Article by Giles Brown
I’m dreaming of a Bright Christmas.
In other words a Christmas which is effortlessly stylish and perfectly prepared. But as it’s 2020, we’ll have to do with a Corona Christmas instead.
The restrictions introduced by the Junta de Andalucia to contain the spread of COVID-19 means that, for most people, Christmas celebrations will be taking place during the day rather than into the wee small hours of the morning. Never underestimate the adaptability of the Marbella party professional, however. We are nothing if not adaptable, so if that means sculling that first glass of bubby at midday rather than 8pm, so be it!
Christmas is all about eating, drinking and making merry and, in a year that has seen the hospitality industry hit hard by the double whammy of lockdown and lack of tourism, the aforementioned eating, drinking and making merry is not only festive, but is also providing vital support to many struggling businesses. Which may prove something of a comforting thought as you reach for the Alka Seltzer the following morning. You weren’t overdoing it, you were helping stimulate the Marbella economy!
Half the fun of going to a restaurant during Christmas is to check out the decorations. Over at La Sala, at the entrance to Puerto Banus, they have managed to bring a little slice of the Sierra Nevada to Marbella with their now traditional ski lodge. Complete with a dusting of light snowfall, reindeer and even a cable car, La Sala has once again pulled out all the stops and will be offering a traditional Christmas lunch on December 25th. Santa and Snowflake the Elf will also be taking a break from their exhaustive work on the run up to Christmas – with many of us left to our own devises and too much time on our hands over lockdown, there were endless ways to end up on the naughty list. Checking who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, especially in 2020, works up an appetite, and so Santa will be having breakfast at La Sala on December 19.
If you are considering a guilt and gluten free Christmas, then Keto Royale Kafe, in Las Petunias near San Pedro, is well worth a visit. Opened by Sam Penfold and Adam Chasan earlier this year, this brilliant restaurant has proved the hit of the year and has become massively popular. If you don’t believe me on that one, simply key in @ketoroyalekafe and see the number of Instagram photos that are taken there! The sugar and gluten free menus are both healthy and delicious (I’ve had the pleasure of eating there several times and on each occasion the food has been outstanding). Getting into the Christmas spirit they are offering vegan, gluten and sugar free mince pies. I would say they are sinfully delicious, but there is no sin involved, so they are just delicious!
Of course, nobody does old school like the Marbella Club Hotel, and especially at Christmas time. If the stresses and strains, trials and tribulation of 2020 have left you with a need for some seriously luxurious celebrations, then this iconic hotel is the place to do it. Christmas Day lunch is already fully booked, but there are tables available for the Christmas Eve Gala Dinner, with live music and a special menu created by Executive Chef Sergio Arconada that includes King Crab Canneloni and Slow Roasted Lamb. A post dinner walk through the Marbella Club Hotel’s gardens, that have been the playground for royalty and the rich and famous for nearly 70 years, is also highly recommended to get you in the festive mood.
Due to Coronavirus most of the traditional concerts and events have been cancelled. There are, however, a few performances taking place. Puerto Banus stalwart Paul Maxwell – “The Piano Man” – will be at Bando restuarant (between San Pedro and Puerto Banus) on December 19 with his “Xmas Special”. Paul, who regularly plays at Joy’s and has also supported George Benson and Tony Hadley at recent concerts at the Puente Romano, will be joined by friends and special guests at this Christmas performance.
Fans of flamenco music will be able to catch Duquende at the XIV Festival Flamenco Sierra Blanca, held at midday on December 27 at the Teatro Cuidad de Marbella. The singer was a member of the Paco de Lucia Sextet and is considered the successor to the iconic Cameron de la Isla.
But the simplest of all pleasures this Christmas is a walk around Marbella. The Old Town is brilliantly atmospheric at the best of times, and at Christmas it really comes into its own. Check out the municipal nativity scene in the Alameda Park (and see if you can spot the caganer) and then take in the many shops and boutiques in the narrow streets. They too, have been hit hard this year and the Town Hall is awarding prizes for the best decorated of the festive season. If you want to spread some Christmas cheer, then purchasing a few presents would help them greatly.
Marbella’s Christmas 2020 is destined to be different, and sure to be memorable. Here’s wishing Peace and Goodwill to all men throughout 2020 and well into 2021! The future is BRIGHT!