It always makes a good pub quiz question. What is the geographical centre of Andalucía? Historically, and semi-officially, Antequera (near the northern border of Málaga province) is considered to hold that honour – at least for tourist brochure purposes. However, earlier this year a report by the National Centre for Geographical Information argued that the exact centre is in the small Córdoba municipality of Monturque. Other key cities in the region have their own claims to fame: Sevilla, the official capital; Cádiz, the oldest city in the western world or Málaga, the Andalucian capital of international tourism. Now Marbella – already the Andalucian centrepiece of luxury and glamour – has adopted a new promotional moniker. First unveiled at this year’s World Travel Market in London, and to be consolidated at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid next month, Marbella is proclaiming itself to be the Gateway to Andalucia, a starting point for visitors keen to explore the region’s vast and diverse array of attractions.
All of which puts Río Real Golf Hotel in a prominent position as well – let’s say Andalucía’s Km.0+ – as the prestigious leisure complex is ultra-conveniently located on the immediate outskirts of Marbellatown centre. The idea, according to mayor José Bernal, is to highlight all the superb options that exist within a relatively short distance for holidaymakers staying in Marbella hotels such as Río Real, especially during the months when activities are not only focused on sun and beach, and even extend beyond sports and other leisure pursuits (including championship-level golf at the renowned Río Real course) and gastronomy.
And here again, in the latter case, the Río Real restaurant leads the way this Christmas with a series of special festive feasts. “We want visitors to realise,” says Bernal, “that they also have the possibility of skiing just two hours away (Sierra Nevada in Granada), that they can visit Sevilla, also only two hours by car, or Ronda, half an hour. That the Picasso Museum (Málaga) is 40 minutes away and Córdoba an hour and a half, and we are only 15 minutes from the Sierra de las Nieves mountain municipalities.”
The mayor points out, for example, that the distance between Marbella and Granada’s Alhambra, or the bodegas of Córdoba, is less than that between central London and some of its airports – making Marbella an ideal destination for British holidaymakers. “There are months”, concludes Bernal, “when you can enjoy Andalucía’s cultural, culinary and museum attractions as well as Marbella’s four and five-star hotel amenities.” And where better than in one of Río Real’s magical luxury suites!