Puerto Banus is Marbella’s famous port, nicknamed the St Tropez of Andalucia, it’s a Mecca for the rich and famous and is home to one of the largest luxury shopping centres in Spain.
José Banús was a property developer who built Puerto Banus to look like a traditional Andalusian village and marina. The grand opening party in 1970 had a guest list like the whos-who of international influence, with attendees such as film director Roman Polanski, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.
Today, the modern 915 berth marina is home to the super yachts of the uber-wealthy. Rife with celebrities, the streets swell with luxury cars, expensive fashion boutiques and exclusive restaurants. Visitors flock to the Puerto Banús beach clubs. All day bars serve cocktails and champagne to bronzing bathers lolling on the sun loungers along the sand.
To the west of the marina is Mistral Beach, with a club and chiringuitos serving traditional seafood. On the Nueva Andalucia side is the Blue Flag beach of Playa de Levante (or Puerto Banus beach) which is home to Water Sports Banus and the Levante Beach Club. A short drive away is Nagueles Beach, home to the Marbella Club Hotel, the Puente Romano Tennis Club and chef Dani García’s Michelin star restaurant.
Puerto Banus is in the centre of the Costa del Golf and enthusiasts can enjoy the Monte Paraiso, Golf La Dama de Noche, Aloha Golf Club, Las Brisas Golf and the Las Naranjas Golf Clubs nearby.
Spaniards make up about 30% of the non-transient population. The other 70% is made up of British, Scandinavian, American and Arab residents.
The south side of the marina is flat and conveniently located within walking distance from the bustling shopping district. However, property on this side is scarce, and expensive, especially when offering unobstructed views over the water. You’ll find apartments in the main and occasionally luxury villas. To the north are mountainside residential areas with homes better suited to families. These are often better value for money, with prices related to security, shared facilities like tennis courts, heated pools, shops and restaurants, but also interior design features and terrace space.
Luxury boutiques selling everything from Christian Dior to Bang and Olufsen line the streets and in Antonio Banderas Square you’ll find an enormous El Corte Ingles department store, which incorporates the luxury hypermarket, Hipercor. There are lots of amenities catering to the international residents of this area, from Waitrose groceries to English speaking cosmetic dentists.
Malaga Airport is 60 kilometres away and you can get to Puerto Banus by taxi or (via Malaga city centre) bus. Driving is easy, as there’s a good road system. You can approach via the A-7 toll roador the N-340 coastal road — a longer but more scenic route. There’s an extensive bus network joining Puerto Banus to neighbouring towns and rural areas.
The Health Center San Pedro De Alcántara on Calle Príncipe de Asturias is an excellent place to seek out state healthcare. There are plentiful private medical facilities too, including Helicopter Hospital Health, a small hospital utilising helicopter emergency vehicles.
The cost of living is high in Marbella, but wages can reflect this. House prices are similar to those in northern Europe, but utilities and transport costs remain low.