It’s that time of year again, glamorous opening parties having heralded the start of a new summer season, and with it the return of the beach club vibe on the Costa del Sol.

The beach club is something that fits into the zeitgeist of our times; a glamorous haven of hedonism right by the sea, where Champagne is on tap, beautiful bodies sway to the tunes of a live DJ and you bask in the southern sun while pondering whether to take another dip or head over to the restaurant. The beach club has its origins in very exclusive and elegant seaside establishments of the Cote d’Azur, the USA and parts of the erstwhile colonial world, but in its modern incarnation it is a very 21st century affair, focused in equal measures on relaxation and partying under open skies.

The Costa del Sol is the ideal spot for the modern beach club to thrive, and over the past ten to fifteen years it has become one of the leading international centres of this stylish good-time phenomenon, offering a choice of beachside venues that range from understated to vibrant party destinations. Here is a selection of some of the most popular beach clubs in our area.

Ocean Club, Puerto Banús

For many, Ocean Club is one of the points of reference when it comes to beach clubs on the Costa del Sol. It starts with an iconic beachside location on the west-side of Puerto Banús, within walking distance along the coastal pathway to its many other amenities, as well as a surprisingly peaceful and relaxing view across a broad swathe of open sea. With seagulls circling in the blue skies above, waiter service, a mixology bar and fine dining restaurant just metres away from your luxuriant sun bed and the large saltwater pool, the scene is set for indulgent relaxation and jet-set partying.

Using your large sunbed as a base, you can saunter off for a soothing massage, head to the boutique for that item you invariably forgot at home or simply drift away to the tunes of the resident DJ – only to re-emerge when it’s time to dine, swim and party. The opening and closing celebrations at Ocean Club are among the most-anticipated glamour events of the social calendar, and they come accompanied with an even more elaborate setting, including live music, glamorous dancers and the beautiful set in all its finery. This is a beachside party venue that embodies the beach club of the 21st century.

Special Features: Famous for its entrancing White & Silver opening and Black & Gold closing parties, Ocean Club is a go-to venue for outdoor Champagne, live entertainment and top international poolside DJs. The Friday Sessions are legendary and the Amaï Restaurant headed by chef Andreas Nygren offers fine dining paired with fantastic sea vistas – making Ocean Club a modern Marbella classic that symbolises glamorous summer.

Nikki Beach, Elviria

Another classic beach club on the Costa del Sol, Nikki Beach similarly conjures up images of languid daytime relaxation and lively night-time fun. The setting upon a sandy beach sprinkled with palm trees gives it a very private tropical island feel, and indeed, when yachts drop anchor just offshore and ferry their occupants to Nikki Beach, there is an unmistakable element of James Bond glamour to it all. As the beach club is adjacent to the five-star Don Carlos resort hotel, this is a very peaceful spot where you can relax in style, cocktail in hand as you hear the crashing of the waves meld with the chill-out music that reverbates in the salty air.

Nikki Beach is glamorous and trendy yet also has a comfortable informality about it that many appreciate, as they tuck into fresh dishes with a tropical flavour or come dressed up for the evening shows and chic opening parties. In classic beach club style, the pool is the focal point, but as the sun goes down in the evening and energy levels rise, it also becomes a spot from which to admire beautiful views across the bay to where the sun is setting in the west. In many ways the epitome of modern Marbella glamour.

Special Features: People come to Nikki Beach for the Champagne tastings, signature White opening and Red closing parties, the daytime dance vibe and the elegant seaside dining in an evocative subtropical setting. The live music, eye-catching entertainment and themed parties are the favourite of the beautiful set, which descends upon Nikki Beach every summer.

Puro Beach, New Golden Mile

Providing perfect symmetry to Ocean Club in the central Marbella area and Nikki Beach in the eastern sector, Puro Beach is a beach club reference in the western area between Marbella and Estepona. Situated within the elegant Laguna Village complex, it is also surrounded by a range of boutiques and eateries, but there is no reason to leave the lovely beachside pool deck as the club is as famous for its delicious cuisine – especially the sumptuous sushi dishes made fresh on the spot – as it is for stirred and/or shaken cocktails.

A DJ adds a contemporary soundtrack to days spent on large lounger sunbeds, enjoying a variety of delicacies and beverages as you dip in the pool and look out across the Mediterranean to the silhouettes of Gibraltar and the North African coastline in the distance. They seem to rise out of a sea – and sky – that is all around you, filling your lungs with salty air and the distant cries of maritime birds that come wafting across the water. The waves and sandy beach are at your disposal, just metres away, and after you’ve lazed in the sun, enjoyed a languid massage and savoured the local delicacies, evening events offer a very special location in which to socialise and let your hair down.

Special Features: Though the bar mixes up divine cocktails and professional DJs create the summer vibe, Puro Beach is also a place where you can indulge yourself and just relax in style, with superb fine quality sushi and other light meals, as well as a beachside wellness experience that includes relaxing massages and yoga. Who said beach fun can’t be revitalising too?

Finca Cortesin Club de Playa

Just a little further west, past the other side of Estepona, you will come across this most elegant of beach clubs. The Club de Playa of the renowned five-star deluxe Finca Cortesin Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort set a little further up in undulating greenery is fittingly located within a delightfully peaceful and private cove between Estepona and Sabinillas. It feels like somewhere you’ve just been lucky enough to discover and keep to yourself, and this refined sense of peace and authenticity in a natural coastal beauty spot adds to the understated style and first class service of the beach club.

In this sense, it is the natural beachside extension of Finca Cortesin, which has garnered international acclaim for the easy sophistication of its décor, ambience, service, amenities and dining options, for it offers the kind of quality experience that many discerning travellers are drawn to. After a day at the spa or a round of golf you might therefore want to take in the sun along a beautifully styled pool whose deep blue merges with that of the sky and the nearby sea. It shows that, combined with excellent service, fine food and expertly mixed drinks, less is indeed often more, for this is a place stripped down of frivolity where you come to relax, socialise and enjoy the good things in life.

Special Features: The 6,000m² beach club right on the edge of a cove oozes elegance, with teak wooden flooring, Balinese beds and sun loungers set around the 35-metre infinity pool and the open-air restaurant that specialises in light meals inspired by the nearby sea. It’s the ultimate spot for refined relaxing, lounging and taking in the views with a cocktail.

La Reserva Beach Club, Sotogrande

Sotogrande perhaps has the longest-established tradition of beach clubs in this region, mostly in the form of informal yet very stylish seaside venues where generations of a select clientele have come to enjoy memorable summers. With the exciting new La Reserva Beach Club, set within an emerging private country club of stellar sophistication, there is now an experience that celebrates the classic Sotogrande ambience but marries it to a contemporary offering in terms of gastronomy, amenities and entertainment.

Not only is the La Reserva Beach Club sumptuously luxurious in a very natural and understated way, it is unique in that its large, lagoon-style swimming pool is surrounded by a combination of decks and rather more unique sections of sandy ‘beach’. And it’s not even by the sea, for this beach club surrounds a man-made lake that ‘brings the sea to the hills’. Created with taste and sensitivity, the concept finds its expression in a wonderfully relaxed and stylish family environment where the emphasis is on natural enjoyment, entertainment and leisure for all ages, fine dining and spa/boutique amenities as well as evening events. Above all, however, it’s simply a very special place to be.

Special Features The ultimate lagoon experience, this inland beach club caters both to families and adults who want to relax and recharge their batteries. Children’s activities and specialist pool and deck areas for families and adults-only flank a manmade sports lagoon that offers windsurfing, kayak, paddle boarding, SUP boards, PADI diving and Mirage Eclipse water bikes. Lounge, sport, dine or enjoy a massage – there’s room for it all.