At about this time an eccentric aristocrat and playboy called Ricardo Soriano Marques De Ivanrey, got into conversation with one of Andalusia’s landowners. The landowner rhapsodized about the charms of the Mediterranean life and, something of a romantic; Soriano became hooked on the idea of a place in the sun and, without even visiting the area, bought the finca El Rodeo near Marbella, not far from what today is Puerto Banus.
Having heard so much about life on the shores of the Mediterranean from his cousin Soriano, Prince Max decided to take a drive down from his palace to see it for himself. So in 1946, he fired up his charcoal-burning Rolls Royce Phantom and headed for the southern Spain. He wouldn’t have imagined pausing for a picnic in a pine forest on the coast of Southern Spain would lead to the birth of a legend. His son, Prince Alfonso, returned the following year to buy this rural 180,000 square meter enclave. Santa Margarita, the old finca, became the family’s Mediterranean hideaway.
While his father Prince Max was content to sit under the pines and eat freshly caught fish and seafood, Young Prince Alfonso had more ambitious plans for his family’s Mediterranean hideaway. Enchanted by the atmosphere and its appeal among relatives and friends, and inspired by motels he’d visited in America, the young Prince decided to fashion the finca into a hotel. The embryo of the Marbella Club, with twenty bedrooms, dining room and bar located in the central part of the old farmhouse, opened in 1954. Its first guests were some French travelers who were on their way from their properties in North Africa to spend a holiday in France. They asked if they could spend the night and wound up staying for three weeks. Life on the Costa del Sol at that time was simple, pleasant, cheap and easy.
Year after year, Marbella Club has hosted grand events and celebrations. It has adapted to changes brought about by the inevitable passage of time, to the point where it is about to celebrate its diamond anniversary.
In 2014, the hotel proudly celebrated its 60th birthday. With a plethora of tales and anecdotes, which have been recorded through time in print, there was no better way of paying tribute to the magnificent years gone by than by showcasing six decades of hotel life in a book.
With the invaluable help of Conde Rudi, in September 2014, “Marbella Club, 60 years of history” was launched. This book was written with the love and respect deserved of all the people who have enjoyed a magnificent time with the hotel, as well as those whose hard work and dedication make it possible for there to be many more pages yet to be written in the legacy of this outstanding hotel.
Historical information courtesy of Marbella Club Hotel. Read full history: https://www.marbellaclub.com/en/history.html
The Marbella Club by Nicholas Foulkes: