What makes a development the best in the world?


Vista Lago Residences has become the most talked about new development in Marbella. At this year’s International Property Awards it was awarded World’s Best Residential Development and also Best Architecture in Europe. In this feature we look at what makes Vista Lago different from other developments and ask why, out of 550 other developments, it was awarded the top prize?

Vista Lago Residences

Article by Vivion O’Kelly. Images courtesy of BRIGHT.

What makes Vista Lago different?

We asked this question to Jason Harris, CEO of UDesign, who together with Gonzalez & Jacobsen, are the architects responsible for Vista Lago, he said: “There is no one main difference, because architectural creativity and innovation in all directions have been the driving forces in our approach from the very start. We designed each Vista Lago villa as a rich tableau of form and texture that sits perfectly on its own plot, integrated into the landscape, making it look as if it has always been there.”

Vista Lago Residences
Vista Lago villas nestle into the mountain, rather than sitting on top of it

Locations and amenities

Vista Lago is a gated community within a gated community, located in the country club estate of Real de La Quinta. It overlooks Marbella and the Mediterranean Sea, with views of the Rock of Gibraltar and Africa beyond. At no more than 15 minutes’ drive from the famous Golden Mile, this makes it an exceptional location in an exceptional part of Spain. The unique setting boasts one of the largest man-made lakes on the Costa del Sol, with a full range of water sports available, also featuring an exclusive golf course with wellness centre and spa, tennis and paddle tennis, a boutique hotel, equestrian centre, shops and top-end restaurant.

Real de la Quinta
Facilities at Real de la Quinta are walking distance from Vista Lago Residences

Design comes first

Design is the key word in Vista Lago, and it goes well beyond the design of each actual home. All are designed differently, which is quite unique in even the most luxurious of developments, and built to the highest standards possible. Each villa has a generous plot, and having been built on the highest plot in Real de La Quinta, none is overlooked by any other. Building density was sacrificed for the benefit of space, exceptional views and total privacy, but this does not translate to a lack of space. No wasted space in hallways and corridors, an absence of walls where one would normally expect to find them, a house that works just as well outside as in.

Vista Lago Residences
At Vista Lago there is a style to suit all tastes from bold and colourful to minimalist and classical

Design formula to maximise the views

A layout was created for the living area that would maximise the views –  so whether standing in the kitchen, sitting at the dining table, relaxing on the sofa or sunbathing on the terrace, the view is ever-present. Every area of the lounge and terrace looks straight out to the sea.

Vista Lago Residences
Even from the back of the lounge you can still enjoy the amazing views

Complete privacy for each villa

Each villa has not only visual privacy but also audio privacy. A future owner, relaxing in their living room or on their terrace, will have a clear sea view without seeing any of the other villas. When talking on their own terrace, they won’t be able to hear other owners chatting on their terraces. Essentially, the villas are designed in such a way that owners will be completely oblivious to their neighbours.

Vista Lago Residences
Dining with a view at Vista Lago Residences

Bespoke homes

Each villa will be built to each client’s preference, reflecting their way of life, personal taste and family circumstances. Residents will be able to pick and choose individually tailored designs as they wish in a wide variety of ways, from saunas to fully-equipped spas, home offices, gymnasiums and multi-use basements being just some of the options available.

Vista Lago Residences
With floor-to-ceiling windows the terrace and lounge space merge seamlessly

Architectural innovations

The design of Vista Lago incorporates a plethora of architectural innovations. One of these innovations are the distinctive beams that wrap around the hallway of each villa – they are not just a beautiful design feature. Once the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area are fully opened, they slide into special glass walls in the hallway, giving unrestricted views in the lounge and creating a light-filled hallway that also has unrestricted views to the sea.

Little big details

Showers with built-in spaces for your bathroom goodies, kitchen surfaces that charge your iPhone, unnoticeable but ample storage spaces, glass walls that slide away at the touch of a button, and many other seemingly minor design elements that, in fact, change your life.

Vista Lago Residences
The materials used in Vista Lago are natural and from certified suppliers

Energy Conservation and sustainability

This is less evident on sight alone, but can, nevertheless, be clearly seen in the use of natural materials throughout each villa. All villas are in the process of being BREEAM certified, which guarantees a high level of environmental performance and reduction of the impact of each building both during the construction stage and throughout its life cycle.

Specifically, it means improved energy efficiency at all levels, including electricity saving through state-of-the-art heat recovery and intelligent control systems, a comprehensive photovoltaic installation, all LED lighting, increased thermal insulation thickness of the building envelope and an indoor ventilation system with both exhaust and intake heat recovery.   

Water will be saved by a variety of innovative measures. Treatment systems, including drip irrigation for grey water and rainwater, dual-flush toilets, pressurized tap systems, efficient water storage, soil moisture sensors to regulate irrigation cycles and many more measures are all part and parcel of each villa.

Vista Lago Residences
Along with solar lighting, the design of each home makes the maximum use of natural light

Light sensors are used in all outdoor lighting, and all indoor installations comply with the highest of official regulatory requirements. Of special visual interest is the solar lighting used in communal spaces throughout the development, illuminating the plants and stones on roundabouts and other areas to create a soft and intimate ambience, lowering its impact on the natural environment.

Vista Lago Residences
Large master suites designed along the lines of luxury hotel suites

Every home in Vista Lago, inside and out, is designed in such a way to maximise the health and wellbeing of its occupants. Owners can choose to have organic vegetable plots in their gardens, mini orchards and kitchen herb gardens. With charging points for electric cars, and pollution from light, noise and emissions dramatically reduced, a luxurious yet completely sustainable lifestyle can be fully realised.

Add to all this the innovations in sustainable materials used in all Vista Lago villas and in land use, protection and creation of natural habitat, strict pollution control with regard to waste and water run-off, and you have a subsequent increase in health and wellbeing in a safe and sustainable environment for now and for the foreseeable future.

If it’s difference we’re looking for, there you have it.

Vista Lago Residences view
Sunset view from Vista Lago looking across the Mediterranean towards Gibraltar and the African coastline

Vista Lago Residences
Developed by BRIGHT – Architecture by UDesign and González & Jacobsen – Interior Design by UDesign.

For more information on Vista Lago Residences visit or contact the Sales Team on (+34) 682 105 002 or email: