The country club that arose from a hunting estate in the foothills above Marbella has become one of the most exclusive living environments in Europe – its name by now the very embodiment of prestige and the premium lifestyle setting.

25 years ago, La Zagaleta was still La Baraka, a hunting estate sprawling across the lower reaches of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range.

Famously the former property of the extravagant Saudi magnate Adnan Kashoggi, the area was about to undergo a transformation and become an exclusive country club in the true sense of the word for an international clientele that prizes privacy, security and top-level amenities.

On the site of Kashoggi’s villa a luxurious clubhouse took form, itself the centre point of an 18-hole golf course designed by the Californian architect, Bradford Benz, that is ranked among the best in Spain. Its scenic, undulating greenery unfurls across valleys like a green carpet, skirting private villas as it reveals stunning mountain and sea views that take in much of the Marbella coastline all the way to Gibraltar.

From this elevated position, views and natural beauty are an everyday companion, making it hard to believe that the bustle of Marbella and Puerto Banús is just fifteen minutes hence.

There are many gated communities here as elsewhere, but what set La Zagaleta apart from other luxury residential areas and country clubs from the outset was a sense of privacy and selectiveness that has since come to define it.

Essentially conceived as a private domain expressly for residents only, the name has come to stand for the highest standards of exclusivity. Now, in its 25th year, La Zagaleta is a brand that represents the values of luxury we associate with such renowned marques as Bentley, Bulgari and Breitling.

The Creation of a Luxury Brand

Many believe that luxury is all about the quality of materials, décor and amenities proffered, especially when dealing with real estate, but these elements are just part of the alchemy that goes into the creation of that elusive sense of prestige and desirability that the finest brands evoke.

History and pedigree are other ingredients, but most important of all is a determination to attain a superlative level and jealously guard it through an unwavering dedication to quality and service.

“We put the sign up 25 years ago,” says Ignacio Pérez Díaz who, as the group’s head of business development, has helped to create the blueprint for what has become an internationally recognised landmark of luxury living.

“The name was new, the setting was stunning and the proximity to Marbella very important, but all of this was just the beginning. What we did in 1990 was to develop a concept of luxury beyond the norm and continue working at it every day since then…

Words Michel Cruz Photography Kevin

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