Happy Birthday, Puerto Banus!

Marbella 1963 aerial view

The two names Marbella and Puerto Banus are almost inseparably connected, two great tourist enclaves of international fame and prestige. Puerto Banus, the luxury leisure port of reference in Europe located a few kilometres from the centre of Marbella, celebrates this year its 50th anniversary.

In our recent article on Marbella we of course also mentioned Puerto Banus. But this unique marina certainly deserves an article for itself, because of its dazzling and very interesting history: Join us for the 50 years of Puerto Banus in Marbella!

How it all began

As I said, the story is very interesting. Many locals know that Puerto Banus is named after its developer and builder, Jose Banus, but little else or how it became famous by attracting so many aristocrats, tycoons and actors.

When a Prince came to the Costa

The story of Marbella is that of a fairy tale, of a sleeping beauty, a fishing village surrounded by fields of crops, where one day in 1947 Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe arrived in search of suitable land to attract the international Jet Set.

Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe at the entrance of the Marbella Club. Photo Classic Driver

Prince Alfonso became the promoter par excellence of the Costa del Sol and built the first 5-star hotel in 1954, the mythical Marbella Club, where over the years aristocracy and actors from those golden years rubbed shoulders.

Brigitte Bardot, Gunter Sachs and Alfonso de Hohenlohe

Later, in 1966, Prince Alfonso brought together the architect Noldi Schreck, who participated in the design and construction of Beverly Hills, and the Franco promoter (yes, dear foreign reader, Spain was a Dictatorship under Franco until his death in 1975), Jose Banus.

Audrey Hepburn in Marbella

Together they devised this Andalusian-style marina with a touch of sophistication that was inaugurated in 1970 with more than 1,500 guests, among whom were the princes of Spain, the princes of Monaco Rainier and Grace Kelly, Aga Khan, Roman Polanski, Hugh Hefner and many more.

Puerto Banus, a favourite high-end leisure spot

Hohenlohe, Maria Callas and Aristoteles Onassis

In a few years Puerto Banus became the favourite destination of international high society, royalty, singers and actors. Those were golden years when celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, Maria Callas, Sean Connery, Liz Taylor, Liza Minnelli or the magnate Onassis, Villapadierna, Bismarck, the Thyssen or the Alba walked through its streets just to mention a few names.

Very soon the great Arab fortunes were also attracted to spend a cooler and uninhibited summer on the coast of Marbella, with King Fahd of Arabia being one of the most assiduous.

With this panorama it is not surprising that this most exclusive marina in Europe is one of the favourite ports for the most impressive yachts in the world, while in its coquettish Mediterranean Andalusian-style streets are located the largest number of luxury brands per square metre in Europe with firms such as Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Loro Piana, Versace or Valentino, which will be joined this 2020 by Fendi or Moncler, among others.

Sean Connery and Diane Cilento

Happy Birthday, Puerto Banús!

Lady Kitty Spencer, niece of Lady Di, has been chosen as ambassador of an international campaign to celebrate these fifty years of Puerto Banus, this scintillating and exclusive parallel universe, which the most of the annual 5 million visitors only see from the outside, having their photo taken next to a high-end sports car or a super-luxury yacht.

Kitty Spencer

The campaign shows some of the main attractions that make Puerto Banus and Marbella a luxury destination of international reference: its nautical, shopping, gastronomic, hotel and sports offer, among others.

Things to do in Puerto Banus

This is another subject we can write a whole article about! So here’s just a sketch to help you get your bearings.

Shopping: We have already mentioned it: If you like select boutiques, this is your perfect place, with more luxury brands per square meter than anywhere else.

Gastronomy: With such a select clientele, obviously the gastronomy is also first class with a wide selection of international cuisine, highlighting El Lobito de Mar by Dani García with 3 Michelin stars, the creative cuisine of Skina, Nikki Beach for dinner by the sea or Finca Besaya.

Sports: It is not only a Marina, but there are also some magnificent beaches with fine sand, where you can practice paragliding, jet skiing or surfing. Or enjoy the beautiful and long promenade by bike, walking or running.

Beach Clubs: If you’re already on the beach, drop in on some of Marbella’s most dazzling beach clubs, such as Ocean Beach.

Golf Clubs: Less than 10 minutes by car from the Marina there are 7 magnificent golf courses, such as Magna Marbella Golf, Aloha Golf Club, Real Club de Golf Las Brisas, La Quinta Golf & Country Club, Magna Golf Marbella, Club de Golf Marbella and Los Naranjos Golf Club.

Nightlife: If everything shines during the day in Puerto Banus, imagine the night! Seven, Dreamers, Funky Buddha, Kube, Pangea or Tibu are some of the names you have to stay with if you want to spend a glamorous and fun night in the heart of Puerto Banus.

Pangea in Puerto Banus

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