Just west of Marbella is Puerto Banus, and this is the place to be if you’re an heir or heiress to a large fortune, or just wish that you were. Yachts line the harbor, and you can watch them as you have a drink at an alfresca restaurant or bar in the area. They’re beautiful when viewed against the ocean and the mountains that form the backdrop of this town.
Only forty years old, the port has a casino, shopping centers, upscale department stores, marine observatory, and an excellent cinemaplex. Nightlife here is lively with alfresco bars and piano clubs, discos and upscale clubs. If you want to get an overview, take a spot on one of the regular boat trips out of here, available at the central promenade. If you want to do a little shopping (with a little less money), try the Saturday morning street market near the bullring for some excellent antiques.
Since its inception, Puerto Banus has been a favorite with international celebrities and the wealthy jet-set group. And when you look at the shops and restaurants, it shows. You will pay celebrity prices at many of the designer shops and tapa bars, but you’ll also have a chance of just running into some of the most famous and most wealthy people in the world. Along the waterfront is your best celebrity bet — and also the place you’re most likely to spend a lot of money. Every imaginable designer shop can be found here, and fashionistas by the dozens.
The marina itself is an excellent place to imagine what it must be like to be so wealthy. The most unique and expensive ships from everywhere in the world come here, with royalty from all nations and of all types, from blueblooded aristocrats to film stars and sports heroes. Just sitting at a bar and watching the beautiful world stroll past can be a pleasant afternoon in itself. (hint — the larger boats are at the south end of the port.)
Playa Levante, the town beach, is to the north. It’s beautiful and clean, with excellent amenities of the sort most have come to expect on the Costa del Sol. Nightlife at Puerto Banus is famed for its celebrity flavor, with clubs and pubs everywhere open til daybreak, but if you want to dance with the rich and famous, you’ll pay for it. Hotels are everywhere, but it may be more cost-effective, and cheaper, to stay at a resort town nearby and drive in. Parking is simplest in the multilevel garage near El Corte Ingles. Forget about parking along the port; you’ll need a special and expensive port access card for that.
In the center of the town is a large marble square, near El Corte Ingles. The outside bar here is an excellent place to have a drink and enjoy the sun for a while in a spot surrounded by fountains.