The only way is Marbella
Irish models and UK reality stars have brought the glitz and glamour back to the pearl of the Costas as they seek fun in the sun
THE plush Spanish resort of Marbella is enjoying something of a revival as Irish models and TV stars have made it their getaway destination of choice.
The coastal town has been the hub of the jet set for decades -- a millionaire's playground of fun in the sun.
In the past few years the posh clientele have been staying away, wounded by the economic downturn.
But Marbella is now becoming the destination du jour for Ireland's young and wealthy with cash to splash.
Last weekend, party-loving Daniella Moyles, Michelle McGrath and Leah O'Reilly returned to the Puerto Banus haven for a second time within just a month.
The models, who left Georgia Salpa behind with new love Calum Best, were invited to attend the opening of China White in an all expenses paid trip.
And Daniella (22) revealed that on the girls' trip they bumped into the film crew for Bafta-winning reality series The Only Way Is Essex, while Pippa O'Connor glammed it up with her hens ahead of her upcoming nuptials with Brian Ormond.
The resort first attracted the spotlight in the 50s and 60s when it played host to movie stars, wealthy businessmen and footballers including George Best, Sean Connery and Diana Dors.
The celebrities of the golden age came to Marbella to see and to be seen, a sentiment echoed by the current generation.
In the 90s, the genteel glamour of old Hollywood was replaced by the flashing of Euro-cash.
But this died down when the economic crash curtailed many regulars' spending habits.
Now Irish tourists can make it to the picturesque spot on a Ryanair or Aer Lingus flight.
British prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha were recently snapped by paparazzi on a family summer holiday there -- seen by some as an attempt to show their common touch.
But the old Andalusian fishing village is competing with Ibiza as the place to be seen this summer.
Here, while the money flows, so will the champagne and vodka on tables which have a minimum spend of €450.
Entrance to the local Champagne Spray Party comes with a €125 price tag for a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. But this champagne is not for drinking. Loaded revellers spray each other with upmarket alcohol while jumping around on the sun bed they have paid €1,750 for the pleasure of renting.
Bacchanalian revels had nothing on this lot.
With just a couple of hours' sleep, bleary eyed partygoers stumble down to the beach to soak up the sun, before heading back into town later to do it all again.
Holidaymakers said that the key to a successful holiday in Marbella, as with so many things in life, is to be part of the in-crowd.
In this town the only way is excess.