English | 

The ‘boom’ of luxury hotels in Marbella

By Mas Property

on Mon Aug 15 2022

The five-star establishments of the Andalusian city are experiencing a spectacular tourist season. They are the most favoured since 2021. They have high occupancies, prices have risen an average of 30% compared to 2019 and the days of stay have increased. In the luxury hotels of Marbella nothing seems to go wrong, they are experiencing a spectacular tourist season.

The pandemic generated a very positive inertia for luxury hotels and customers felt especially safe. And that has been increasing”, underlines José Luque, president of Aehcos, the hotel association of the Costa del Sol. Luque is also CEO and director of Fuerte Group, the Marbella family group that has six vacation hotels and an apartment complex. In May 2023 they plan to reopen their historic hotel El Fuerte, located in the center of Marbella , which will go from being a four to a five star hotel. For this, they will invest 30 million euros.

The city with the greatest offer
The number one Aehcos maintains that Marbella has been a place specialised in luxury hotels, and that it has established itself as the Spanish city, one of the largest in Europe, with the greatest offer in this segment. Luque does not believe that there will be a moderation in prices, although neither will there be a rise. “The most logical thing is that they remain at the current level”, he specifies.

Marbella has well-established luxury hotels that are a brand in themselves: the Gran Meliá Don Pepe, the Marbella Club, the Puente Romano (these three are on Marbella’s Golden Mile) and Los Monteros form the classic hotel quartet highest level since the 1960s. They are establishments that have adapted to the new times and continue to offer a premium offer.

Julián Cabanillas (Marbella Club), “2022 will be better than 2021, which even surpassed 2019” The Spanish market is the one that has grown the most, also the American. “The customer has changed habits and you can experience the luxury environment without being pretentious. For us it has been important to adjust to today’s times while maintaining the essence of the past”, indicates Cabanillas.

The hotel is now at 96% occupancy and has a workforce of more than 500 people after maintaining the staff it had before confinement and paying its ERTE workers so that they could survive and maintain their “loyalty” to the company. It was possible to retain 100% of the workforce, financially helping people who should have started working in March 2020 and who in the end were unable to do so.

Cabanillas looks at Count Rudi, an emblematic figure of the hotel and who was general manager for more than 30 years of the outstanding Marbella hotel. “He comes to the hotel a lot and I like to receive advice from him. The most important thing I have learned is the importance of not being an office man, but knowing the clients and living with them. The business has become more complex, with hundreds of employees, regulations, and highly technical accounting and commercial activity. The day-to-day management can absorb you”.

The charm of the historic centre
In recent months, two very important five-star hotels have opened. One of them is the old Don Miguel hotel, converted into Club Med (French), an all-inclusive luxury hotel with an average price in the high season of 700 euros per day. The other is the former Andalucía Plaza, now Hard Rock, the second in Spain after the opening of the one in Mallorca.

Over the next few years, Marbella will have prestigious international brands such as W (with a building permit for two weeks, on the Real de Zaragoza beach and owned by Marriott), the American Hyatt (in the north of Puerto Banús) and the Canadian chain Four Seasons, the most delayed project, in the Rio Real area in the east of Marbella.

The Ciudadela chain has also opened several ’boutique’ hotels in the old town of Marbella in recent months, which have managed to recover the charm of this area, with narrow alleys, one or two-storey houses painted white, and a gastronomic resurgence on the edge of the Golden Mile, Puerto Banús.

Nobu, an 80-room hotel within the Puente Romano complex, and designed for a younger audience, has also been very successful, without forgetting some classics such as the Don Carlos hotel, the Guadalpín hotel , the Alanda hotel, the Río Real hotel or the Vincci Selection Estrella del Mar.

“If 2022 will be a great year, we anticipate that 2023 will be even better than this year and 2024 and 2025 will be spectacular. The revolution is total”, explains Laura de Arce, Tourism delegate of the Marbella City Council. In terms of clientele, the British has always been the leader, but it is now the Spanish market that has achieved leadership as issuer . The Arabs continue to love Marbella, especially in July and August, and the Russians, not only because of the war, but also before with the pandemic, have stopped coming in significant numbers. “The French have doubled in numbers, the Dutch are up and the German is holding up,” says De Arce.

“If 2022 will be an excellent year, we anticipate that 2023 will be even better than this year and 2024 and 2025 will be spectacular”

Carlos Díez de la Lastra , director of Les Roches, one of the most important hotel management schools in the world, based in Switzerland and Marbella, explains that the Costa del Sol city has become a good place for Les Roches graduates to be able to Start your international career in one of the main global hotel brands that are settling in Marbella. “A large part of our students initially did not want to run a hotel in Marbella, but when they get to know the city and experience it, they feel very attracted. These big brands can help them much more in their decision”. The manager argues that the high level of savings that luxury clientele had achieved has been channelled into European destinations such as Marbella as it is a closer vacation spot. “If instead of spending 3,000 euros on the trip, they spend 600, the rest can be consumed in their leisure and activities.”

Stoneweg background
“The ‘boom’ has been incredible, really, although it is also true that Marbella had already been pointing ways for years. Something had been ‘cooking’ since 2017”. The interest of investment funds has increased after the announcement of the Hyatt and Four Seasons projects and the purchase of the Spanish-Swiss Stoneweg fund of the Los Monteros hotel.

“Companies generate a spiral of trust and are encouraged when you activate high-standing brands.” There is no cloud in sight. Optimism has led to triumphalism. The key is knowing how long this upward inertia will last. And Luque insists on the microclimate: “Here there are not the temperatures of almost all of Spain and Europe. Marbella is a climatic refuge”.

Source: El Confidencial, August 2022

Share this news on