Bridging the seasons with post-summer sun

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Bridging the seasons with post-summer sun

While young mothers were packing their children’s backpacks for the first day of term, I was packing my suitcase for Spain

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

For me, the time to visit Marbella is after the summer season… once the crowds have left, the temperatures have dipped slightly below the ‘pass me the fan’ stage and the area takes on a more relaxed vibe.

I have always wanted to go to Puente Romano Beach Resort. When I was a little girl it was a hotel my grandparents used to visit. They called it ‘The’ Puente Romano and it always sounded so grand and posh. It is neither of those things. Relaxed and informal, its contemporary design belies the fact that it first opened in 1979. Arriving at the low-lying standalone check-in area you very much get the feeling of arriving at a club – which figures, as it is the under same ownership as The Marbella Club next door.  No formal reception area here – sit down, have a drink, press a few buttons on an iPad and you’re in!

It’s a large resort and we were driven through it to our room in a buggy with our luggage loaded on the back. Already I was in holiday mode. Designed to look like a Spanish village, whitewashed buildings awash with rambling bougainvillea line a mass of winding walkways, some stretching down to the sea, planted out on either side with lush gardens. At the heart of the complex is the authentic Roman bridge that gives the resort its name. This is a vestige of the old Roman road linking Rome and Cadiz.

The hotel has 185 bedrooms and each has its own front door to the outside so it feels like your own home in Spain. Décor is cool, calm and ‘natural’ with lots of bleached wood, white paintwork, marble flooring and touches of blue. After checking out all our room’s features – sumptuous bathroom with Natura Bisse toiletries, pretty balcony, giant TV and fabulous walk-in wardrobe – we walked straight down to Chiringuito beach restaurant where there was a DJ playing and a palpable buzz. People were sitting at tables or on sofas directly on the sand. Cocktails at lunch time seems to be a thing here and when in Marbs… An extensive menu offers up healthy takes on pretty much anything you could imagine you’d want to eat by the beach for lunch and we tucked into tuna tartare with avocado, smoky aubergine, Padron peppers and gazpacho.

El Chiringuito

Afternoons by the pool are my thing on holiday and there are a few to choose from. I settled for the one nearest the sea front to capture the breeze. Working out in the gym is my husband’s idea of relaxation and he was in the very best place for that. This is a mindblowing space with the latest TechnoGym equipment (curved running machines!) and a spin studio, boxing studio plus lots of other areas with equipment that looked scary to me but my husband was cooing over. There are classes and one-to-one training sessions from professional athletes. Have you ever seen a living wall in a gym before?! I was told this lifts the mood, and makes us train better. If you prefer the real outdoors, there is a new jungle gym in the grounds.

The gym at Puente Romano

The gym is next to the Six Senses Spa, which focusses on natural healing and all rituals use oils, salts and herbs from southern Spain.

La Plaza

There are more than 15 restaurants at Puente Romano, most of which are located La Plaza, a large central open-air lounge/bar area which comes alive as the sun goes down. Very much a place to meet, drink, and people-watch, the music gets louder as the night gets darker, until it’s full-on party vibes. It’s fabulous. Among the restaurants is Lena, chef Dani Garcia’s steak house which has been voted most beautiful restaurant in the world, Serafina for fantastic Italian food and Nobu, which needs no introduction.

Sea Grill

We chose to eat at Sea Grill overlooking the beach. A large restaurant (which also houses the most spectacular breakfast buffet comp;eyte with chocolate fondue), it specialises in grilled food. After a silky smooth curried coconut soup and a beef tartare, we shared a spectacular glazed smoky lamb shoulder cooked on the josper grill, together with fat juicy asparagus and confit tomatoes. Where possible, dishes are finished and plated up at the table so there’s a little bit of theatre going on which elevates this to a really special dining experience.

If you do want to take your kids there are many options for them: the Mini Club for 0-4, Teen Spirit for 12-18s and the new La Casita for 5-12 year olds. This has been transformed from one of the resort’s spacious upscale villas, giving them their own home for a great programme of experiences plus a games room, indoor cinema and swimming pool. There’s even the option to go horseriding.

Puente Romano Beach Resort prides itself on offering 100 experiences every day. My experience was 100 percent.

Rooms at Puente Romano start at £351.50 per night B&B.




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