First off, let me say that my stay in Marbella didn’t kick off with this impression. I checked into a hostel / guesthouse that had paper thin walls (could hear people speaking in normal voices in other rooms), had communal bathrooms that were either clogged or had no toilet paper (and no sink!), and the sink in my room was completely broken. So while I could have roughed it and stuck it out at least for one night, I said f*** that and luckily found a room at the NH Marbella that my mom had stayed in a few months ago. Perfectly fine hotel, but in the middle of nowhere I later found out.
Before experiencing the fancy Marbella, I explored the old town, which was full of souvenir shops, tapas restaurants (TIP: have the tapa with baked eggplant with goat cheese, tomato and pesto – at Casa Lola). The long stretch of beach is public and you can make yourself comfy anywhere you’d like – but you are able to rent beach chairs for about 6 Euro if you’d like. You can also rent the coolest freakin’ boats I’ve ever seen that have slides attached for fun in the sea!
Puerto Banus is a port where the rich and famous show off their yachts, enjoy meals (with a ‘cover charge’ of being on the water) and shopping at the equivalent of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach or Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, only the best. In case the massive yachts aren’t enough, you will also see a parade of luxury vehicles driving down the streets (which are very walkable) from Ferrari to Bentley and everything in between.