To be found on the western edge of the Costa del Sol, half hour from Marbella, Sotogrande is a luxury resort area with a distinctly leafy, residential feel. The favored gathering place and residence of many Spanish and international highfliers, this is a place where golf, polo and sailing come together. As such, Sotogrande has its very own stamp of sophistication and somehow standing apart from the often-frenetic madness of the coast, yet still play an integral part in its social scene.
Sotogrande is unique in this region not only for its scale but also for the fact that its development has been guided by a single master plan. This rather more American approach of developing one large resort and residential area under the guidance of one blueprint is not a coincidence; Sotogrande is the brainchild of Colonel J. McMicking, whose vision was to create an exclusive resort of international standing here. And exclusive it certainly is.
Sotogrande seems like it is on a higher plane, both socially and economically. Some of us may think it well looks like almost-clinical architecture in and around the resort, almost too pristine, too unlived-in (off-season). Whereas Banús and Marbella have an authenticity to them that is evident, Sotogrande can often come across as something of a prototype; a sort of model village torn straight from some property developer's boardroom, blown up and plunked into the real world; though Sotogrande isn't absolutely lacking in charm, in fact Sotogrande has an architectural and functional continuity that is not only pleasing to the eye but also entirely logical.
Sotogrande has become firmly established as the summer residence of choice for old money from both Spain and abroad. This is not only down to the quality of its properties and facilities. Just drive around and you will notice the benefits of proper planning on a big scale: the roads are wide and well up kept, there is plenty of parking, the entire resort is well-maintained and nicely landscaped.
Indeed, for lovers of refined sports, Sotogrande is quite simply heaven. At one of the finest marinas around, visited by sumptuous yachts and scores of sporting craft of all sizes and descriptions, it is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts and you can choose your water sport, be it windsurfing, water-skiing, scuba diving, sailing, power boating or jet skiing. Yet the tennis, squash and, of course, polo and horse riding facilities are also top-notch, not to mention the fact that this is a golfer's paradise valley.
In Sotogrande, lovers of fine dining will be mightily impressed by the restaurants here; and shopaholics will find a great choice of chic boutiques to swan around in. To enjoy Sotogrande requires a fair amount of cash. This is a resort for the moneyed classes, as evidenced by the beautiful yachts in the harbor, the gorgeous villas, apartments and townhouses that ring the Marina, and the awesome executive and super cars that cruise the perfect streets lined up with tall palm trees...
To sum up, Sotogrande is marked out by its neatness, its space and sense of refinement in a setting where the emerald green woodlands blends with the bright blue Mediterranean vastness framed and dominated by the unmistakable shapes of Gibraltar and the North African coast – close enough to touch.
Add the beaches of Tarifa, the lights of Marbella and the little country villages dotted behind the curtain of mountains inland from here and the variety of options within an hour's drive is truly amazing.