El Nido – A new standard of home in Marbella

March 21st, 2016

El Nido Michel CruzIf you can choose between Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and the pick of the world’s architects your home is sure to be something truly special. El Nido is just that.

Amid the grand villas and mansions of the Golden Mile, La Zagaleta, Los Monteros and other prime Marbella addresses there is one property that takes residential architectural design to a new level. Set in the peaceful surroundings of La Cascada de Camoján, in the hills above Marbella, El Nido is unique in its aesthetic and practical appeal. It is a home of outstanding qualities that can be described as a masterpiece of modern Mediterranean architecture, and as such suits its Marbella setting so well.

“I wanted a villa that would make a true architectural statement as well as be a comfortable home,” says Lisa, who has played a leading role in the creation of her signature home. “A leading architect would naturally form an important part of this process, so I flirted with the idea of commissioning someone like Zaha Hadid or Norman Foster but in the end fell in love with the work of Joaquín Torres.” The Madrid-based architect is a leader in the field of villa design and has the main residences of many prominent Spanish and international clients to his name, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Penelope Cruz. Read the rest of this entry »

Marbella development in the 21st century

February 2nd, 2016

Words: Michel Cruz
Photography: Kevin Horn

Marbella development and project management

After a hiatus of several years, construction activity has recommenced in Marbella. We spoke to some of the leading developers in the area about a new era of development.

The construction sector was one of the biggest victims of the global financial crisis and Spanish property crash that hit Marbella at the end of 2008. In its wake, no new projects were launched and building gradually ground to a halt, while recently finished developments found it hard to find buyers. Many promoters had to abandon ship, leaving half completed construction sites behind as the banks inherited an unwanted portfolio of real estate.

By 2010 the once flourishing sector was in dire straits, its main activity now the construction of luxurious individual villas in spots such as La Zagaleta and the renovation of old properties by specialist small-scale developers. In the midst of this, however, a few companies had the foresight and confidence in the local market to approach the banks and begin to finish projects, upgrade and market them, and add post-sale management services not seen here before. Read the rest of this entry »

The state of the market

October 5th, 2015

Words: Michel Cruz

Images courtesy of Diana Morales Properties and Callum Swan

callum swan, marbella propertyExactly two years ago I wrote a report on the state of the property market with feedback from leading real estate agents. Here I analyse the prevailing market conditions and look to developments in the near future, drawing as always from the expertise of some of the most experienced agents in Marbella.

Two years is a relatively short period of time, but one in which a lot can change. In my June 2013 report we were still talking tentatively about early signs of recovery and hoping that this was a sustained movement out of the doldrums of the preceding years. We have since received confirmation that this is indeed a true recovery, and now the question we ask ourselves – amid a market that is visibly gaining in momentum and confidence – is whether we should already be speaking of growth instead of just ‘recovery’. Read the rest of this entry »

La Dolce Vita – Spirit of an Era

August 10th, 2015

La Dolce Vita – spirit of an eraLa Dolce Vita is a now iconic phrase that conjures images of the winding alleyways and Vespas of a vintage Italy. Imbued with a sense of glamorous freedom, the concept of young people living a hedonistic and self-indulgent life has long entered cross-cultural vernacular and leaves us lamenting our lack of Italian blood. Here, Michel Cruz traces the origins and inspirations for the phenomenon that has come to define an epoch.

While Britain and America were in the grip of the Swinging Sixties, Italy made its own unique contribution – La Dolce Vita. Literally translated as ‘the sweet life’, it embodies the sense of freedom, open possibilities and joie de vivre of the post war era.

We strive for permanence in everything we do, from installing new regimes to chasing the ultimate form of style, not realising that success, happiness and ideals are but fleeting moments. With the horrors of the Second World War and the sparseness of the immediate post war years behind it, Europe awoke like a flower in spring to a whole new world of possibilities. With Marshall Aid, the continent was rebuilding itself upon the pillars of prosperity and democracy as a tide of youthful liberalism and creativity swept through the once dusty streets. Read the rest of this entry »

The tones of taste

March 27th, 2015

Tones of Taste- Michel CruzThough they relate to different senses and experiences, colour and taste are so entwined as to overlap in meaning – making yellow synonymous with lemons, brown with chocolate and orange with, well oranges. The strength of the relationship is revealed when you imagine a topsy-turvy world in which beer is green, tomatoes brown and rice blue…

We associate colours and tastes to such an extent that we mix them, speaking of lemon yellow, lime green, tangerine, plum red, chocolate brown and so on. In fact, many of the characteristics we ascribe to a certain tone, such as fresh green or deep burgundy, are at least in part drawn from the foodstuff they remind us of. Naturally there are also variants, such as white chocolate, green tomatoes and brown rice, but while we have grown used to these it feels odd to stray too far from the combination of tones and flavours that have become engrained in our brains, as well as our eyes and taste buds. Read the rest of this entry »