There is so much choice when it comes to villa holidays, and we’re not just talking size. Location, and budget are, of course, first and foremost, closely followed by the need (or not) for a pool, the size of the rooms, the styling (contemporary or traditional), and sometimes ignored but essential on a group holiday – a potential escape route, be it for teens to have their own space or adults to get some time out of their own.
Finding the perfect villa can be time consuming but once you’ve narrowed down your location, getting expert local advice is probably the next step to take. We were heading to Marbella so turned to The Luxury Villa Collection for help. They have specially curated collections; Retreat, Petit, Designer and Celebration amongst them, across various destinations in Spain, to cut through the guess-work which is helpful if you don’t know the area well.
We were due to meet with friends near Estepona, making Malaga the most convenient airport – handily it’s exceptionally well served from Yorkshire. The advice had been to hire a car – not rocket science, but useful, and we were soon speeding along the motorway. Part of the ethos of The Luxury Villa Collection is to assist their clients every step of the way – luckily that included step by step directions on finding our villa which, it turned out, was up a steep hill on a dead end road (and one which would have taken a while to find if we hadn’t had their help). They were waiting for us at Villa Picasso with a welcome hamper and lots of good advice.
On our quick guided tour of the property it soon became apparent that the website, while showing the style of the place, had not (to my eye at least) quite indicated the scale. Or perhaps we just hadn’t anticipated it. It was an absolute corker of a place. Contemporary in design, the rooms flowed from one to another on the ground floor with a huge sitting room, dining room and the kind of kitchen you wish you had at home – all had floor to ceiling glass doors opening on to the outside space which was merely an extension of the villa’s living space. The outside covered seating area had a huge bar and barbecue, an infinity pool and ample seating space (loads of squidgy white sofas) which made the most of the spectacular views across the steep-sided valley and the golf course which ran along the valley bottom below, and in the distance, the Med sparkled in the sunshine.
There are five ensuite bedrooms all with their own private space, and the basement is home to a massive TV, huge sofa and pool table and doors onto its own terrace – a great overspill space.
Villa Picasso is in the exclusive Los Flamingos resort, minutes from the beach and surrounded
by great golf courses. Puerto Banus is just a 10 minute drive, as is the stunning hilltop enclave of Benahavis, renowned for its restaurants. Marabella is also nearby and the Old Town is well worth a visit, although it gets very busy in high season. In the other direction lies Estepona, and Gibraltar is an hour away to the west. We did a bit, but not a lot, of looking around. We just loved the villa, its expansive views, and the peace our own (large) space afforded. We shopped at the local store and made the most of our sun deck and sofas.
When you book through The Luxury Villa Collection they provide a full Concierge Service and are happy to give you help with everything from restaurant recommendations to booking boat trips. Basically just ask and if it’s doable they’ll do it. They do suggest if there is a particular restaurant you want to go to that you give them plenty of advance warning in order to get the reservation you want.
Staying anywhere is often about the smaller touches. It’s also about having time and on this level Villa Picasso, and The Luxury Villa Collection, excel. Spain got a bloody nose in the last financial crash but the economy is lifting again. Hopefully the planners and builders will not repeat the mistakes of the past and add sensitively to what is after all one of the showcase pieces of European real estate. Yes it differs from the more established South of France and indeed neighbouring, quieter Portugal, but it offers a rich choice for all the generations. Perhaps the key for us though was we were able to catch up with friends, and in reality we could have spent the entire time at the villa, escaping to some of the many restaurants in the nearby villages or on the coast for lunch or dinner. For a place to stay with space and with style, as well as a homely charm, Villa Picasso ticks all the boxes.
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