As a long-term visitor and occasional resident of Marbella, it´s been interesting to watch the vibe of the place change over the years. From what used to be thought of its hey-day at the peak of the 1980s “Costa Del Crime” boom, when gangsters from all over Europe flocked to Marbella with their followers to enjoy the difficult or non existent extradition laws, to today’s jet-set scene, Marbella has continued to change at a rate unmatched pretty much elsewhere.
Marbella today is an interesting mix of the seedy and the glamorous; though for many people the two seem to intersect in their perceptions. There is clearly a presence of international crime (both organised and amazingly un-organised!) which is highly visible despite increased international police cooperation. But there is also a burgeoning genuinely high-end sector to the area, which is becoming very significant.
Wherever you go in Marbella, the increasing number of visitors from North America and Asia is obvious. The investment and high-end development that was driven by Arabian and drug money in the 1980s is now being driven by these new visitors. And their presence is forcing the local business community to change to keep up with them.
Visitors from North America, as a simple example, will not be happy with the very dodgy “steak” that some restaurants have been offering. So the lower end restaurants are having to specialise or lift their standards to match those of places such as Tango in Puerto Banus.
In the same way, the old-fashioned Sleek nightclub has been replaced by the Cavalli Club. Though the Olivia Valere club still carries on as always!
In a very different example; escort agencies who work solely with bland young girls who have no English and do not accept dollars or credit cards are going to have a very hard time competing with the likes of 2nd Circle Escort Marbella or Marbella Beauties. Those escort agencies offer stunning high-class escorts from a range of nationalities with varied language skills. And as professional businesses they can always work with many methods of payment.
The same is as true with car services, hotels, beach clubs and bars as it is with
So Marbella is changing again. Hopefully for the better, as it normally has been despite some major bumps along the way!