December 2017 - Vacation Marbella

Experience travelling like a local with Matt Landau on Sense of Place

We were honoured to be selected by holiday rental guru Matt Landau to be featured on his TV show “Sense of Place”. Matt and Vacation Marbella are both passionate about the concept of travelling like a local and enjoying an authentic experience on your holiday. A key component of that is staying in a holiday rental property where you can shop, cook and live like a local.

In this show, you’ll see how our founder Borja enables Matt to experience his Marbella, avoid tourist traps, eat in his favourite places and even meet his family. We hope you enjoy the show and fall in love with Marbella just as much as Matt did.

To give you a bit of background to the show and take you behind the scenes we caught up with Borja and asked him about the experience and why he is so passionate about this new way of travelling.

Hi Borja, thanks for chatting to us today. We love the show, how did you get the opportunity to take part?

Matt Landau is the biggest holiday rentals influencer in the US, I consider him my mentor and we follow his advice to make sure we deliver the best customer experience. He chose us as the only company to feature in Spain because he believes in the future of our company and how we are doing things and was kind enough to shine the spotlight on us and explore Marbella with me.

What was it like doing the show for you?  

I am definitely not an actor and I felt quite strange being in front of the camera, but as a business person you need to grab every opportunity to promote your company so I got over my nerves. It was also an honour and a pleasure to be with Matt, someone who is a mentor, friend and all round great guy! Matt’s mantra is helping people and he does that all around the world, from setting up a non-profit in Panama to helping out one of our team to improve his money management by hiring an expert to give him financial lessons. Once I got over the camera being there it was a great experience and I was really happy to be able to show Matt my Marbella, as I’m very proud of this great place!

Why did you want to show your Marbella to Matt?

We love Marbella and are passionate about it as a great holiday destination all year round. Marbella has an image that it is all about luxury shopping, showing off and bling. It certainly is a great luxury destination, but it is so much more than that and I wanted to show Matt and the world that it can be the perfect holiday destination for all kinds of visitors. As we live here we enjoy the history, gastronomy, culture, sport and laid back lifestyle and I wanted to show Matt this other side of Marbella. Thankfully he loved it as much as we do!

Was there anything you were particularly keen to show him?

I feel very proud of what we’ve achieved with Vacation Marbella and it was lovely to share our ethos with Matt and show how we work. We are a young company, with 15 employees and we try to provide a ¨family flavour”. We are growing fast, but keeping true to our founding principal, so even though we host more than 10,000 guests a year, we still focus on providing a tailored experience where our guests can feel like a local while they are staying with us. That is why we do not only offer accommodation, we offer many other services and local recommendations tailored to each guest. We don’t just focus on luxury, or the most expensive restaurant! We often share recommendations on restaurants where we go with our friends or family, where to have a drink, or who is the best fisherman in town so you can experience fishing for real. Life is about experiences and the people you travel with, or you meet while you’re away, that is what makes the difference for us and what we help guests experience.

Why are you so passionate about the vacation rental industry?

We want to show people this new way of travelling, which we believe adds so much to a holiday experience. This is a booming sector and although it is a relatively young industry here in Spain, there are more holiday rental beds than hotel rooms and the demand is growing fast. As tourism continues to boom and demand is limited, holiday rental accommodation is allowing more people to visit and enjoy their holiday on their terms.

What we love is the flexibility of a vacation rental. If you are travelling with your family or a group of friends, you can cook a meal in the kitchen, enjoy a few beers in the living room or make sure that the food suits your dietary requirements by shopping and cooking for yourself. We’re able to offer luxury, great service and excellent value, while providing activities to make their holiday unforgettable.

How can you help your guests have the same experience Matt had?

We offer a lot more than just accommodation, and have pulled together a network of providers which offer the best experiences around the Costa del Sol. We combine this with personal recommendations and contacts which allow our guests to enjoy the full local experience. To expand this aspect of the business we are planning to hire an Experience Manager from a 5* hotel in Marbella who will help us to provide a better experience while our guests are staying with us. Our aim for 2018 is to improve our service even more to provide an unforgettable vacation.

To discover your Marbella, get in touch with Borja and the team and tell us what your perfect holiday looks like, then let us make it happen! You can also watch the show for our insiders’ tips and advice.

Marbella is the perfect retreat for Tiger

There has been only one golf story of real note over the last few weeks and that is the return to action of 14-times Major winner Tiger Woods at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas this month.

The American, who finally looks to be over the troublesome back problems, starred in his first competition in 10 months where, on occasion, he turned back time and looked to have recaptured those halcyon days when he ruled the fairways with a swagger of superiority, often brushing his peers aside thanks to that trademark swing and ice-cold mentality.

Recent years have not been too kind to Tiger on or off the course as he has battled controversy, injury and a loss of form, but the return to the spotlight in the Bahamas proved the 41-year-old is nowhere near a spent a force.

The American started the third and final day of action at Albany tied fifth after rounds of 69 and 68 respectively, but struggled slightly more on the third day with a 75 before rallying again with another four-under 68 on the final day.

He was unable to hold on for victory, but he finished tied ninth with compatriot Rickie Fowler taking the honours as he finished four shots ahead of runner-up Charley Hoffman thanks to an 11-under par 61 that included eight birdies in a dazzling front nine in the final round.

But it begs the question: What now for Tiger ahead of the first Major – the Masters, starting April 5? He is most likely to open 2018 at Torrey Pines and the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January, but he probably won’t be going to the European Tour.

So, we believe the ideal place for him to prepare for a successful 2018 is here in Marbella. Tiger will love the fact there are 30 golf courses in the region and 15 (Tourism website says 16)? alone on his doorstep – the largest number of courses in continental Europe, and the reason why the area has been dubbed “Golf Valley”.

And we have a special partnership with Los Naranjos Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed layout that has played host to several major competitions since opening in 1977, including the Spanish Open. The Marbella course, voted Costa del Sol’s “Course of the Year” in 2005 and 2008, winds its way through orange groves and offers a real challenge to golfers of all standards.

The tie-up with Los Naranjos Golf Club is just one of many we have negotiated with some incredible stay-and-play packages that suit every taste and budget thanks to our reduced green fees.

Marbella and nearby Puerto Banus lie in the heart of the “Golf Valley” and have long been popular destinations for visitors from all corners of the globe thanks to its all-year round temperate climate, stunning scenery, host of leisure and sport activities, golden beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.

The region enjoys around 320 sunny days a year, so even when the summer crowds have long gone, Marbella remains a golfers’ paradise with challenging courses that vary in scenery, whether the backdrop is the shimmering waters of the Med, orange groves or the rugged inland terrain.

But there is so much more to the Marbella region than the highly-acclaimed golf courses, whether visiting as a group of friends, a couple, single traveller or with the family. There are few towns or cities in the world able to boast such delicious cuisine as Marbella, and the town is home to three Michelin-star restaurants.

According to TripAdvisor there are a staggering 1,146 eateries to choose from in the region, so food lovers will never get bored of the flavoursome and varied Spanish cuisine. One of our favourites is the Trocadero Arena; a stylish and cool beachfront restaurant, with a safari lodge theme that is ideal for a lazy lunch or a relaxing dinner.

The Marbella region is world-famous for its nightlife, whether its one of the intimate bars, classic pubs, bustling nightclubs, beach clubs or many pool parties, and the harbour at Puerto Banus, regarded as one of the most exclusive and luxurious resort towns in the world, is the perfect spot for Tiger to unwind after a day on the golf course.

While Puerto Banus, home to chic boutiques and high-end designers, may well have earned the reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, it is also an ideal base for exploring the Costa del Sol and its amazing scenery that has lost none of its natural charm.

There is nearly 28 kilometres of beaches along the coast, giving unrivalled access to water sports, beach clubs, marinas and restaurants. But away from the sea there are just as many sights to marvel at, such as the Sierra de la Nieves Nature Park, a natural paradise and contrast of colours and terrain that is home to a labyrinth of caves and a succession of peaks, cliffs and sink holes.

The Sierra de la Nieves is on the doorstep of Ronda, a quaint, historic town brimming with culture and tradition that offers stunning views of the Serrania de Ronda mountains and El Tajo gorge, a 100-metre chasm that meanders its way through the surrounding countryside.

So, there is certainly lots to do and see for visitors to the area, and the perfect base to sample everything the Nueva Andalucia region has to offer is one of our high-end apartments where the accommodation options are varied and luxurious, whether it is one of our Duplex penthouses, contemporary townhouses or spacious modern apartments. Find out more.

But it is not just the stylish accommodation we have become renowned for over the years. We also pride ourselves on attention to detail as we focus on a range of guest services, which includes car rental, airport transfers, discounted green fees, exciting boat charters, wellbeing massage and even baby-sitting services.

And with Christmas just around the corner, visitors will also be greeted with the add visual delights of the towns’ festive lights, events and activities. We believe Marbella is the perfect destination any time of year. If you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Things to do and places to go at Christmas on the Costa del Sol

Christmas is magical on the Costa del Sol with lots of great activities and events, the towns sparkling with beautiful lights, nativity scenes and delicious Christmas treats to enjoy. What makes it even better, is that the sun usually shines and the temperatures rarely dip below 10°C, so you can take a stroll on the beach to walk off that Christmas dinner or head to one of the area’s wonderful golf courses for a round in between the festivities.

To help you enjoy this wonderful time of year to the full, we’ve picked out some of our favourite events and Christmas activities in the different areas near our luxury holiday rentals, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg! If you are holidaying on the Costa del Sol this Christmas, head to your nearest tourist office and ask for their Christmas programme to make sure you don’t miss any local events.

Malaga

As the regional capital, Malaga has the most to offer at Christmas, but it can be very busy, so we recommend leaving the car and jumping on the train from Fuengirola or Torremolinos to remove the stress. Here are our favourite things to do in Malaga at Christmas.

  • See the lights on Calle Larios – Malaga’s lights are always spectacular and this year they are extraordinary, taking the form of a cathedral complete with stained glass windows and an arched ceiling suspended high above this great shopping street. Every day they have a little show where the lights flash in time to three great Christmas songs, so try and time your visit to catch it at 18.30 or 21.30.
  • Check out the Christmas Zone outside El Cort Ingles – This iconic department store has created a wonderful zone outside the shop which includes a carousel, snow city, ice rink, Christmas train, toboggan ride and an adventure circuit. If you want to get a bit of last minute shopping done, you can also drop the kids for an hour at their play area for just 2€.
  • Visit the Malaga Children’s Fair – From the 26th of December to the 4th of January families can head to Malaga’s conference centre for a very special event including more than 60 fun activities for kids from 2 and 12 years old. Activities include rides, ice skating, mini golf, rock climbing, sip line, arts and crafts, bouncy castles, story time, theatre and much, much more. Kids between 4 and 12 years old pay 8€ for the day, adults pay 4€ and under 3s are free. Buy your tickets online for discounts.
  • Tour the Nativity Scenes – You will see beautiful and elaborate nativity scenes (Belenes) in every town and village on the Costa del Sol, and Malaga has an amazing 61 of them! There is a guided walk around them, and touring these lovely scenes is a very festive way to see the city. Look at 2017 guide.
  • Enjoy some music – There are free concerts every evening in Plaza de la Constitucion between 7pm and 10pm and there’s a wonderful Christmas concert at the Malaga Cathedral on the 20th of December at 8pm

Mijas

Mijas is a lovely place for a Christmas getaway, with the large and busy town of Fuengirola, the pretty village of Mijas Pueblo and the seaside town of La Cala on Mijas Costa with its excellent beaches and famous market. It is also well known for its excellent golf courses and so it’s good for an active off peak holiday. Here are our favourite things to do at Christmas in Mijas and you can check out our Mijas Costa vacation rentals on our website to find the perfect base.

 

  • Visit Fuengirola – There are lots of nice events going on in Fuengirola throughout the Christmas period such as the School Choir Contest on the 13th of December at the Palacio de la Paz, and the Christmas Choir concert on the 15th of December at the Casa de Hermandad de Jesus Cautivo. There’s also a Nutcracker Concert on the 16th of December with the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra amongst many other community events. Check out the full Christmas programme
  • Take a trip to Mijas – The white village of Mijas Pueblo is pretty as a picture all year round, but looks really beautiful at Christmas. Mijas has lots of Christmas activities planned, such as a puppet show on the 13th of December, Christmas Market on the 15th of December, Choir Contest on the 17th and theatre and story telling throughout the month. Find out more

Marbella

Marbella is beautiful over the Christmas period, with the best lights and activities around the atmospheric Old Town. There’s lots going on, as you’ll see below, but as well as this, make sure you tour the nativity scenes, sit in one of the beautiful squares for a drink and enjoy the very special atmosphere while picking up some last minute Christmas gifts. Here are our recommendations on what to do in Marbella this Christmas and you can browse our excellent selection of Marbella vacation rentals on our website.

  1. Join in with one of the Town Hall events – There are lots of lovely free events around Marbella, San Pedro and Nueva Andalucia such as a Children’s Christmas afternoon in Marbella’s Old Town, with workshops, storytelling and a chance to meet some of your favourite characters from 5pm on December 16th. A living nativity scene is taking place at 12.00pm and 4.00pm on December 17th on the Paseo de la Alameda and there’s many more events. Check out the full Marbella Christmas programme in English
  2. Listen to some great music – There are lots of chances to enjoy festive music such as a Christmas carol contest on December 15th in the Plaza de Iglesia in the Old Town.
  3. Take the kids to The Casa del las Golosinas and Kingdom of Ice – Between 27th and 31st of December there will be a special kids’ area with workshops, bouncy castles and games next to the Paseo de la Alameda pavilion and an ice skating rink, bouncy castle and kids’ activities in the Market Square and they are both free.

Estepona

Estepona is a pretty Spanish town, with a lovely vibe and a vibrant Old Town. Its white washed buildings, pretty plazas and pedestrianised streets make for a very special Christmas atmosphere that you will love. We have some really nice Estepona vacation rentals on our website which give easy access to both Estepona Old Town, Marbella and Puerto Banus and make an excellent base for your Christmas holidays.

  • Visit the ice rink and Christmas fun fair – There’s a lovely Christmas village on Avenida Juan Carlos 1 between 11 am and 10pm every day until the 7th of January which is perfect for families to get into the festive mood.
  • Enjoy the music at one of the concerts and performances taking place over the festive period. There is a big Christmas Concert on the 16th of December at the Auditoria Felipe VI at 8pm, a concert by the local schools on the 19th at the Palacio de Congresos, a performance at the Santa Maria church on the 20th and many more throughout the Christmas period.
  • Visit the nativity scenes around the town, or head to the Parque de los Niños above the Port for a living nativity scene on the 17th of December at 7.30pm.

Check out the activity program

Ronda

Between the 22nd of December and the 6th of January there is a little Christmas village in the Alameda del Tajo with an ice rink, bouncy castles, face painting and more from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Don’t Miss

A highlight in all towns and villages is the arrival of the Three Kings on the 5th of January which is always celebrated with a big kids’ parade. The floats feature your kids’ favourite characters from films and TV and classic stories, music and lots and lots of sweets being thrown down to waiting families. This takes place everywhere, with the biggest and best in Malaga and some great ones in the major towns of Fuengirola, Marbella and Estepona.

If you are looking for quality vacation rentals along the Costa del Sol to enjoy as your home from home this Christmas, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team or browse our list of vacation rentals on our website. We can help you prepare for Christmas by stocking your fridge with all your Christmas favourites and decorating the tree for you so you can arrive and start relaxing straight away. Nothing is too much trouble for our valued guests! Please contact us to find out more.