Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

Sunday in Sotogrande

There was a whole lot of cashmere knitwear to be seen down
in Sotogrande‘s port today! I am sure you can picture the scene; men casually
sporting their sweaters over their shoulders, while their rather restrained wives
chose Thomas Pink tailored shirts, designer jeans and loafers.
In fact, I quite liked the scene, I must
admit, as it makes a change from glancing tattooed barrow-boy-Brits climbing
out of their Bentley sports cars, a little further east on the Costa del Sol.
We had headed down to the port, to try some of the fancy
tapas at the club marítimo in the small, but perfectly formed puerto deportivo
de Sotogrande. The last time I was here
it was winter and the place was deserted, but today the few bars &
restaurants were all full with families enjoying Sunday lunch and tapas
together. I can imagine that 25 years
ago Puerto Banus must have been very much like this.
Sotogrande is a curious place; a private estate, complete
with security barriers, created in the late sixties. It has with wide,
palm-lined streets punctuated by large villas. Toytown_architecture_sotogrande
The new marina is continuing to grow, and is surrounded by some toy town
architecture. Quite different from Marbella,
where the elegance of its streets and neighborhoods is strongly contrasted by some
pretty nasty sixties apartment blocks, unkempt verges & potholed roads – a
certain rawness that always reminds you that this was once a mining and fishing
town and not always a resort. However the Sotogrande community, with its
perfectly manicured public and private areas, reminded me of those US gated towns in Florida.
Maybe this
should not come as a surprise, since it was an American that had the foresight
to buy the land and develop it. Prices
here for large villas are definitely for the well-heeled, as there are truly
world-class Polo pitches and golf courses in the estate – but there are plenty of
portside apartments at fairly reasonable prices. Nearby Gibraltar Airport is continuing its transition from miltary base to international airport and
is helping make the area increasingly more accessible, as it is now open
to Spanish airlines. Iberia
has started a Madrid service and
Monarch flies to the UK
at prices that are more realistic than BA (who used to boast the monopoly). With the arrival of the low cost
airlines, Marbella soon became
swamped with sock and sandal day trippers, so the Sotogrande cashmere-wearing
locals must beware. Times are a changin’!

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »