It’s Spain’s Mediterranean escape, a place that for decades has been the go-to spot for jet setters, party lovers and those looking to enjoy sun, sea and sand in abundance. Now it’s been given a stylish new resort. Travel writer, Amanda Cassidy checks into the new Club Med Magna resort in Andalusia for a sneak peek.
International press trips are my favourite, but not for the reasons you might think. Watching travel editors from all over the world absorbing a new all-inclusive luxury resort is a little like watching children at a new playground. They are in their natural environment – observing, experiencing, asking questions, whisper-asking new friends about what we really think of it. You’ve to think on your feet. Everyone’s on a deadline and you all want to sample every aspect of whatever you are reviewing mainly to do the feature justice for your readers.
Club Med Magna is a luxury lifestyle resort that hugs the southeast coast of the Costa Del Sol. Many of the Andalusian-inspired rooms boast sea views from panoramic windows, while a collection look over La Concha – the stunningly craggy mountain that brings the micro-climate to this pocket of Marbella.
We watched, transfixed as the circus school team showed off their version of the Spanish Web and Trapeze skills
A stay at this sleek property includes an a la carte restaurant, Tierra Gourmet Lounge and three bars for guests to try local food and drinks, as well as a buffet-style restaurant Suenos, which boasts menus that draw on authentic local cuisine.
Night One, the international crew were still on small talk, but soon it was the show-stopping opening night garden party that we were discussing. Hundreds of tables lined the verdant front lawns surrounded by the smell of BBQ’d lobsters and mouthwatering salmon which lingered as we photographed the burnt-orange sunset. Then we watched, transfixed as the circus school team showed off their version of the Spanish Web and Trapeze skills. Churros may have been washed down with champagne afterwards. All was good in the world, and we started swapping travel stories with the Swedish contingency.
One of the key principals of the Club Med philosophy is putting the child at the centre of the holiday. Happy child means happy parents.
But this wasn’t just a flash in the pan to turn our cynical media heads. As someone who holidayed at, and then worked as a GO (A type of holiday rep at Club Med resorts) during the summer between college, these types of magnificent displays are put on every week, for every guest. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Flame dancers pitched up next, moving impressively to Beyonce, and a local Spanish singer performed a traditional fiery flamenco. We moved into the outside pool bar to continue the party.
For a family holiday, it ticks an awful lot of boxes. Irish holiday makers, in particular, will enjoy the direct flights and short transfer (40 minutes from Malaga airport). There is a small water park, flying trapeze, fitness classes, a mini-club, padel, tennis, golf, beach volleyball, archery and arts/crafts. One of the key principals of the Club Med philosophy is putting the child at the centre of the holiday. Happy child means happy parents.
I saw this approach work very well when I worked in the Mini Club in my early twenties, and that commitment has been further enhanced today by the adoption of a training programme for staff that includes childcare, health and safety and even education in child psychology via positive affirmations and encouraging children to do more of what they are good at. As a parent myself, this impressed me most. As well as having some time as a family, it’s nice for the children to have their own fun. And knowing they are among leaders that can draw the best out of them is comforting, even on holidays.
Afterwards, we snoozed by the indoor-outdoor pool and dreamt of the next paella.
The resort, which opened last Spring, is about twenty minutes walk from the beaches and Marbella’s city centre. It’s also just an hour from Gibraltar, and two hours from Granada, Seville and Cadiz, making it convenient to explore the Arab-Andalucian history of the region.
The setting is lovely: 14 hectare of gardens, five pools and an adult-only Zen Zone, which was one of the places I parked myself for the few days. There are children’s clubs, water games, mini-golf and a zipline. The spa, with 14 treatments rooms, was a cool, calm oasis with plush baby-blue swinging chairs in the relaxation room, overlooking the blue of the Mediterranean in the distance. Afterwards, we snoozed by the indoor-outdoor pool and dreamt of the next paella.
The best part of the experience of Club Med Magna is the sense of sanctuary, the quality of the food, the facilities (I tried padel for the first time and loved it) and the ability to try new things on holidays (including the flying trapeze – what a buzz!)
The lack of a beach club may disappoint, especially as Club Med is synonymous with water sports activities, however the resort doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything, and the diversity of the pools and other activities definitely made up for not having a beach. It’s here I have to emphasise the benefits of the location of Club Med Magna – an Uber will bring you to Orange Square (the stunning old street square of Marbella) in just five minutes. The bright lights and bobbing boats of Puerto Banus are ten minutes away. The beautiful Insta-famous paseo (boardwalk) is just ten minutes away, where you can pitch up for a ice-clinking jug of sangria and watch the beautiful people stroll by.
Marbella at a glance
Editor’s tips: Tamanaco is a restaurant on the beachfront, halfway between Marbella and Puerto Banus that specialises in Hawaiian food, including poke bowls. A great place for sundowners and way cooler than the much more expensive Trocadero twenty feet away.
Try Lekune, a traditional pinxos place where all the Madrid crowd go, and don’t miss the markets on a Saturday morning in Puerto Banus up by the newly-refurbished bull ring. Rent bikes and cycle the paseo. The best ice-cream is El Piave in Marbella (as approved by my three children). Try Costa Jump in San Pedro which is a trampoline park that kicks off on the hour. It’s a ten minute taxi ride from Club Med Magna. For an adventurous day out, visit Estepona, which has had a lot of recent investment. El Madero on the beach has huge cabanas there, and their calamari is among the best on the coast. Lastly, El Higueron restaurant on the way to Malaga is worth a visit – not only is the food *chef’s kiss* but the views are mesmerising.
Irish families will love the convenience of the latest offering from Club Med. An exclusive, all-inclusive resort that means everyone will be happy. Younger children particularly will love the water park and mini club (My ten and eleven year old may have considered themselves too old for how it was presented), but there is plenty for all ages to do and the resort seemed extremely safe. It’s a short hop to the airport, and with the standard of the food offering (Oysters, scallops and the freshest offerings on tap) you won’t actually want to ever leave the resort.
Prices for a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Club Med Magna Marbella in October start from €1,853 per adult (based on double occupancy) with flights from Dublin and transfers included.