There’s Ibiza, Marbella and Mallorca. Places where holiday makers can party the night away. Then there’s Gran Canaria and its fellow canaries where northern Europeans go to sizzle in the sun. Then there’s Sotogrande. Never heard of it?
Don’t worry. That’s the way the creators intended it. A handful of golfers and polo enthusiasts have created an exclusive haven of high end living a stone’s throw away from Gibraltar. Sotogrande has existed for nearly fifty years now, and it looks more like a slice of Miami with skinny palm trees lining avenues of pastel colored mansions, than its neighboring white washed villages with a distinctive Moorish flavor.
If she was a woman, she would definitely not be a daring and baring Lady Gaga. Sotogrande is way too conservative. Neither would she be a loud Lily Allen or a cheeky reality starlet. She’s already been spoken for in glitzy Puerto Banus further up Marbella way. I guess Sotogrande would be something of a Kate Middleton. Great looks, a healthy glow and of course, with a soft spot for well groomed polo players!
Those who travel to Sotogrande do so to indulge in the area’s unspoilt qualities. The Guadiaro river runs through the urbanization, and the surrounding beaches have much more of a local character than the beaches further up the Costa del Sol.
Furthermore, although Sotogrande is lacking in a town center (the closest you would come is its marina), there are some very authentic Spanish villages dotted around the area. Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro is the most commercial one of the lot, hardly surprising as it was indeed constructed as a place where the people employed in Sotogrande could reside. Today Pueblo Nuevo is buzzing with expat energy, and there’s a shop handy for your every need, be it a freshly cut slice of sirloin from my fabulous butcher José at the Coviran Supermarket, or a lace trimming for your ‘sombrero’.
Then there is of course the sports… polo as mentioned, golf (there’s world famous Valderrama, brand new Alcaidesa links, the public gem La Cañada, the traditional San Roque and the lush Almenara.) If you prefer horse riding, the old Cortijo de Valderrama offers rides in the Andalucian country side for riders at any level. Give Soto Hipica a ring to organize your hack! Tel +34 956 794 474. This comes highly recommended as I go every week myself!
After all these activities, Sotogrande is not short of watering holes… The port is small and quaint, and has a wonderful atmosphere on a warm summer’s night. Cafeteria Ke is an institution, as popular with the locals as it is with the tourists. During the summer, it’s THE place for some celebrity spotting. Tony Blair, Shakira, Spanish athletes, Prince William, Sarah Ferguson… you name it!
The only thing is, don’t spill the beans. Sotogrande is getting on very well, quite happily indulging in her understated, yet sophisticated way of life. Like Kate Middleton, she deserves to maintain her privacy, in order to radiate the grace and integrity of a princess.
We can’t help ourselves sharing our favourite parts of Spain with our readers. Check out our hidden beach gem near Tarifa!