When I went to Marbella in February for a little long weekend for my Birthday, I knew I would be back. It’s funny, but I just felt so at home there, with no annual leave left or money, I still knew I would sort something out and get back there.
Fast forward to September, where me and and my friend both decided that Dubai was a bit of a mission for a quick jaunt (I don’t like flying) and that we would return to Marbs. People have mixed feelings about Marbella. All I can say is, there is something for EVERYONE. It certainly isn’t all like you see on TV, and I love the fact you can either go out for a really posh meal or roll out of a karaoke bar smashed at 3am after murdering Think Twice like Celine Dion and get a Kebab that is every bit as greasy as the ones down Romford high street.
Unless you are going ton hire a private jet or risk getting your yacht dirty, the only real options are SleazyJet and RyanScare. The prices vary about as much as Gemma Collins waistline. In February it cost us £79 from Gatwick and in September we flew from Stansted but it set us back £200.
One thing I will suggest is using the Escape Lounge in Stansted. As a nervous flier (and by ‘nervous flier’ I actually mean terrified, tottering onto the plane three Amytriptaline deep with a few vodkas for good measure, telling everyone that will listen I’m terrified of flying then passing out during take off only to wake up through the flight with a headache and the urge to put my life jacket on – immediately), I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal.
Holidays do funny things to people. Despite the many technological advancements like allocated seating, you literally cannot get through an airport without someones fat,sweaty arm pit in your eyeball while you look for your bording pass. Although you still have to queue, at least the lounge gets you away from the manic 2 point 4 families in Wetherspoons paying on the slowest card machine in the world.
You have booked yourself into the lounge and suffered the flight. Do you really want to sit outside for Malaga airport playing ‘guess whether Resorthoppa will show or not?’. The answer is no. I have and will use Mark every time I go there now. He is always at the airport waiting, and takes the worry out of the to and from the airport journey. Catch him on Twitter.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Melia Marbella Banus. I’ve often thought that staying in the same hotel at the same place year in year out sounded like something those posh 60 year olds that are head to toe in Breton stripes with travel luggage that costs more than your house do, but now I can see why.
From the minute we walked in we were treated like VIPs. We did a little upgrade to the Level room, which meant we got access to a little lounge with free food and cava (or heartburn juice, as I call it) all day. As soon as we walked in they took us in there to check in at the Level with a glass of cava. None of this waiting at the desk with the commoners darling! Our cases beat us to the room as well.
The rooms were lovely. The maid literally came about three times a day. We couldn’t get rid of her or stop her giving us towels and chocolate. Swear she wanted to make us fat so she looked thinner. They turned down the beds while you were out for dinner, which really was a touch of luxury. I hate pulling my own blanket down, what a pain!
The mini bar was plentyful, I have to admit I did crack open the Moet one night when I came back drunk. Luckily the bill wasn’t too horrendous and I think I still owe them for one sip of water. Here if you ever want me to pay for that Melia, I don’t shy away from my responsibilities.
We had a great view from our balcony too, and we didn’t even ask for a pool view! WIN.
The grounds were absolutely immaculate. You know when you look in a brochure or on a website and the pictures are wonderful then you get there and everything has a slightly brownish hue and smells like Pitsea? Well this didn’t happen. It was even MORE beautiful than the photos, right near the port, and the Level upgrade meant we had free drinks and snacks all day. Definately stay here.
Where to eat
I mentioned it in my previous blog, and I’m mentioning it again for the sheer fact it is amazing. you know you have got old where you would rather spend your money on nice food than getting mortal on all you can drink for 15 euro. I don’t know if I can class the pork belly as my ‘favourite’ dish because I’ve only ever eaten three things, but it’s pretty bloody nice. The shepherds pie is proper cute as well. Yes, I know I’m in Spain blah blah should eat Spanish food, I had enough horror with the lunch on the day trip to Morocco, don’t start!
If you are looking to dine actually on the port (La Sala is a little walk up from the fountain), then Grill De Puerto is probably one of the best choices. It is a little bit pricey, but lets face it that’s what you go to Marbella for!
There are a couple of outdoor tables with a view of the port, and the menu is really varied. But the best bit is the wine list. I know wine (well, I know Aldi wine) and even the house red was lovely. They really know what they are talking about so don’t be tempted to big it up like you know all the grapes, just do what I did and go ‘Can I have a glass of whatever red you think I’ll like’.
Where we drank
If you are looking for panoramic views of the port and a toilet woman that has Rennie, then Pangea really is for you. It is elegant and open, and the music is pretty good. The only set back is that is you don’t have a table, there really are not great places to sit or stand.
Behind the port, there is a street with loads of smaller bars like Linekars and Bijoux which have a mauch more relaxed atmosphere. By that I mean you can get wrecked and make a show of yourself without it ending up in the background of TOWIE. We never made it to TIBU as we somehow ended up in a karaoke bar where I proceeded to take my shoes off then sing Twink Twice by Celine Dion in keys that probably don’t even exist and then celebrate by kissing a Scottish man about my Mums age. When in Rome etc etc.
Wherever you do want to drink, there are plenty of people offering you all you can drink Kalashnikov Vodka that will make you feel like one of the Zombies from the Thriller video the next morning.
Our hotel sent us a handy list of all the places they could book and excursion to, and Morocco sounded like a right adventure. I’m terrified of boats and my mate gets sea sick. Perfect! If you are thinking off booking this excursion, it’s a long day. We was up and at it pestering the garage woman for paracetamol by 7am for my sore neck which I did laying on a lounger funny on the first day after all the sleeping tablets.
We took a coach to Tarifa, to get the ferry across to Tangier. We had our ferry all booked by the tour company, but there seem to be absolutely loads, you can cross every hour. The journey itself is pretty uneventful. Try and eat in the ferry port as all you can get on the ferry is moody strudel and chicken baguettes that have been reheated more times than that glass plate in your microwave.
Tangier itself was an eye opener. I’ve traveled around a bit, done some bits of Asia etc so nothing phases me in the slightest anymore, but it was still an assault on the senses. Doing an organised tour is a bit hard, as you HAVE to participate in all of the activities they chose for you. I can’t say I would always ride a camel in a country like that with no guarantee on how they treat them, but you pretty much get dragged on because they want your euros.
As well as forceful camel rides we also had to sit through a carpet exhibition and the most horrendous lunch ever. Again, I’ve been about and eaten in some random bars in Thailand and tackled street food int he Philippines but this was a different kettle of fish. The only good thing was that we met two girls from Liverpool who were absolute funners and bonded over the unhygienic food and went out for a drink that night!
The worlds worst snake charmer, being accosted by 100 street sellers and seeing a kitten were other highlights of the day. All in all, Tangier really was lovely but I think the tour guides are so intent on bringing euros in, that the whole feel of what the real experience is like is lost. It was obvious some of the guides made deals with our hawkers, and we really did feel a bit unsafe at times.
The actual town of Tangier is beautiful, however I would suggest not going on an organised tour and hopping on the ferry over yourself if you wish to visit.
Everyone knows I love Marbella, but this time when I went over something really clicked and I really did have the best holiday ever. They haven’t paid me to say this but it genuinely is because Melia Marbella Banus was so lovely.
The barmen in Bijoux helped matters along a bit as well….