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Sotogrande - understated affluence

Discretion is key

There’s not much that can be said about Sotogrande that hasn’t been said many times before. While Puerto Banús and Marbella may have the reputations as the party-spots and exclusive retreats of the rich and famous, Sotogrande revels in its relative anonymity and its welcome lack of recognition. Sotogrande likes to fly under the tourism radar and would like to keep it that way.

Vast mansions with staff quarters, luxury cars, swanky yachts, polo, golf, champagne and strawberries, horse-riding, sailing, dinner parties, fine dining, cigars and brandy… the list goes on – well, Sotogrande has it in spades. It just doesn’t boast about it or bring attention to itself, and that’s why those who choose to live there, do so. ‘Discreet’ would be an ideal adjective to describe Sotogrande’s ambience (alongside ‘exclusive’, ‘luxurious’ and ‘upmarket’), but then again, these words all fall short of describing Sotogrande aptly. Sotogrande is a level above ‘exclusive’.

When the nearby golf course is the Volvo Masters and Ryder Cup course of Valderrama and instead of a local football pitch there are world famous polo fields, you know you are moving in circles slightly different to the norm. Designer boutiques, gourmet eateries and chic cafés line the harbour, and residents go about their business without drawing attention to themselves.

Situated on a tract of land jutting into the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, Sotogrande eschews the limelight (unlike its more famous cousin, Puerto Banús) and simply gets on with being a secluded retreat for those in the higher financial bracket. The beautiful marina is home to an armada of luxury yachts, many of which are moored directly outside the owners’ homes (Sotogrande has plenty of properties situated right on the water). Venture slightly inland and you find the imposing and securely protected summer homes of the rich and powerful international elite.

What started as a gated community in the 1960s has since become one of the most prestigious and privileged residential developments in Europe. Sotogrande is the kind of place that manages to ooze wealth in a completely obvious yet altogether understated way. It managed to escape the financial crisis largely due to the financial clout of its residents and while property prices were dropping all over Spain, in Sotogrande they remained the same (and in some cases even rose). This is where those of more affluent means like to come and live their lives uninterrupted and among their peers.