It is sometimes hard to believe when you’re sunbathing on a Marbella beach that if you hopped in a car, you could be on a ski slope in around two hours. If you took a helicopter, it would be even quicker.
There are few other places in the world where the opposites of beach resort and ski resort exist in such close proximity and it is undoubtedly one of the most unique aspects of southern Spain, and something that enhances life in Marbella.
The view from Granada
The Sierra Nevada range lies just beyond the city of Granada. When you reach the city, and even before that, you’ll spot some snow-capped mountains glistening in the winter sun. It is also home to Spain’s highest peaks, called Los Tresmiles: the highest is Mulhacén (3479m) followed by Veleta (3395m).
The Ski Season
The Sierra Nevada ski resort was founded in 1964 and the resort base has an altitude of 2100 metres. The top station altitude is 3300metres and it has a total of 124 pistes. It is one of Europe’s highest ski resorts and is therefore what experts call ‘snowsure’. Traditionally, the season starts in November and ends the first week in May. It has also gained a reputation for the provision of off-piste skiing and its open expanses lend themselves to finding easily accessible areas all over the terrain with very little avalanche risk when compared with other ski resorts in Europe.
Although the majority of visitors come to ski or snowboard, the resort also offers a wide and ever expanding range of facilities, and is very family friendly.
A wonderland for young ones
Children will find Sierra Nevada offers them a winter wonderland. Dreamland and Snow Garden in Borreguiles are at the top of a “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt. Dreamland is an alternative to the crèche and offers trained carers for children aged three to six years of age. The Dreamland play area is outside the Snow Garden chalet and when the conditions are right, the professional staff teach children how to make gentle descents within the enclosed space.
El Lodge – A luxury mountain retreat
When you are considering where to stay and prefer a hotel to a private chalet, there really is only one place to choose and that is El Lodge Ski & Spa. Perched 2,300 metres above sea level, El Lodge features ski-in/ski-out privileges as well as interiors by renowned British interior designer, Andrew Martin. He has decorated the rooms with cosy but luxurious furnishings: faux-fur throws, cowhide rugs, vintage posters and antler chandeliers give the rooms a distinctly alpine feel. His lighting design is considered so extraordinary that inside the hotel it feels like summer in Marbella.
The après-ski facilities here are second to none and the service is five star throughout the hotel. Guests who book El Lodge can be assured that it really does offer a service of the highest standard. Furthermore, the gastronomic offering is excellent as well. El Lodge offers two restaurants, a bar and a lounge. Guests can unwind at the Bar with a classic cocktail before dining at The Grill, its rustic fine dining restaurant. The menu features game and fondue, as well as Caviar de Riofrio, the only organic caviar in the world, which is produced not far from Sierra Nevada. Plus, guests can ski-in to The Sun Deck, Sierra Nevada’s only ski-in/ski-out restaurant, for hot chocolate and a gourmet lunch.
The hotel also has a well-equipped games room with a roaring fire. Guests can play pool or try the ‘old school’ arcade games table. A selection of board games and books is also available and the comfy, Chesterfield sofas offer a relaxing vantage point from which to watch others out in the snow. Youngsters also have their own games room designed by Minimec with everything from Lego for the younger ones to Playstation and X-Box for the teens.
On the way home share the same view as the last Moorish ruler
On the way home from the ski resort, You may want to visit Puerto del Suspiro del Moro, (The Moor’s Last Sigh) a viewing point outside Granada, which is named after the last Moorish ruler of Granada, Boabdil, or Abu `Abdallah Muhammad XII (c.1460-1533) who reputedly sighed when he reached this point and turned round to see what he’d lost on 2nd January 1492 when he handed over the keys to the city to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Then, before you can blink, you are back in Marbella and its beaches.
To enjoy a bespoke itinerary for your visit to Sierra Nevada and/or Granada, as well as luxury accommodation, contact My Local Concierge Marbella where a dedicated Lifestyle Manager will organise everything for you.