By John O’Ceallaigh
We’ve become so accustomed to bad news, that a recent notification about the forthcoming spring launch of Marbella Club’s new Clubhouse seemed to have been beamed in from an alternate dimension. “A series of convivial, free-flowing indoor and outdoor spaces, designed for wining, dining and socialising, pampering and shopping” it all sounds so tantalising, exotic and exciting from where I’m currently sitting – all of those things remain banned here in lockdown London.
It felt so hopeful, too, to think that in the coming months such environments and interactions will again be accessible to us; I was uplifted by the news and it feels like the time is now right to consider more deliberately and expectantly the good times that await us as the vaccine programme progresses internationally and travel slowly resumes.
On that basis, the interiors by Spain-based design studio EMCI struck me as perfectly pitched. After a full year staring at our own bland walls, the Clubhouse completely rejects minimalism, restraint and clinical sterility. Instead it’s an almost chaotic jumble of colours and patterns; it feels joyous and upbeat and simply like a night out there would be a lot of fun. EMCI and the Marbella Club’s take on the aesthetic is that its open spaces, botanical prints and unpretentious materials create a kind of “comfortable, homegrown cortijo [a traditional rural dwelling found throughout Andalusia] offering the perfect blend for socialising in every season – whether you wish to enjoy the scented, bougainvillea-decked terraces in the warmer months or choose to get cosy by the open roaring fires on crips winter evenings.” Either sounds good to me.
More specifically, Clubhouse visitors will be able to access El Patio restaurant; Rudi’s bar (a tribute to the hotel’s first GM Count Rudi, now in his 80s and still to be seen at the property); La Bodega wine bar; private dining spaces; and a central patio encircled by a hair and beauty salon, barber, florist, gift shop and exhibition spaces. (The Marbella Club team also say there’s a ‘hair spa’ on site, although what that is and how it is distinguished from a hair salon I do not know.)
In any case, the jolt of figurative and literal colour the news of The Marbella Club’s Clubhouse provided was very welcome. Aesthetically perhaps it’s a sign of things to come, with bright, bold, big, upbeat colours and maximalism coming to the fore as we rediscover the world around us. More generally, just the thought of roaming unconsciously from a busy restaurant to bar on a hot summer’s evening, booze in hand and with lots of friends to be seen, sounds so good to me.