In the first of an occasional series of interviews with Marbella personalities, we chat to Jeno Pineda, freelance writer and Beauty and Fashion Editor for Hot Magazine.
Coffee addict and a permanent fixture in the Marbella social scene, Miss J has a penchant for all things bright and beautiful in Marbella, and has been living on the coast with his Lhasa Apso, Rexxi, for 11 years. Despite having a perfect skin that doesn’t reveal his real age (thanks to his Asian genes), he’s actually not just a pretty face.
10 things I love about Marbella
1. Life’s a party. Where on earth can you find a tiny place where there’s a party almost 365 days a year? From ferias to private gatherings, there’s always something fun happening in and around Marbella . Because it’s an intimate place where everybody knows everyone, you can just get up and join the madness. No need to RSVP, just don’t forget to bring your own bottle of wine.
2. Life’s a beach. I am not a beach person and I get bored to death lying on the sun knowing I could do other productive things. However, I love what’s happening on the beach—feasting on black paella or freidura Malagueña with friends or simply watching the world go by is a personal pastime during the summer. It’s like hitting two birds in one stone: You can get a tan (without the sand and the stickiness on you) while catching up with your friends and get entertained by the world around you at the same time.
3. It’s a food heaven. Eat your hearts out Malaga City. Marbella no doubt is the gastronomic capital of the coast. The list of cuisines is endless here. Fancy an English for breakfast, Thai for lunch or Arabic for dinner? (And I’m not talking about the types of men you can sit next to at the dinner table either!) No worries. Marbella is teeming with the most authentic and creative restaurants and dining places where you can satisfy your discriminating taste buds. Best of all, most of these places are easy on the pocket, too!
5. It’s a melting pot of people and cultures. Go for a night out anywhere in Marbella and chances are, you would feel like you are in a UN assembly or something. From Europe to Asia, the world’s continents are represented in every nook and crevices of the town, making it more interesting, fun and never boring.
6. It’s a dating paradise. If you are single, there’s no better place to find fun, sex and maybe a bit of romance than Marbella, especially in the summer. The place is packed with beautiful people from around the world who are ready for a lot of action. Keep your heart locked and your mind open though. Marbella is never for the faint-hearted. If you’re brave enough, you can just let your hair down , enjoy the ride but get ready for your heart to get broken. For couples, Marbella can make or break a relationship. Now, if you are looking for a real, long-lasting relationship with a probability of marriage, look somewhere else. Marbella is everything but not for that. Just saying.
7. It is a town with a big attitude. I love that Marbella is authentic with its image and does not pretend to be anything but pretentious. Sounds like a complete oxymoron? Let me explain. True, a lot of people think Marbella is pretentious. So what?! It didn’t advertise itself to be a place for pilgrimage or somewhere where you can have a reading retreat (although you can do that too in one of Marbella’s quiet spots. There’s loads). People may come to Marbs to spend cash, have fun and enjoy the sun and sometimes it comes out as too much and in your face but the truth is, it’s just one side of the story. There are still real, low-key, lovely people like you and me, who live here. It’s just a matter of knowing them. And for us who have been in this place for so long, we know that. No carbs before Marbs and definitely no moaning, no hate allowed for our lovely town. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
8. It’s animal friendly. I love that you can just walk your dog everywhere in Marbella or have coffee or dinner somewhere without leaving your beloved pets at home. Some restaurants even allow pets inside their premises which is fantastic. I just hope people are more conscientious and responsible and always keep the streets clean from animal excrement.
9. It’s a mad, mad Marbella. The people here are fun, and sometimes crazy. From artists to con artists and everything else in between, the degree of the people’s madness here varies from genius to scary. In the end, it’s crazy to live here but it’s crazy not to live here either.
10. It’s electric. From sun up to sun down, there’s always something for everyone–nature, beautiful people, gorgeous food, fun and frivolity, world class events and parties. It’s got a unique energy, but sometimes it can also suck the energies out of you, so be prepared.
Personal perspectives on what makes Marbella so special. It’s a place with character. Whether good or bad, it’s irrelevant. It’s better than having no character at all.
Best View: I’m not into views but sitting in any of the cafes in Puerto Banus, seeing all the luxury cars, the boats, the beautiful people and their shopping bags is always fabulous.
Best Place for Coffee: Cappuccino Cafe at the Gran Melia Don Pepe Hotel / The Boardwalk
Best for Eating: 1870 Restaurante in San Pedro, Ban Thai in the town centre, The Boardwalk on the paseo maritimo.
Best for showing visitors the real Marbella: I’m not sure what your definition of “real Marbella” is, but for “real Spain in Marbella”, go to the Old Town. Real Marbella for me is along the beaches though. I would take my visitors to Marbella Paseo Maritimo up to Puerto Banus.
Best for quiet moments: I suggest visiting the church in the Old Town. Very solemn place, beautiful interiors. You may also just sit in one of the benches outside that church, soaking in the calmness of the area, if you are not into churches or religions.
Best for lively ones: La Sala Banus–the epicentre of Marbella. Bar Six in Nueva Andalucia for a more refined taste in nightouts and Le Suite in Puente Romano is posh and always busy. Just makes sure your wallet is packed.
I couldn’t live without: Morning coffee. You can stalk me almost every morning at the Boardwalk Creperie in Ambrosia Gourmet Market.
Best Shopping: The Benahavis Sunday Market. Designer items and other interesting stuff for less than a tenner. Fabulous.
Best Beach: Beach Club you mean? Nikki Beach.
Personal Best: I don’t know why the Ayuntamiento doesn’t push the town as a winter destination but I believe Marbella is a great place to spend the cold season! For one, we always have the sun and there are a lot of things that you can do here —dining, shopping, sightseeing, etc—sans the snow, of course, which is great for some who doesn’t want snow. Promoting Marbella internationally as a resort for the winter could add more to its economy and provide more jobs for its people.