The smart ski set used to look down its collective Prada sun visors at the unfashionable Sierra Nevada, famous for its lack of cuckoo clock charm. But this year a lush new designer hotel has put the maligned Spanish ski resort back in the winter sports race.
Opened in December 2012 by the Marbella Club Group, El Lodge delivers off-piste panache with a five-star flourish, to the same impeccable standards as its famous sister establishments on Marbella’s Golden Mile.
Capitalising on the sunshine record of Europe’s most southerly ski resort, El Lodge boasts the resort’s only open-air heated swimming pool, complete with sun loungers and an al fresco Finnish hot tub.
But the undoubted star of this high-altitude show is Suite Nevada Terrace – a genuine ‘chill-out’ bar/restaurant with a Marbella beach club vibe, encircled by snow-capped peaks! Snow bunnies can hop directly onto the Maribel and Águila ski runs from the sun deck or stay put to watch the action, cocooned in a soft blanket.
Don’t be surprised to find Madonna, the Beckhams or the Blairs topping up their tans here, or cozying up around the crackling log fires. They’re all clients of British designer Andrew Martin, who created the sumptuous interiors (think warm Finnish wood and cool Nordic style). Famous guests can be as incognito as they choose because the pinnacle of privacy here goes beyond the Penthouse Suite – you can reserve an entire floor! A health spa and a gourmet restaurant are other wow factors.
You could almost be in Marbella – and you can be. El Lodge Sierra Nevada is also offered as a two-centre break combined with the Marbella Club or Puente Romano hotels.
El Lodge gets the vote of well-known Marbella realtor, Christopher Clover. The MD of Panorama Properties who stayed there in December and was the first guest to post about it on Trip Advisor, writes: ‘A world class hotel, finally, in the Sierra Nevada … For someone looking for the best, this is where to stay.’