Marbella Resort: When a hotel resort becomes home

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Marbella Resort: When a hotel resort becomes home

The middle of a Middle Eastern desert country is hardly the place you would expect to find Spanish architecture — but nestled near Sharjah’s corniche, one such place has proved so popular with locals that many have even set up home there.

By Lily B. Libo-on (About Sharjah)

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Published: Sat 24 Aug 2013, 12:03 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:12 PM

An aerial view of Marbella Resort in Sharjah. — KT photos by M.Sajjad

Uniquely embellished with Andalusian architecture, the Marbella Resort — the emirate’s first and oldest hotel resort — still manages to lure hundreds of visitors, despite a number of newer establishments coming up around it.

The resort has witnessed the development of the emirate’s hotel industry over the more than three decades since it was built, in 1976, with some guests staying for years at a time.

Known to be the pride of Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe of Spain, Marbella Resort started as Marbella Club in 1976 under the management of Marbella Spain. Back in 1975, on the silver anniversary of Marbella Club in Andalusia, the idea for a unique club designed in the Arab-Andalusian style of architecture in Sharjah was thought up by the Prince.After more than three decades, Marbella Club, now Marbella Resort, continues to lure clubs and families — mostly Emiratis seeking a quiet retreat. Marbella Club was sold to the Sharjah National Hotels in 1992 and underwent a Dh50 million refurbishment to modernise its furniture, interior and rooms while preserving its Andalusian architecture.

The four-star resort is a popular destination for many families seeking a quiet retreat.

Financial controller of the Sharjah National Hotels Yousef Abu Salameh, says that Marbella Resort added in an Italian cafe, Café Undici, in 1997.

“There are lots of guests interested in Italian cuisine. In the future, we may look into making a major renovation. But, as it is, Emiratis and GCC people particularly find Marbella unique and rare with the privacy of the club.”

Now a four-star hotel, the resort has become a favourite haven of many families, especially Emiratis, GCC nationals, and Indians. Rendezvous Restaurant serves buffet and a la carte international and oriental cuisine, while Caesar’s Palace has traditional cuisine on offer.

The extensive outdoor pool and tennis courts are situated next to Khalid Lagoon, while the resort’s 50 villas, each comprising a master suite and a junior suite, are dotted around the grounds.

The master suite has a king bedroom with attached bathroom, separate lounge and dining room and a fully-equipped kitchen, while the junior suite has a queen bedroom with attached bathroom and a separate sitting lounge 
with sofa.

There are also outdoor temperature-controlled pools, a gym, fitness studio, sauna and steam room, jacuzzi, two flood-lit tennis courts, two air-conditioned squash courts, an outdoor kids play area, and a table tennis and snooker room. It is so well-equipped, many families stay for months — some even years — making Marbella Resort their “permanent home”.

A full villa with private garden and parking costs Dh1,500 per day.

Sa’ad Al Suwaidi, an Emirati who has been a regular customer at the resort, says that he comes home from work finding everything just as he wants things to be. “My kids can roam around, relax and enjoy within and outside the villa. We have a private seating area and satellite TV inside. Coming back from work, I can sit at the private garden and relax. I know my kids are safe and they can go to the fitness centre or play squash and tennis,” he says.

Manned by a workforce of 100, Marbella Resort has become a byword for regular customers who return every holiday.

Italian tourist, Niccolo, enjoys the sports facilities and the pizza at Caesar’s Palace. “It is the best pizza I have tasted outside my home country. I can walk around the pool lawns and watch the lagoon from my villa.”

His wife Giovanna enjoys the sauna and Turkish bath. “It’s perfect for me and I love this place.”

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