METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella Near+Far rating: 8/10
Why book METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella
Spain’s gloriously sun-drenched Costa Del Sol has long been a haven for summer escapism. A heady melange of cultures and creeds, it has an intriguing Islamic history – ruled by the Moors for centuries – and closer to North Africa than its capital, Madrid. On a stretch between Malaga and Cadiz is where Sunset Hospitality Group‘s cool lifestyle hotel brand, METT Social Living, has opened its second outpost following the launch of METT Hotel & Beach Resort Bodrum in 2021. The concept? Laid-back, design-led social hubs in the world’s trendiest destinations centred around carefree living and open, convivial spaces. METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella does what few hotels on this coast do – offering a fresh, contemporary, youthful, yet super premium escape, somewhere between the mid-range resorts and ultra-luxury types like Marbella Club Hotel. That, alongside stellar foodie concepts and close proximity to the glitzy yachting hub of Puerto Banus – and an easy drive to Marbella itself – makes METT Marbella an excellent option for an impromptu October or early November escape (the season stretches from April into November, closing on the 8th November this year).
The vibe: 8/10
A huge draw is the hotel’s design – typically Andalucian with whitewashed walls, greenery and decorative pops of blue. Guests are welcomed into the doorless atrium – sun-filled and centred around an olive tree – and greeted with a choice of arrival cocktail (METT’s signature arrival experience). Mett Marbella sits on the former Iberostar Costa del Sol hotel site – but has been given a serious makeover while maintaining charming details like the original checkerboard tiled floors and vintage glass elevators.
In typical METT style, METT Marbella is relaxed, elevated and a breath of fresh air, giving people exactly what they want from a beach resort – a good, chilled out, non-pretentious time with personable staff – many of which over for the season from Dubai. The property suits those looking for a relaxing beach or active escape, with its own iteration of Dubai’s Azure Beach, close proximity to the famous Guadalmina and Gary Player-designed El Paraíso Golf clubs and a local tennis and padel club just a stroll across the road. Approachable nightly rates, a sleek modern design, great restaurants (including a laid-back tapas bar), a killer breakfast (one of the best hotel offerings we’ve ever tried) and the odd flurry of Dubai-standard service make this a top option on the Costa del Sol.
Holidaymakers have long flocked to the Spanish region of Andalusia for almost guaranteed sunshine, cool sea breezes and laid-back resort towns. METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella is an excellent base for exploration in this region: day trips to Seville, Cadiz and Malaga, and the thriving foodie and cultural scenes they all offer are all possible. Despite the name, METT Marbella isn’t actually in the centre of Marbella – but around a 30-minute away and 15 minutes from the luxury yachting and shopping marina or Puerto Banus. The resort sits between Marbella and the smaller town of Estepona, so it’s easy to pop in either direction to explore cobbled old towns, harbours and buzzing local shops, restaurants and tapas bars.
The area itself is vibrant and packed with residential developments, resorts, and restaurants, and it’s easy to just potter around and never really head into either town. While it’s worth renting a car (the hotel is an hour’s drive from Malaga Airpot) – taxis are readily available and affordable, and METT offers guests access to its fleet of electric bicycles (for a small fee). Cycling along the coastal cycle path between the two towns is a lovely morning pastime – past a kaleidoscope of colourful developments, including buildings by architect Melvin Villarroel.
Rooms and suites: 7/10
METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella’s standard rooms (there are 249 in total) frame the swimming pool and central courtyard area, either looking onto the pool itself or the surrounding side roads. Hints of the former hotel remain, adding a certain charm, and METT has kept many of the features the same – including the blue-tiled showers – but added in plush beds and decorative ceramics and wall art. The first four categories, Deluxe, Sunset Deluxe, Pool and Sea Deluxe and Lifestyle rooms are largely the same (bar the changing view and terrace size), complete with a king-sized bed, mini bar and private balcony. Lifestyle rooms are located on the ground floor and, instead of a private terrace, have a cornered-off outdoor space near the pool with dedicated sun loungers – so while not private, they will suit those who make a beeline for the pool. Suites look directly onto the ocean and beach, and with access to a semi-private pool, and have separate living spaces. Mezzanine and Seascape suites are great for families, with multiple areas to bed down.
In-room minibars are a treat – stocked with Spanish products like Torres crisps and traditional Malaga sweet treats – and bathrooms come stocked with delightful Botanyc amenities – a UAE-based brand using products from the French Riviera. METT Social Living’s custom, and now signature, scent Bal Tropical is a fragrant blend of bergamot, lychee and jasmine and smells like vacation. Rest assured, rooms have all the desired amenities, along with a handy steamer, iron and Nespresso machine.
Food and drink: 9/10
As expected from a Sunset Hospitality hotel, the property shines through its food and beverage. There are three dining outlets – with a fourth set to open next year – and each offers something distinctly different, so there’s no chance of food boredom for long-stay guests. Breakfast sets the tone for the day, an incredible spread served in Isola in the elegant dining room or on the greenery-covered terrace. The endless buffet includes fresh fruits, cereals, freshly baked bread and pastries, meats, smoked fish, vegetables and salads, mountains or cakes (don’t miss the matcha muffins), waffles and much more. The array of Spanish dishes like local cold cuts, cheeses, pan con tomate (bread with fresh tomato and garlic) and local sweet treats is a particularly fantastic addition. A vast menu also allows you to order anything from Spanish tortillas to French toast – plus, there are freshly squeezed juices and non-dairy milk.
Elsewhere, Azure serves perfect poolside classics – think burgers, tacos, club sandwiches and salads – with a great wine and cocktail menu to match – and Isola Ristorante delivers sultry Italian vibes. The latter is one of Sunset’s star concepts with outposts in Dubai, Bodrum and too-to-be Milan, and served quintessential Italian classics done right. Our favourite concept, however, is El Bar De Lola – an elevated twist on Dubai’s Lola Taberna Española with a small, yet super premium tapas menu. Under the branches of a historic olive tree (here long before the resort was), guests can grab a casual, convivial table and order bites like mussels, pan con tomate, anchovies, cold cuts and cheese, best washed down with a local Malaga rosé or crisp Albarino. Next year, the hotel is adding a beachfront Greek restaurant named Ammos – bringing chic Aegean coastal vibes.
Spa and facilities: 7/10 now (9/10 when completed)
The focal point of the hotel is the gloriously outstretching 52-metre swimming pool, a hub for sunbathing and socialising, with a DJ creating a more high-octane vibe in the evening. Regardless of occupancy, there’s always a great vibe, as the main pool is also a hub for non-hotel day guests. The beach, with its pale grey sands, offers a more laidback sunbathing spot. The spa and indoor pool won’t be ready until next season, but guests can use the fitness suite with Technogym equipment in the meantime. Taking a sneak peek of the indoor pool is impossibly chic, cocooning guests with slate grey walls and an arched design.
The Costa del Sol is a popular golf destination, and METT Marbella is an unlikely golfing hub. The property is minutes way from Guadalmina course, known to offer one of the best social scenes on the coast, and has two 18-hole courses, a par three, a nine-hole course, a driving range and a putting green. Making life simple, METT’s golf package includes transfers to and from the course, breakfast, one free round per stay and a picnic for two people. The property also has agreements with more than 15 other courses in the area. Tennis lovers will appreciate the tennis and padel club across the road, and there’s also a small fleet of electric bikes – available for a small fee. Be aware the spa and indoor pool will open for the 2024 season.
Estepona, Málaga, Spain; doubles from €225 a night (about AED875); mettsocialliving.com
How to get there
Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Saudia, fly directly to Madrid from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Jeddah, respectively. One-hour domestic connecting flight to Malaga International Airport, followed by a one-hour drive to the resort.