Living here is only accessible to a few. High-end vehicles, yachts, luxury shops (which are open till midnight) and multi-million euro houses are the hallmarks of Puerto Banus, which is situated 6 kilometres from the most exclusive neighbourhood in Spain, Marbella.
Based on its ideologist and promoter, José Banús, this harbour, proclaimed a National Tourist Interest Centre, bearer of the Tourist Merit Gold Medal, has for almost 50 years drawn millionaires, celebrities, tourists and spectators from around the world.
Founded in 1970, Puerto Banús is part of the so-called golden triangle of Malaga, the cities of Marbella, Estepona and Benahavís and the immobiliary Golden Mile of Marbella. Everything here is brilliant.
It’s just an abundance and ostentation exhibition for many, with elitism among bottles of pricey champagne, dozens of meters long pleasure boats and noisy nightclubs. But it is one of these sites for us to see in a lifetime at least once. More than four million people do so every year.
We suggest you spend the day at one of the Mediterranean’s most privileged ports and the fifth most costly in Europe with a bit of White village and a lot of bustling spots to pass through with nightlife, extravagance and glamour blending with luck.
- Start your day with a healthy and sumptuous breakfast at Rosas Café (Probably the most photographed place in Marbella)
Its instagrammable mural of 35,000 roses, its decoration in pastel tones, its lush terrace and its photogenic dishes are the claim for this cafe. In just a few months, this place has become a temple of pilgrimage of hundreds of influencers.
But it is not just a matter of aesthetics: its artisan bread toasts and organic coffee, for the more traditional or its activated black carbon waffles and bowls with fruit, granola and edible flowers for the more daring, are the reason why everyone comes back.
The best thing: you can have «breakfast» at any time of the day.
- Traveler, it’s time to weigh anchor. You’re in Puerto Banús, and the options are endless. You can rent a boat to be a fisherman for a day with Lovit Charter a Boat, a sailboat to let yourself be pampered – with beauty treatments and massages on the high seas with Rnova Thermal – or take a dolphin-sighting excursion.
- Once on land, stroll around and be surprised by its peculiarities. Its main artery is the Avenida de Julio Iglesias. Still, other artists such as Antonio Banderas or Lola Flores have their space in Puerto Banus, with a square and an avenue, respectively.
Writers like José Saramago and Mario Vargas Llosa and entrepreneurs like Ramón Areces have their street in this area of Marbella (which, by the way, is one of the most expensive on the Costa del Sol).
- Puerto Banús is like going around the world in gastronomic terms: deciding is difficult.
Lebanese restaurants such as Baalbak and Marrush, Italian restaurants such as the mythical and crowded Pizzeria Picasso or the always recommended La Pappardelle, Belgian restaurants such as Grill del Puerto, Mexican and Japanese fusion cuisine as Mesiko, and American restaurants such as Jacks Smokehouse.
But we also find homeland proposals such as La Taberna del Pintxo or La Bocana, where you can feel again, with a fried food from Malaga, that yes, you are in Andalusia.
And beware, there is plenty of Andalusian haute cuisine: Marbella, a stone’s throw away, is the home of Dani Garcia (2 Michelin stars). But if we stick to Puerto Banús, we have to talk about DOM Restaurant: a fierce defence of the local raw material and the Malaga Designation of Origin.
- In Puerto Banus, beauty is also interpreted as a luxury: you are in the paradise of personal care and aesthetic centres.
Choose a treatment from Glow Club and relax. Their Arabian Hammam, for example, is a handcrafted, purifying and detoxifying ritual, perfect for the traveller.
They apply black soap (Beldi) and, after a steam session, a deep exfoliation is performed with a glove (Kessa) of Moroccan tradition that frees the skin of impurities and dead cells.
The next stage is a Rassoul massage, which has absorbent, degreasing, and moisturizing effects. It concludes with a soothing Moorish tea made with natural fruits.
Suppose instead of relaxing; you prefer not to stop. In that case, you can do a customized personal training or enjoy its indoor pool with salt water treatment and finish off with a jacuzzi and sauna session in its sports centre.
- Set yourself up in a Balinese bed at NAÔ Pool Club, one of French businesswomen Olivia Valère’s ventures, to take up the authentic vibe of Puerto Banus. She also owns the area’s most well-known nightclub, which bears her name.
She is the one who rules the frenetic Marbella nightlife and who attracts every year international names that have become regulars in Banús.
- They say that Puerto Banus is the city in the world with more luxury stores per square meter. Its Muelle Ribera street, which serves as a promenade, is reminiscent of Madrid’s Calle Serrano or Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia.
Their opening hours are a bit special, though: most of them open at 11 a.m. and do not close until midnight.
If you want to take something home as a souvenir, what better than a muscatel from La Axarqua, a noisy region of Malaga? Vinópolis, a gourmet boutique focusing on Spanish, French, and Italian wines, sells it. They also host tastings.
- End the day with dinner at Los Bandidos, one of the best restaurants in the port. Its hanging gazebo, Scandinavian-influenced dishes and local ambience will make you linger.
- Start the night on the rooftop terrace of the Benabo la Hotel, with views of the entire port, and continue it at Pangea, one of the most exclusive nightclubs in the area. Sleeping is another story.
As your hectic day will end at dawn, booking accommodation by the hour might be worthwhile, as you will not be spending much time in the hotel.
You may have already noticed: nobody gets up early here.