No doubt, you’ll have heard of the mantra “no carbs before Marbs”. Coined circa 2011 somewhere in Essex, years on and this sacred summer rule made iconic by the body-conscious cast of TOWIE is still one worth observing – but not for the reasons you might think.
Once all about watching the waistline, dare we say the days of debuting an enviable beach body on the Costa del Sol are over? As Marbella grows into a destination for the gourmet glitterati, food is in and fitness is out. We say come with an empty stomach, because Puente Romano knows how to feed you – and you’ll need the trouser space to indulge.
A New Foodie Hotspot
Home to no fewer than 11 restaurants and within a short drive of many of Andalusia’s tastiest experiences, it’s Puente Romano Beach Resort that’s putting Marbella firmly on the foodie map. The oceanfront hotel itself is a charming one, spread out and low-rise like a quaint white-washed village with enough amenities for you to stay forever – think multiple pools, tennis courts, a Six Senses spa, bicycles for complimentary use and plenty more.
As for the experience, well, that’s one of a kind too. In fact, with some 100 new guest activities to try – many of which are geared up to gourmands, you’ll be quite spoiled for choice. Each morning guests are asked “what would you like to do today?” – surely the obvious answer is eat!
At Puente Romano, the food fest could start at dawn if you so wish it too. Spectacular breakfast spreads at Sea Grill feature everything from traditional Spanish tortilla to Asian-inspired spicy tofu eggs, meaning there’s plenty to tempt you into some wild buffet behaviour. If the day holds an epicurean excursion or two, don’t worry, you’ll need the energy.
One such excursion to especially delight the Capricorns out there is artisanal goat cheese making. You might never think it but from beachfront Marbella you could be up in the remote Sierra Crestellina within an hour, hugging baby goats, milking their mammas and pressing your own traditional cheese wheels to take home. Dairy lover or not, it’s one hell of an authentic experience.
If it’s a quintessentially Spanish culinary experience you’re after, the good news is you won’t have to go as far as the Crestellina Mountains to find it. A quick post-breakfast ride into Marbella town in the safe hands of Puente Romano’s executive chef could see you exploring the tourist-free mercado municipal in search of the ultra-fresh seafood haul you’ll need to rustle up a paella for lunch. Sound a little clichéd? You might think so, but one bite of this rich, juicy rice dish and you’ll understand why it’s a must-have experience. We’re all too familiar with dry, stodgy paellas, but this one, expertly-prepared before your eyes, served up in the sunshine and washed down with white sangria is in a league quite of its own.
If your kind of gourmet getaway involves some light boozing, at Puente Romano you’ll be pleased to embrace a classy, Spanish breed of day drinking, carefully curated by the resort’s master sommelier. Like your sunny afternoons accompanied with a tropical tipple or two? You can learn to mix up your own authentic sangria that’ll hit the spot every time. Fond of sampling the local liquors? Sip your way through a fine selection of sweet, syrupy sherries produced in the region… and that’s just at the hotel. Venture out beyond Puente Romano to the mountain town of Ronda and you might just find yourself tasting a nice line-up of organic, biodynamic red wines amidst some of the area’s most scenic vineyards. Salud to that!
Save some space to indulge after dark because this is when Puente Romano truly comes alive as a culinary destination. In fact, you’ll have so many options when it comes to food and drink that the resort’s “dining safari” experience is actually a lot less eccentric than it may at first sound.
What it entails is a leisurely, evening-long dinner, with each tasty course enjoyed in a different restaurant or bar on the Puente Romano property. That means you won’t have to commit to one cuisine; if you want to pair Michelin-quality tapas with tandoori, it’s all possible. What’s more, you won’t have to waddle between venues or totter around in your heels – you’ll be ferried door-to-door in true safari style… unsurprisingly past many a parked exotic car.
If going out is on the cards, don’t miss Marbella’s old town tapas scene. Hidden out of sight along the narrow, historic streets, go with someone in the know and you’ll discover some heaving local joints to satisfy your croqueta cravings. An ultra-authentic tour that winds up for the night at El Bordón tapas bar, prepare to clap along to some seriously immersive flamenco singing until the early hours – was there ever a better way to round off a visit to Andalusia?
All culinary experiences mentioned are available to guests of Puente Romano Beach Resort at an additional charge. They are but a few of the 100 exceptional new ways to explore Andalusia, a collection of bespoke adventures curated by Puente Romano.