While Marbella is known for glitz and glamour, Sotogrande epitomizes the essence of sophistication and tranquillity. Located in the San Roque municipal area, it is only 15 minutes from Gibraltar Airport and one hour from Málaga International and Jerez Airports.
Sotogrande comprises a 20 square kilometre stretch from the Mediterranean Sea, into the Sierra Almenara mountains. This town, nicknamed ‘Soto’, enjoys contrasting views of ocean, mountain, forests, green fairways, the Rock of Gibraltar and the North African Coastline.
Sotogrande’s famous marina has beautiful pedestrian pathways filled with trendy boutiques, boating shops, up-market estate agents, restaurants, elegant bars, and even an ice cream parlour. Built in the late 70s, this marina has become iconic on the coast and offers all the facilities one expects when docking a boat. These amenities include electricity, fresh water, telephone line, television cables, and 24 hour security. Sotogrande’s marina is currently undergoing a second major expansion that will facilitate space for 1,052 berths. Sotogrande is not known for intense nightlife. Instead relaxed, classy bars are in abundance. Many residents and tourists enjoy long sumptuous dinners and drinks in the marina .
AT THE BEACH
Next to the port is one of Sotogrande’s beaches. This beach is stunning and tranquil but be warned – there is virtually no shade or chiringuitos. However Sotogrande’s coast has very varied beaches, all charming in their own way. The Cala Chullera Beach has lush thick sand as well as rocky areas, making this a perfect beach for diving and rock fishing. One of the area’s most acclaimed beaches is El Cucurucho, with a members-only beach club named after the beach itself. The water is warm and the sand soft and stone free. The ocean current in the area is normally calm and the water unpolluted.
In the 1962s Joseph McMicking, along with his nephews, bought five neighbouring farms called Paniagua. There they laid down Sotogrande’s first brick and began building what is now a well-known elite urbanisation. McMicking hired famous golf course designer Robert Trent Jones to build Sotogrande’s first golf course, who later also completed the world-revered Valderrama, scene of the 1997 Ryder Cup. He then recruited Enrique Zóbel to build the first polo field in 1965. Word spread about this tranquil, beautiful, upcoming place and the elite quickly flocked to the area. An exclusive community was formed and gradually Sotogrande became one of the most idyllic places to live on the Costa del Sol.
Keeping fit and beautiful can be difficult when surrounded by so much delicious food and constantly lounging on the beach. However, when it comes to staying in shape, Sotogrande has it all. Although famous for its golf courses and polo fields, tennis, paddle, and sailing are also in abundance. Sotogrande can offer golf fanatics two of the best courses in Europe (see above) as well as Almenara, a 27-hole course beautiful designed by Dave Thomas, and La Reserva, an 18 hole testing layout by Cabell B. Robinson. Sotogrande is also a paradise for polo lovers. The Santa María Polo Club and the Ayala Polo Club are some of the most established and affluent clubs in Sotogrande. After watching an exhilarating match of polo, visitors can head up to Polo Valley to give the majestic sport a go themselves. With expert trainers and easy ponies, anyone can try polo, even without any prior equestrian experience and still get the feeling of playing polo from the very first day!
For those concerned about keeping up with appearances there are many beauty salons in the area offering every beauty treatment on the planet. If a simple salon doesn’t satisfy, visit the Almenara Gym and Spa at Hotel Almenara. Located at the top of Sotogrande, this spa has an indoor pool, steam baths, massage, sauna and gym.