Club Med is back in Spain following a 72-year hiatus with the opening of its latest resort, the Club Med Magna Marbella. The opening of this new vibrant, modern resort marks a historic return for the brand, which opened its very first Club Med property on Spain’s Balearic Islands in 1950 (there are now locations all over the world, including a Club Med Quebec). I visited for the grand opening this fall and was impressed with the new resort’s focus on health and wellness.
Club Med is best known for pioneering the all-inclusive resort concept now entrenched in our holiday vacation planning vernacular. It is also famous for its family friendly atmosphere. However, for those who would rather not frolic with children on their vacation, the resort offers an adults-only Zen pool and a top-notch spa (with its own pool that is also adults only), plus a nightclub. The Marbella property has enough activities to keep adults entertained and children sequestered in their own areas.
“We understand that clients are seeking more disconnection and well-being when traveling and with that in mind, we have prioritized and adapted our wellness programming to meet this demand,” said Carolyne Doyon, President and CEO of Club Med North America and the Caribbean. “Club Med Marbella was designed with an overarching philosophy of ‘disconnecting to reconnect.’ To bring this philosophy to life, the resort offers numerous wellness offerings and activities for our guests.”
Where is Club Med Magna Marbella?
On the Costa del Sol in the far south of Spain, Club Med Magna Marbella is perched on a hill overlooking the legendary Andalusian city. The resort’s main detractor is the location is not right on the beach, although it does have views of the Mediterranean Sea from many of its rooms and suites.
That said, Marbella’s lively town center and beachfront are just a quick 15-minute walk away, making the city easily accessible. There are also plenty of taxis to get you into and out of town if you don’t want to walk (it is downhill on the way in but an uphill slog coming back).
The 35-acre resort features lots of lush greenery and colorful gardens as well as Arab-Andalusian influenced architecture. It is constructed around a lagoon swimming pool surrounded by cherry red parasols and cushioned sun-loungers.
The 485 rooms and suites exude a playful ambiance with bold prints and a blue and white color scheme. Balconies offer views of Marbella as well as the Sierra Blanca Mountains and the sea beyond.
What to eat at Club Med Magna Marbella
Club Med serves regional cuisine, so at Magna Marbella you can expect lots of jamón ibérico, fresh seafood and other Spanish delicacies. Club Med is also a French brand, so the selection of cheeses and quality of the croissants is also stellar.
There are two restaurants onsite. Suenos is the main dining room and serves an extensive buffet for three meals a day. I’m often put off by buffets but the food here was quite good. I loved the variety of food stations serving everything from pizza to Chinese dishes to sushi. There is also a rotating culinary theme to each dinner so you never have to eat the same thing twice — one night I was there the resort served oysters, for instance.
The second restaurant, Tierra Gourmet Lounge, requires reservations. It features a more upscale dining experience and serves a tapas forward small menu.
What to do at Club Med Magna Marbella
More than 25 sports and activities are available to try at Club Med Magna Marbella. The flying trapeze and circus classes are two of the most popular.
Zen yoga is also offered, and there is a golf course and mini golf course, archery, and numerous hard and clay tennis courts where you can learn the native to Marbella sport of paddle tennis. Guests can also take a dip in one of five pools including an indoor freshwater pool, the main lagoon pool, an adults-exclusive Zen pool, a dedicated kids pool for the Children’s Clubs, and a family-friendly water park area.
The spa at Club Med Magna Marbella
The health and wellness focus at this Club Med is one of my favorite things about the resort. If you are looking to unwind, head to the CINQ MONDES spa complex. There are 14 treatment rooms and the menu features everything from a traditional North African massage to an anti-aging facial and manual anti-wrinkle Japanese Ko Bi Do ritual.
The spa area also has a steam room, sauna, and an indoor-outdoor long and narrow swimming pool with more lounge chairs and cabanas. I loved this pool and spent most of my time here over the rowdier main lagoon pool. To truly disconnect, head to the adults-only Zen Pool. In a separate part of the resort, it is a bit of a hike to reach, but worth the trek if you want to take a quiet dip followed by a fresh fruit smoothie from the booze free bar.
There are also two dedicated meditation zones with lounge chairs for guests to take a reflective, silent pause. You can get a workout in at the well-equipped gym, or join one of the classes from yoga to pilates or aerial fitness.
What do with kids at Club Med Magna Marbella
If you are traveling with the kids, Club Med offers four award-winning children’s clubs for kids and teens from 4 months to 17 years old. While adults are enjoying the spa or Zen Pool, kids can participate in an array of customized activities for their age group.
Families can also participate in the Club Med Amazing Family program, an agenda of weekly activities for families to bond and spend quality time together. Amongst the resort’s plethora of family activities are paddle boarding, tennis tournaments, a stroll through the nearby Pueblos Blancos, an Andalusian garden party with unlimited sangria, tapas, and wine. Families can als stop by the Family Fun Zone featuring thrilling water slides, a variety of water games, a mini golf course, and a zip-line.
What do around Andalusia
Andalusia, often referred to as “the garden of Europe” known for its manicured landscapes and rich Arab-influenced history. Club Med’s location in Marbella, the swankiest of the Costa del Sol beach towns, is ideal for exploring. Marbella’ charming Old Town has a central plaza filled with cafes serving tapas and cocktails under the shade of palms and colorful pastel buildings on windy bougainvillea draped lanes.
Marbella’s most storied neighborhood is The Golden Mile, and lucky for you, it’s within easy reach of Club Med. Known for posh beach clubs, posh resorts and Michelin-starred restaurants, you can pay to book chairs at the clubs and feel part of the scene without spending a fortune on lodging.
The resort is also just an hour drive from destinations like Ronda, Gibraltar, and Málaga. Even Morocco is accessible on a long day trip. Club Med can also set up excursions to the Doäana Natural Park and Caminito del Rey and four-wheel drive tours through Sierra de la Nieves. Any of these day trip excursions are a great way to experience the natural beauty and rich heritage of this part of southern Spain.