La Zagaleta, Marbella’s most luxury urbanisation
Benahavis village has won the hearts of even the most seasoned visitors to the Costa del Sol. Known for its fantastic array of high quality restaurants, the village welcomes those seeking a fine dining experience in a family friendly atmosphere and a beautiful location.
At 500 metres above sea level and just a gentle ten minute drive inland, Benahavis is also becoming renowned for its outdoor activities. The hilltop village is nestled under the Serranía de Ronda mountain range, the ideal backdrop for the new craze of adventurous exploring. Canyoning in the Guadalmina River, 4×4 jeep safaris, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and hiking – there’s plenty to keep the thrill seekers occupied. For something slightly less adrenaline fuelled, cross Las Angosturas at the Tres Pergolas to join the Acequia hiking route – one of several starting near or within the village.
Benahavis is the wealthiest municipality (per capita) in Andalucía due, in no small part, to it being home to some of the most luxurious urbanisations in Spain, including El Madroñal, the Marbella Club Golf Resort and La Zagaleta Country Club, the most exclusive and revered of these estates.
With a history of famous owners including Henri Roussel (father of Cristina Onassis’ husband Thierry Roussell) and later controversial businessman and onetime world’s richest man, Adnan Khashoggi, La Zagaleta was originally a hunting estate until it was transformed into a 2,000 acre residential development by the current owners.
It’s come a long way from the days when Khashoggi’s lavish parties were the talk of the town and the envy of all who weren’t invited. His massive 5,100m2 villa has now been transformed into the superb La Zagaleta clubhouse, open exclusively to residents and members who can access the various meeting rooms, restaurants, bar, café, BBQ, swimming pool, library, party pavilion, billiard room, bowling alley and pro-shop.
Limited to 420 plots, each with permission for the building of individual villas only and bordered by high trees and foliage, La Zagaleta has been designed to ensure the privacy of its elite residents. From the ten-metre natural green zone enforced between each plot to the strict security procedures employed on the two entrances, property owners in La Zageleta can feel reassured that their comfort and privacy are of utmost importance. It’s for this reason that so many celebrities, business leaders and politicians choose to have residences there, including the former Mayor of Moscow, Rod Stewart, Roman Abramovich and Hugh Grant. As you would expect from Europe’s finest, luxury gated development, security is tight and rumours circulating around Vladimir Putin’s purchase of a property within the confines of La Zagaleta cannot be confirmed or denied.
Once past the security personnel guarding the entrances from the road winding up from the Marbella coast, La Zagaleta is home to a breath-taking mix of stunning traditional and modern architecture, and natural beauty. The resident deer, wild boar, goats and pheasant wander freely among the cork oaks, olives, colourful fruit trees, dogwoods and rockrose bushes, which line the prestigious and exclusive golf course and other green areas. Of course, La Zagaleta’s elevated position ensures that the views of the surrounding area are spectacular – from many parts you can see right across the Mediterranean to Gibraltar and Africa beyond. Look out as well for eagles and vultures hovering overhead, making the most of the air thermals to aid their flight.
The extraordinary multi-million euro mansions are a world apart from your average Spanish villa. Sited on plots ranging from 3,000m2 to 10,000m2, typical features include home cinema rooms, private spas, guest houses, lavish bedroom suites, garages housing six to ten cars, catering sized kitchens, expansive living spaces, infinity pools and enchanting gardens.
Alongside its two very exclusive 18-hole golf courses and club house, La Zagaleta also boasts tennis courts, an equestrian centre, horse-riding and hiking trails, a heliport and management services offering private transfers to and from the airport, laundry and cleaning, gardening and pool maintenance, babysitting, chauffeurs, banking and administration.
An opulent haven of natural beauty teamed with discretion, privacy, exclusivity and security, you could be forgiven for thinking that La Zagaleta was inaccessible and miles away from anywhere. While Benahavis village is just a few minutes drive from the security gates, Marbella and Puerto Banús are equally easy to access within 15 minutes by car. En route you can find a good selection of restaurants, golf courses, spas, shops and, of course, the fabulous Costa del Sol beaches – that’s if you can tear yourself away from the peace and tranquility of La Zagaleta itself.