It’s 10am and the dazzling warmth of another Mediterranean summer day stirs you from your slumber. The white cotton sheets loosely wrapped around you fall away, as you stretch, throw open the blinds and gaze down toward the glistening harbour of Puerto Banús.
Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys cruise along unhurriedly, turning the heads of café-goers enjoying their coffee in the relative cool of the morning. Mega-yachts bob gently in turquoise waters at their moorings. Expats saunter by, bedecked in designer nautical gear, a relaxed smile and deep tan illuminating their faces as they gaze though the boutique shop windows of Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Gucci and Jimmy Choo – and enjoy another fine morning in their adopted home.
This is life in Puerto Banús. A penthouse or apartment overlooking or near the harbour is highly sought-after, offering residents not just a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but also a chance to be part of this select club. Ostensibly modern yet with its roots placed firmly in classic Andalucian architectural style, Banús is a compact harbour town of pristine white-washed buildings, pleasant plazas, wide boulevards and sheltered beaches, accentuated by elegant apartment complexes, plenty of bars, beach clubs and nightclubs, and exquisite gourmet cuisine establishments.
When developer José Banús dreamed of creating a Spanish rival to St. Tropez and Monte Carlo in the 1960s, little could he have known that his young upstart would (at least temporarily) outstrip its French rivals. The overall sophistication of Banús might have waned just a little in recent years, but its enduring popularity resides in its location, its climate, its accessibility, its infrastructure and its trendy desirability – all of which are still solidly relevant today.
Even if you cannot afford a supercar or a mega-yacht, do not have the luxury of being able to dine out in the finest restaurants every evening, and are unable to lounge about at some of Europe’s most swanky beach clubs each weekend, Banús still has plenty to offer. And, for those looking for a more permanent attachment, it has some outstanding properties that are well-located and more affordable than they have been for years.
Day-Time Pursuits and Evening Pleasures
Between November and March, most of the daytime activity will take place in or around the harbour. The 900 or so moorings for yachts of various sizes are less heavily populated at this time of the year, while the harbourside walkway (or “first line”) is noticeably quieter, yet still dotted with holidaymakers and locals enjoying the views, the cafés, the bars, the boutiques and – much more often than not – the clement weather. Elsewhere, the beaches that envelop the port are essentially empty, save for dog-owners making the most of the space and a few hardy holidaymakers sprawled out on the sand.
Come April, however, and the first shoots of summer emerge, initially in the form of the thousands of madrileños who descend on the Costa del Sol for their Easter celebrations, soon followed by northern European holidaymakers enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
From this moment through to the end of September, Banús is awash with activity. The ethnic cafés, takeaways and restaurants at the far end of the resort, and the shopping centres in the heart of Puerto Banús, attract people from all over the world.
Along the first line of Puerto Banús, there are options for a relaxing coffee, glass of wine or spot of people-watching, select boutiques, and a diverse selection of eateries, from well-priced pizzas to sumptuous seafood platters.
Alongside Puerto Banús to the west are the beach clubs, where you have a stark choice: those aimed at holidaymakers and wealthier clients and known for their “champagne-spraying parties” and other extravagances, or the more traditionally Spanish chiringuitos (beach restaurants). To the east of the harbour, a more family-friendly beach ambience tends to prevail.