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The great escape



Known as the “Beverly Hills of Spain”, this under-the-radar enclave on the southern tip of the Costa del Sol attracts the super-rich, but is less showy than Marbella, 40 miles up the road, says The Times. It’s where A-listers and royalty go “for active days and languid evenings, with the emphasis on family time and meeting friends”.

Places of note Real Club Valderrama is the best golf course in Spain, and Sotogrande also has tennis, polo and yacht clubs, grand mansions and fashionable beach clubs. Head to the Beach, part of the glitzy La Reserva country club, for white sand, vast sunbeds and an aquamarine lagoon surrounded by hills. Visit the whitewashed fortified village of Castellar and browse rugs and jewellery at the Sunday market in Sotogrande’s marina. Gibraltar airport is 15 miles away.

To eat The rustic-chic Trocadero beach club serves ceviche and fresh tuna in the restaurant, and cocktails direct to your bed by the pool. Cancha II is an Argentine steakhouse overlooking the Ayala polo club – great for a late lunch when there’s a match on. Family-run El Trasmallo de Agustino serves buttery sea bass baked in salt.

1 To stay

Opening this summer, SO/ Sotogrande is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with views of the Mediterranean. It has a spa, a gym, a pool, a restaurant, a bar and rooms designed in harmony with the Andalusian surroundings. Doubles from £258 a night, B&B.

2 To rent

Stay One Degree, a members’ club for holiday-home rentals, has several listings in the area. Part of a community that “could almost be gated California”, the Sotogrande Villa sleeps 10 and has a big kitchen, outdoor terraces and a lemon tree “perfect for poolside G&Ts”. From £309 a night.

3 To Airbnb

Villa Maria is a great luxury option on a budget. Five minutes from the beach and local restaurants, it sleeps 10 and has a large garden, a pool, three terraces and a barbecue. From £692 for three nights.

4 To buy

You can see Marbella, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean from this wood-clad villa in La Reserva, which has an infinity pool, a barbecue area, spacious living areas and staff quarters. All four upstairs bedrooms are ensuite, and the main one has doors leading to a large terrace. 2.2m.