking building called "Ares Bank". Drive down towards the water, and park anywhere you can find a space. Walk down a short path, follow the beach walk for aobut 100 yards, and Trocadero is just there.
They serve food almost all day, and it’s a great place to go when you first arrive and feel like jumping into or just gazing out over the sea.
The Old Town, and “Orange Square” in particular, are definitely worth visiting. An easy way to get there is to go left at the Rocket and follow the main street eastwards along Avenida Ricardo Soriano.
After about a kilometer, you’ll see a small park on your right. Just before you get to it, turn right and then immediately left. You’ll see signs for an underground parking lot thats usually not too full.
After you park, walk north through some beautiful tall trees, past a lovely old fountain, cross the main road, and you are at the entrance to the Old Town. It’s a bit of a maze at first but within a few minutes you’ll find Orange Square (Plaza des Naranjas), which is filled with restaurants, a charming old church, and lots of orange trees filled with birds.
Another very different type of local “town” nearby is Puerto Banus. This is a huge harbour complex that was built as a Spanish version of St Tropez. It’s about 4 kilometers from the house and is definitely worth a visit.
To get there you turn right at the Rocket and drive West for about five minutes. A kilometer or two after a beautiful mosque beside the highway, you’ll see a large complex on the water side and a bullring up on a hill. Take the exit marked “Puerto Banus” or “Nuevo Andalucia” and double back under the highway you’ve just been driving on.
PB has some very popular harbourside restaurants & bars, every kind of shop imaginable, lots of spectacular over-the-top yachts, and the people watching is really fun !
Many of the frontline restaurants are very good so just choose the style and atmosphere you like best. There are some great Italian and seafood restaurants, and we’ve even found a Japanese Benihana style one on the non-harbour side...Just go past the mega yachts near the big stone tower and turn right at the entrance to the harbour.
At night, the second row/street (which is largely closed during the day) turns into Nightclub Alley, and along with some slightly dodgy ones, there are a few cool places (jazz bars, cocktail lounges, etc) tucked in there.
Last but not least, away from the water and closer to the highway is a large store called "El Corte Ingles". It’s sort of the local Harrods, and has everything you might need (at a price), including a huge supermarket. The whole area also has numerous individual shops from Zara to Louis Vuitton.
There also happens to be a very useful branch of "Corte Ingles" right at the bottom of our hill near the Rocket. They have a pharmacy, a small supermarket with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and they stay open quite late. They also have an upmarket "Club del Gourmet" which is where you’ll find things like foie gras and vintage champagne for special occasions.
To get there you can either walk down the hill for about 5 minutes, or (if you plan to buy a lot), drive and take the small turn that filters you onto the main road heading West. Be careful with the turn as people tend to park all along the side of the road in that area.
After turning right, stay close to the shop and you’ll immediately see the sign for the Corte’s underground parking.
When you come back out of the parking lot, the road system forces you to turn right and go around the Rocket again to go back up the hill.
WARNING...that roundabout has a complicated light system, and a stream of traffic that merges from the right...BE CAREFUL when you get a green light leading you towards the motorbike shop, because the people coming down the hill on your right also have a green light at the same moment.
Incidentally, that motorbike shop rents Vespas and other wheeled things at very reasonable rates.
Also in that Rocket area is a very nice bakery and coffee shop that we often go to in the mornings. It’s called “Cafe de Ronda,” opens early, and is right next to a newsagent that sells lots of international papers.
To get there, when you come down the hill go straight ahead, leaving the Rocket on your left and passing the "Palacio de Congressos" on your right. Go around the next roundabout and take the turn that would be at 9 o’clock. Go straight ahead across two streets and you’ll see the newsstand on the corner. Park anywhere you can find an open space.
If you’re interested in tennis, riding, golf and other sports and activities, there are two hotel/resorts in the area with all kinds of facilities that non-residents can use (at a price, of course). They are the Marbella Club and Puente Romano.
Among other things, the Marbella Club has an extensive spa with all the usual sorts of treatments. It also has very nice restaurant called the MC Café, as well as a poolside buffet, and a more formal option in the main complex.
The beautifully landscaped Puente Romano is built around an original Roman Bridge from the First Century. It has tennis courts, and also has one of the most popular nightclubs - "Suite" - which has a Moroccan theme and very good music. During the summer months Suite moves down to the beach.
To get to either the MC or the PR you turn right at the Rocket and drive west in the direction of Puerto Banus, Sotogrande, Gibraltar, and one of the main wind-surfing spots on the coast at Tarifa. The two hotels are about 2 kilometers along that road.
The Marbella Club is hard to miss and has its own "Cambio de Sentido" to cross the main road. To get to the Puente Romano you take the exit beside the beautiful white mosque on the hill, and a flyover leads to the PR.
If you take that turn but go right (away from the sea) instead of taking the flyover, you head up towards two other very interesting nightclubs...One is a slightly old-fashioned more traditional one called “La Notte,” and the other is the architecturally dramatic “Olivia Valere,” owned by a very charming lady of the same name.
Last but not least (in terms of entertainment), Nikki Beach is definitely worth visiting. Like all the other Nikki’s around the world it’s very much a “party” scene, but during the day (and not in High Season) it can be quite child-friendly. It is part of, and right next to, the Don Carlos Hotel, which also has a great pool that children love.
To get there you turn left at the Rocket...drive right through the center of Marbella and out of town under the huge "Marbella" arch.
Stay on that road (the "old" main highway that parallels the sea) for about 8 kilometers until you see a large white tower on the right with "Don Carlos" at the top. Take that exit (“Elviria”) and follow the small signs to Nikki Beach...
It takes a little longer to get to than other places in Marbella, but the scene there is great fun, the food is fabulous, and the children will love the sea, the music, the crazy adults, and the Don Carlos pool.
Whether you’re staying with friends or family and hoping for a relaxing or an extremely active holiday, we’re sure you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in Marbella...
Most of all, we hope you have a wonderful time staying at Casa Wildman !