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Showpiece Homes and Luxury Living… Sotogrande

It’s not that any confirmation was really required but we now have it on particularly impressive authority: Sotogrande is one of Europe’s most coveted residential addresses. After much press speculation in the preceding months, it was finally confirmed towards the end of last year that a 97 per cent stake in the Sotogrande macro-estate had been sold by NH Hotels to two private equity funds for a reported €225 million. It is not entirely clear what ultimate intentions the two funds, Cerberus and Orion, have for their new project – one of Spain’s largest privately owned residential and leisure developments – but the purchase demonstrated a significant show of faith in the area. The deal included land zoned for further development, two hotels (Sotogrande and Almenara), two golf courses (La Reserva de Sotogrande and Almenara) and sports services (including the Trocadero Sotogrande beach club) – but excluded NH Hotels’ projects in Italy, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The whole Sotogrande area (located in San Roque municipality at the western end of the Costa del Sol and eastern end of Cádiz province) has over 5,000 homes and an official resident population of 3,000, which increases nine-fold in summer when the crème de la crème of Spanish society (aristocracy, and celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, business and politics) make it their temporary holiday home. Many are attracted by a lack of the ostentatious luxury and frenetic social life that prevails in other parts of the Coast during the festive season, although Sotogrande does have its own sophisticated air of glamour and a nevertheless hearty summer party life. In an article last year in the Spanish daily newspaper El País, Victoria Melián (daughter of Alfredo “Freddy” Melián, who discovered the original plot for North American financier and Sotogrande founder Joseph McMicking 50 years ago) observed, “We are not a city, nor a town; we are an American-style urbanisation, in which the most important thing is tranquillity. Here people are looking for a family life, to play sports and to walk around unnoticed… Life tends to be enjoyed in the social clubs and in private homes.” Victoria Melián did add, however, that in spite of its exclusivity, Sotogrande is by no means a “golden oasis”. There are apartments for €300,000, she said, and the villas range from one to 15 million euros. Apart from first-class property, Sotogrande is renowned for its sport and leisure attractions, including several golf courses (highlighted by the 1997 Ryder Cup venue, Valderrama), World Cup polo facilities and an equestrian school; and natural surroundings, with an extensive protected nature reserve on one of the major bird migration routes from northern Europe to Africa, and the largest oak forest in Spain. Sotogrande comprises three distinctive residential areas – Puerto (port), Costa (coastal) and Alto (heights) – and the villa featured here is at the high-end in the two key aspects of location and quality. Available for a highly attractive reduced price, it was built in 2006 in a Kenyan style, and is situated on the border of Sotogrande and San Roque Golf Resort (in the 24-hour security-guarded Almenara Golf estate), with boundaries into the woods and stream that passes between the two developments – very much like a lodge in the forest. Special Selections We appreciate your taking the time to read about this one-of-a-kind property, but perhaps it’s not exactly right for you? If not, we invite you to have a look at our other special selections for: La Zagaleta, Luxury Villas, Golf Properties, Seafront Properties, Apartments and Special Offers. Click on the category of your choice and follow the link. Also please feel free to roam around our website: www.villamarbellanow.com. Of course, wherever you decide to settle on the Costa del Sol, the Mediterranean lifestyle will be further enhanced by a new luxury vehicle in the garage. At the Geneva International Motor Show (which continues until 15 March), Bugatti lifted the curtain on the Veyron, “the fastest production supercar in the world”. It was actually the final curtain call for the model (in this case, the 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse “La Finale”), as Bugatti have sold all 450 limited edition units. But we can always dream (unless we already managed to be one of the fortunate 450 owners)… or look forward to the next creation from Bugatti’s engineering workshop.