Article by Vivion O’Kelly
Real de La Quinta is a 200-hectare residential country club estate, an area of outstanding natural beauty, located in the hills above Puerto Banús and the Golden Mile, six kilometres from Marbella’s coast and less than two kilometres east of the Ronda Road. Or to be less precise, for those who don’t know the area, it’s in the hills just west of Marbella. Vista Lago Residences is a luxury development of 18 individually designed villas occupying 6.5 hectares of this paradise on one of the highest plots in the estate.
Sometimes a swimming pool is not enough. Sometimes it’s better to think big, and the landscape architects in Real de La Quinta have done just that. They thought lake, not pool. The astonishing result is a 35,000 m2 400-meter-long lake, complete with promenade and beach, in the foothills of the Sierra de Las Nieves mountain range, right in the heart of the Real de La Quinta country club estate.
Such is the stuff that dreams are made of, if the old bard will forgive my plagiarism, and our life of luxury living is rounded with a place in the mountains where we can enjoy a wide range of water sports, tennis courts, golf course and paddle courts, all in beautiful natural surroundings. And the infrastructure one would expect of such a high-end location: bar and restaurant, lake club, wellness centre and kid’s club, with landscaped areas to relax in and enjoy.
There is, of course, a heated 25-metre pool as well, as part of the fully equipped gym, as well as a spa, massage areas, and a second pool for aqua gym exercises. The spa is located in an outdoor patio, separate from the club’s reception and social area, offering massage and treatment cabins, Jacuzzi, sauna and contrast pool. Wellness means wellness in this complex.
All par for the course in the wider development in which Vista Lago Residences is located, but the real surprise is the beach, complete with natural sand. One does not expect it high in the unspoilt mountain landscape overlooking the coast. In fact, one does not expect it anywhere above sea level, but there is nothing normal about this neighbourhood, as we have seen in the many articles written about it previously on this blog.
It’s all part of a carefully considered design philosophy, where one will immediately feel as if in a place that has always been there in this form, and where nothing has been done to the landscape that appears contrived in any way. That is because nothing much has, in fact, been done to this landscape. Granted, some earth has been moved, some trees have been felled and some aspects of the landscape have been changed to allow for human habitation, but all with the utmost respect for what was originally there. More trees will be planted than were felled, with a greater variety of native species, and earth moving has been kept to an absolute minimum, in the belief that respect for the creations of nature must always form an integral part of any architectural design philosophy.
The Lake Club
The Lake Club, like its chiringuito cousin on the coast, may sound like the kind of place that is ideally suited to those for whom action of the physical kind is a word best avoided in polite company. But it is most certainly not. This is the heart of Real de La Quinta where, if one wishes, one can simply sit and watch the world go by with G&T in hand and mental agitation on hold, or one can avail of the many activities on offer. There are numerous leisure activities on the banks of the lake, all in keeping with the core concept of the resort: as much integration into the natural surroundings as is possible, with a full range of amenities for both residents and guests to enjoy in all seasons of the year.
One enters the Lake Club building from the upper level, where a large parking area is located beside the golf course. Down at water level, there is a restaurant and bar area on one side, and the sports reception area, the gym and the wellness centre on the other side. High glass walls provide panoramic views of the lake below, where one can see a long, curved walkway separating different area on the lake. Beyond the swimming area, one can practise non-motorised water sports that include paddle boarding, kayaking, water biking and rowing.
Breakfast might be eaten by the early-morning golfer in the bar or snack bar, while lunch or a romantic late-night dinner might be enjoyed at the exclusive restaurant, all overlooking the floodlit lake below.
The Wellness Centre, as mentioned above, will feature all that would be expected in a high-end gym complex, including spa, sauna, massage areas, a 25m heated pool and a second pool for aqua gym exercises. The activities also include tennis and paddle tennis, whose courts are on the higher level beside the kiddies’ play park. Golfers can reserve buggies and other equipment as needed from the sports reception area before heading out on an executive course that encircles the lake, with views from every hole.
All this is just a few minutes’ walk from Vista Lago Residences, where each of the 18 luxury villas on offer have been built in splendid isolation from each other and from the relative hustle and bustle of the Lake Club, available to all residents and their guests as desired. There is, quite literally, nothing else like it in Europe.