You don't have to be a Hollywood star to stay in one of Marbella's top class hotels - as long as you've got money to burn you'll still be treated like a movie idol! This is the setting for some of the most sumptuous hotels in the whole of the Mediterranean. Private beaches with their own watersports, tropical swimming pools with attentive poolside service, haute cuisine under the stars and luxury suites to die for. You'll find all this and much more if you can afford to cross the threshold.
Marbella may have more than its fair share of five-star hotels but you can still find places to stay without having to blow the average man's annual wages in one fell swoop. There's a full range of hotel accommodation from five-star through to one-star and plenty of cheaper "hostals" which may not have a star rating but which are still clean and comfortable.
There are a number of "aparthotels" which combine the freedom of a self-catering apartment with the services of a big hotel; you'll also find youth hostels and campsites for a more affordable stay in this glittering playground of the mega-rich.
Starting with one of the most famous and luxurious of all the Marbella hotels, there's the Puente Romano where the past guest list includes names such as Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Streisand, Julio Iglesias, Gina Lollabrigida, Sean Connery and members of various European royal families.
You can see why they come here for some serious pampering. This magnificent hotel has been built in the traditional Andalusian style with low whitewashed buildings set in 40,000 square metres of award-winning sub-tropical gardens. It's a haven of lush sub-tropical plants, fountains, streams, ponds, waterfalls and majestic palms all set alongside the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean. With this setting and the hotel's top class facilities you'll think you've died and gone to heaven!
The hotel takes its name from the nearby old Roman bridge (Puente Romano) which formed part of the Via Augusta - the major Roman Way between Cadiz and Rome. The Romans would gasp at what's on offer here in the 21st century - a private beach club with its own range of watersports and waiter service at your sun lounger, a health and fitness centre with sauna, steam bath and professional massages, 10 tennis courts (which have hosted David Cup and ATP matches in the past), an entire golf department pandering to the sporting requirements of guests, a children's club providing non-stop activities for younger visitors.
The five-star Gran Melia Don Pepe is a more modern hotel but one which boasts world-class services and facilities. It's right on the beach and just 600 metres from the town centre of Marbella. The views are fantastic and the facilities second to none - two outdoor pools and an indoor heated pool, a sports club with sauna, gym and Turkish baths, a piano bar, shopping centre and excellent restaurants.
The Meridien los Monteros is another favoured haunt of the rich, royal and famous. The award-winning haute cuisine of its famous El Corzo restaurant is one of the biggest attractions of this hotel which is situated in beautiful subtropical gardens just five kilometres from the centre of Marbella. Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith are among stars who regard Los Monteros as their second home.
A golfer's paradise is the five-star Westin la Quinta Golf and Country Club where every hotel room overlooks the fairway. Here you'll have access to 27 championship holes, three putting greens, a driving range and pro shop. That's besides all the other top class facilities which include a private beach club, oriental massage centre, Japanese restaurant and tapas bar.
Or there's the Don Carlos Golf and Beach Resort with its private beach club, heated pool and beachside pool. There's preferential treatment for guests at local golf courses and the hotel's exquisite gourmet dishes are served under the stars at the famous grill restaurant.
But if you don't have a Banderas-style bank balance worry not. There are plenty of good quality hotels in and around Marbella which won't cost you the earth. Look out for "hostals" and "pensiones" where you normally get basic but comfortable accommodation, usually with en-suite facilities, home-cooked food and all at a very reasonable price.
There are two youth hostels - one in Fuerte de Nagules and the other in the town's Calle Trapiche. You'll also find official, well serviced campsites along the coastal CN 340 national road - the Marbella Playa site, La Bougainvillea and Marbella Camping Cabopino. You may not bump into Elizabeth Taylor in the showers but you can still have a great holiday within a stone's throw of millionaire's row!