You will need to pack more than a bathing suit and flip-flops if you want to join the nightlife scene. There’s more international wealth hanging out in the watering holes of Marbella, and a wider choice of glam (or pseudo-glam) discos than virtually anywhere else in Spain. Foremost among them is Discoteca Olivia Valere on Carretera Istan, N-340 Km 0.8 (tel. 95-288-88-61; www.oliviavalere.com), which can hold up to 1,000 people. It’s open every night from midnight to 7am and charges a cover of 30€. Fashionable club wear is essential.
If you are in the heart of historic Marbella, you can enjoy a more low-key night in the bodegas and taverns. La Venencia Los Olivos,Plaza de los Olivos, s/n (tel. 95-285-92-98), is conveniently located adjacent to one of the town’s widest thoroughfares. Its wide choice of sherries, wines, and tapas draws lots of chattering patrons. Vinacoteca La Cartuja, Plaza Joaquín Gómez Agüera, 2 (tel. 95-277-52-03; www.vinoslacartuja.com), is dedicated to carrying as many Spanish wines as possible.
Although hardly authentic, Marbella’s best flamenco is offered at Tablao Flamenco Ana María, Av. Severo Ochoa 24 (tel. 95-277-56-46). It’s a good start for foreign visitors who speak limited Spanish. The long, often-crowded bar area sells tapas, wine, sherry, and a selection of more international libations. This is late-night entertainment—the doors don’t open until 11:30pm, and the crowd really gets going between midnight and 3am. Cover (which includes one drink) is 25€.
Seven kilometers (4 1/3 miles) west of Marbella, near Puerto Banús, Casino Marbella, Hotel H10 Andalucía Plaza, Urbanización Nueva Andalucía (tel. 95-281-40-00; www.casinomarbella.com), is a favorite with visitors from northern Europe. Jackets are not required for men, but T-shirts are frowned upon. Casino hours are daily from noon to 4am for slot parlor, daily 8pm to 4am for the main floor. A passport is required for admission (5€). Shorts and athletic shoes are not allowed.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.