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Meet the Team : Louise

Louise Hazleden, Marbella Property Consultant

Louise knew from an early age that her destiny was in Marbella and in 2004 she took the bold step to relocate. Since then Louise has been enjoying the Marbella lifestyle while helping others find their dream home. Working in Marbella Real Estate, with two decades experience in the field, she´s seen a lot of changes.

Louise met her partner in Spain. They are proud parents of two children born and raised in Marbella. Here Louise recalls her journey and shares her passion for living in southern Spain.

When did you first come to Marbella and what are your earliest memories from that time spent here? I first came to Marbella in the early 80´s. My dad is a golf fanatic he fell in love with the area and following that all our family holidays were here. Some of my earliest memories are seeing Sean Connery at Los Naranjos Golf Club, chilling out by the pool at the Siesta Club and a little bit later in the 90´s, hanging out at Babaloo beach. (now respectively Ocean Club and Mistral Beach).

Why did you relocate to Marbella? In my early 20´s I had a dream that I would live in Marbella one day. At that time I was living in London running a corporate event management company organizing golf trips to southern Spain. I worked with Abercombie and Kent and Blue Chip organizations such as Chubb Insurance and British American Tabacco. I was collaborating with golf clubs on the coast; Valderrama, San Roque Club, Almenara to name a few and travelling to and from Málaga quite regularly. Leaving Spain always pulled at my heart strings and I asked myself ´´what I am waiting for if I want to live in southern Spain I should do something about it´´. So I reached out to my contacts on the coast and made enquiries.

Tell us about your journey in real estate? In 2004, I had an interview with the Chairman of Ocean Estates International, a leading real estate agency with several offices on the coast at that time. I accepted an International Sales position in their elite division and relocated shortly after. It was a period when inspection trips were hot and clients were flying in to purchase their dream home in 2 to 3 days. This first experience in real estate was a huge learning curve. After some time I was ready to move on and I was contacted for a position at the Danish owned real estate agency Livingstone Estates. The founder had, with the renown architect Melvin Villarroel, built several prestigious developments at Guadalmansa Playa; Torre Bermeja, Cabo Bermeja and Menara Beach.

Torre Bermeja, Guadalmansa Playa

The company had a personal approach, it was a great environment to work in and I formed friendships that made a lasting impact in my life. During my years at these large agencies I gained an in depth knowledge of the real estate market. In 2009, as a new mum, I set up my own Real Estate venture specializing in servicing properties in the exclusive area of Los Monteros Beach. In 2013 I joined forces with the long-established brand Marbella Properties®.

How has the real estate industry changed since 2004? The business is transient and I have seen a lot of people come and go. When I arrived on the scene there where mainly big players such as Ocean, Viva, Interealty, Andalucian Dream Homes. These top agencies had numerous offices along the coast and a legion of staff. Following the financial crisis of 2008 those agencies had to sharply down size to avoid total closure which few managed to do. Following the crisis we have seen the emergence of smaller real estate companies with a more personal approach. While the market was dominated by the Spanish, English, Irish, German and French, we now see buyers coming from across Europe and beyond.

Puerto Banus and La Concha mountain

How do you think the pandemic affected the Marbella real estate market? Marbella will always be a desirable place to live. Its enviable climate, location and ever improving infrastructure are the solid foundations for this real estate market. During the pandemic this became more apparent and encouraged those who had the desire to make a change in their lifestyle relocate, it also pushed those that had been dreaming of owning a place in the sun to purchase a property. Remote working became possible to a wider range of professionals allowing an entirely new generation of home owners to enjoy living in southern Spain. The Marbella real estate market bounced back immediately after the lock down ended and demand remains strong since.

Tell us about Marbella Properties? Marbella Properties® is a long established real estate brand. We are a dynamic team of professional experts that are passionate about Marbella and passionate about property. Buying or selling a property is the largest investment most individuals will make in their life, thanks to our experience we are helping clients make the right choice. Marbella Properties has a loyal client base and are highly regarded among industry professionals.

Where do you live and what do you like about it? I live in a quiet and leafy neighbourhood in Nueva Andalucia. The district of Nueva Andalucia it is a great place to live, it offers loads of amenities that serve us as a family. The village of La Campana is on our doorstep and San Pedro town is easily accessible, both authentic areas that have Andalucían charm and keep things real.

Family time exploring the Benahavis countryside

What do you enjoy most about living in southern Spain and how do you spend your free time? I love the outdoor lifestyle and the weather. I love to see a blue sky and the Mediterranean Sea, it makes such a positive impact on the day. Living by the sea provides a fantastic environment to raise a family, we often cycle to the beach at the weekends. I love the sharing concept of Mediterranean dishes and the delicious seafood. The countryside is great for hikes, river walks, day trips by the lakes, plenty of options for adventure. Road trips are fun, Tarifa and the Atlantic coast is just an hour away and we can easily drive to Granada for skiing in Sierra Nevada. When taking time out it´s yoga, there are fantastic yoga teachers in Marbella and when the opportunity arises I enjoy playing golf. Southern Spain is a magical place and every day I am grateful to be living here.

Monteros Property Services rebrands as Marbella Properties

Monteros Properties Services specialising in the area of Los Monteros Beach has always been part of Marbella Properties® and is now working under the main brand. In effect, nothing will change, professional services to the Los Monteros Beach area will continue through the Marbella Properties® brand. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further details on the real estate services we offer.

Monteros Property Services rebrands as Marbella Properties®

Coffee Time with Shirley O´Neill Wellness Coach and Soft Tissue Therapist

Shirley talks to us about how her professional journey in the Wellness world has evolved since moving to Spain, her love of authentic Andalucía and her passion for the outdoors.

Can you tell us about yourself and what brought you to Marbella?

I moved to Marbella 15 years ago. I was working in London as a Clinical Soft Tissue Therapist. My partner, who prior to us meeting had spent several years working in the Balearic Iles, couldn´t settle in the UK. As I could take my work anywhere we discussed relocating and decided to come and look at mainland Spain. We came to Marbella and we ended up buying a Cocktail Bar. So we were running the cocktail bar and I started to build up my practice. We chose Marbella as the place to relocate because there are people all year round and with all the sporting activities the area offers; cycling, golf, racquet sports and water sports, there was good potential for my work.

Tell us about your journey in the health and fitness industry?

My journey as a professional in the health and fitness industry started in 2001 which is when I qualified from the London School of Sports Massage as a Clinical Soft Tissue Therapist and in 2002 Myofascial Therapy. I was fortunate to work at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the Athletes Center, supporting competitors with their needs.That experience motivated me to extend my training into Clinical and Remedial soft tissue therapy. So when I returned to the UK, I trained and qualified.  Following that I was working at Physio in the City, a multidisciplinary clinic with sports doctors, physiotherapists, podiatrists, osteopaths, acupuncturists and soft tissue therapists. When we relocated to Marbella one of my first group of clients were ex-army guys on boot camps, through meeting them my network expanded. I met various health coaches and that´s what started me on a 5 year training program with the Institute of Integrative Nutritional Health Coaching and from there I went on to study at the School of Applied Functional Medicine. I have since qualified as a board certified Functional Medicine Health Coach. Now I practice both the Functional Medicine as an online consultancy and the Clinical and Remedial Soft Tissue Therapy at my studio in Marbella.

Can you explain a little bit about Integrative Nutrition and Functional Medicine?

Integrative Nutrition is when we look at the person as a whole and what that means is we look at their primary food and their secondary food. Primary food is everything that nourishes you off the plate, so that´s a person’s environment at home and work, what they do, any passions they´ve got, their financial situation, relationships; family and personal, so everything that makes someone up. Secondary food is the actual physical food that they eat from the plate. The premise being with Integrative Nutrition that the primary food is actually more important than the secondary food, at the end of the day you could put the cleanest diet into your body but if you have chronic stress in your life that will impact on your digestive system, which may mean that you´re not able to digest the food that you are taking in or absorb it and get it past the cell membrane for cellular use.  So that´s the main thing that we look at with the Integrative Nutrition. It goes hand in hand with the Functional Medicine because there we are looking at root cause resolution, who is this person that has these collection of symptoms causing dis-ease in their body. So by that we have to look at the whole person and its all-encompassing. Everything that´s in the Integrative Nutrition as well as potentially looking at lab work to be able glean more information on that person at that moment in time and to find out what it is that´s out of balance in that person’s body and more importantly why and what can be done to bring about reversal of the symptoms and then most importantly to be able to maintain that wellness.

Who can benefit from a Wellness Coach and what results can clients expect?

Everyone can benefit from working with a coach but they have to want to do the work, we can’t work harder than the person who are coaching and I think that´s quite often a stumbling point where people think that we are going to fix them, that´s not what a coach does we walk side by side with them to help them on their path to finding better wellness by guiding them and inspiring them, by educating them about what their body needs at that moment in time. Also understanding that what´s right now, might change in 6 months’ time or 1 years’ time, depending what was going on for that person. Results can depend on the individual, on why they are coming to you and how long their symptoms have been in place. For example; If someone has used sleeping medication for over 2 decades, it would be unrealistic to think that in a couple of months they can heal their bodies from their symptoms, it’s about managing people’s expectations and educating them on how the body can heal given the correct environment.

Marbella is often portrayed as a party destination, how would you describe Marbella´s scene to others?

I think that Marbella is cosmopolitan in that you have so many different walks of life that pass through. It is a little bit transient people do come and go which can be quite hard when friends leave. Having been here 15 years I think you can find your niche, for me it´s the mountains, the sea and finding the true Spanish aspect like wondering round Marbella Old Town and spotting for tapas or going inland and discovering the white washed villages.  

Where do you live and what do you like about it?

I live on the outskirts of Marbella center. What I love about the area is that I can literally walk out the door turn one direction and I´m in the countryside or I turn the other direction and walk into town. I have fabulous views of the mountains and sea.

How do you like to enjoy your free time?

Generally our free time is spent as a family; walking the dog, in the summer going to the sea, paddle surfing. We like to go up the Ardales Lakes https://www.antequera.co.uk/ardales-lakes/ with friends for a picnic and of course paddle surfing. We all enjoy hiking so we walk a lot there are many places for that, El Refugio de Juanar we love. In the winter we like to go to Sierra Nevada https://sierranevada.es/.

El Cruz de Juanar, Ojén

Where are your favourite places for buying food and eating out?

I like to buy my fruit and vegetables from El Mercadillo, the Guadalhorce Ecological farmers markets https://www.guadalhorceecologico.org/ which take place each weekend up at various locations on the coast throughout the month. I buy meat from a butchers in Divina Pastora and from Honey Suckle Farm in Coin. One of our favourite places to eat is on the beach at Restaurante Las Flores, in Las Chapas. If we are in the mood for meat we´d go to La Patagonia an Argentina restaurant close to Paseo Maritimo or Gorko Grill, that´s another favourite.

Guadalhorce Ecological Farmers Market

How can people find out more about you and your services?

You can find me on Instagram at sustainable health_fm, on facebook or my website www.shirley-oneill.com. On my website you will find more information about Functional Medicine and my contact details. Bodywork, Local 20, Centro Commercial El Capricho, Marbella.

Coffee Time with Kristel Schoeman founder of Wood Factory

Wood Factory was launched by long-term resident of Marbella, Dutch born Kristel Schoeman. Kristel wanted to bring the best of Dutch design and quality to the Costa del Sol. Kristel´s success speaks volumes in the number of establishments across the coast that she has furnished. Here Kristel talks about business and how it goes being a mother of four.

Kristel Schoeman

Can you tell us the story of how Wood Factory came about?

When I was pregnant with my fourth child I decided to leave my job and take a sabbatical. During my sabbatical I came up with a new business idea which was inspired from Holland. Wood furniture at that time was very popular in Holland, in Marbella if you wanted to have furniture of wood you couldn’t find anything nice, it was dark colored wood or antique wood but not the bohemian light wood that I was looking for. So I made a business plan and shortly after the birth of my daughter, I found myself full of energy; I hired a carpenter, I rented a warehouse and I started to make furniture designs and by end of that summer, my children went back to school, my daughter started nursery and I opened my showroom with my designs.

What products do you offer and what are the current trends?

We make furniture of wood, the designs I make myself and I look at current trends, I look what kind of designs are popular at the moment and we make the furniture ourselves locally. I take a design and I make my own version, we use different material not PVC or aluminum. Our wood is recycled, strong due to its thickness of 3 cm and is suitable for exterior use. The treatments we use are oils available in different colours, the most popular are white, grey and natural. We make dining tables, coffee tables, lounger sets, doors, floors, indoor and out door kitchens. Cushions for our lounge sets we make made to measure, in fabrics suitable for exterior use and in many colours, shapes and patterns. I like to look in the trendy magazines and I always try to get new designs based on the current trends.

Wood Factory terrace furniture

Can you tell us about any of the projects you are currently working on?

Currently I´m working on a very big project in Copenhagen, Denmark.  We are furnishing a huge restaurant that is part of a chain all over Denmark. The client has been sat on my furniture in different restaurants here on the coast  and looked up our brand, came to our showroom and said this is what I want for my restaurants in Denmark. So we are starting to do the first restaurant in his chain and delivery is mid/end April. I´m also working on a project for detox hotel in Portugal, we are custom making all their exterior terrace furniture and other custom made pieces like bathroom tops and mirrors for inside the rooms. These are the two biggest projects Iam working on at the moment. I always have little restaurant projects like a new golf restaurant opening, a new cafeteria opening in Estepona and private residential projects.

Wood Factory has furnished many of the coats trendy cafes and restaurants

What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up a business in Marbella?

Just do it! I think it is important to know the Spanish language. Try to make good calculations especially if you need to rent premises the prices can be extremely high. Don’t make a mistake in having too high overheads in the beginning because it will always take some time to start up the business. Try to search for a good location and not too expensive. If you believe in your concept go for it, I think in Marbella we have a really big market, international and Spanish, so if the product is good or the service is good what you have to offer and your overheads are not too high it should work.

Which area do you live in and what do you like about it?

I live in Nueva Andalucía walking distance to Puerto Banus, close to the boulevard. I´ve lived there since 2004, a long time. I love the area a lot because it´s very international and what I like is we are walking distance to the beach and the paseo. We can take the bikes and cycle to Marbella, to San Pedro or we walk. I don’t have to take my car to go to the sea. I don’t go into Puerto Banus itself  that much but its handy to be close to El Corte Ingles and we enjoy going to Picasso´s with the children. Mainly what I like is being close to the Paseo.

Wood Factory made to measure lounge sets with bespoke upholstery

How do you like to spend your free time?

Free time at the moment there is not a lot of free time, last weekend I was in Malaga with my third boy, he had a basketball match, then my oldest boy had a football match in Torremolinos so that´s a how my weekends look at the moment. I like to go walking and have a family lunch on a Sunday. I like to make little road trips. I go with my daughter to the Saturday market at Centro Plaza. But there´s not a lot of free time at the moment.

The most popular colour treatments for the wood are white, grey and natural

How would you describe Marbella to an outsider?

Living in Marbella for 22 years I have seen Marbella growing from a small village, well I don’t think it´s a small village anymore. I think we are blessed to live here, because first of all I think we have the best climate of Europe. Secondly the international community. To be surrounded by many different nationalities is enriching especially for the children. I think Marbella has a lot of opportunities. Well it is seasonal and in the high season of course there´s more demand than the low season, but still the whole year round there is movement, there is a huge residential community living here. Marbella is multicultural there is something for all styles. To summarize I think Marbella is the best place to live in Europe.

Wood Factory Showroom, Poligono San Pedro de Alcántara

How can people find out more about Wood Factory?

You can go around Marbella having dinners or drinks in places and you will see the furniture; we have furnished many places. You can find inspiration on our website and some of our designs are on Instagram. At our showroom in San Pedro where we also make our furniture, we have many of our products on display. Poligono San Pedro de Alcántara, Calle Budapest 16 ES – 29670 San Pedro de Alcántara. https://www.woodfactory.es/es/

Coffee Time with Mercedes Lopez Charro

In this blog series we will be introducing you to real people of Marbella, sharing their passions, talents and insights.  

Mercedes Lopez Charro is a super talented, Spanish freelance illustrator based in Marbella. Mercedes spent her childhood in London and moved back to Spain with her family when she was 15. Mercedes draws a wide range of lifestyle, fashion and food illustrations, using traditional techniques such as watercolor and ink and then edits them digitally. Passionate about her work and a self-proclaimed heARTist. You´re going to love discovering her!!

Mercedes Lopez Charro

What inspired you to become an artist?

I have always been creative, so it was always on the cards one way or another.

What is your favourite drawing or painting in your portfolio?

This is a difficult question to answer as I have too many favourites to choose from, but I love all the monochrome ones and the fashion pop art pieces.

Gone Surfing & Morning Swim

What do you do to overcome a creative block?

To be honest this does not happen to me often, but when I get tired or burnt out I take a few days off to relax and do other things and I come back recharged.

When you are not working how do you like to enjoy your time?

Hanging out with my family, working in my garden, going on bike rides and anything to do with the beach.


Which area of Marbella do you live and can you tell us what is special about that area to you?

I live in Linda Vista Playa, it’s one of the original urbanization´s in San Pedro de Alcántara, very quiet and close to the beach and the best part, its walking distance to town.

How would you describe Marbella to an outsider?

A beautiful slice of paradise we are so lucky to live here.

Marbella Club Hotel

How can people reach you and discover more about your work?

You can find me on https://mercedeslopezcharro.com/ & https://www.instagram.com/mercedeslopezcharro/ or at the beach 😉

If you also want to live the Marbella lifestyle by the beach check out our selection of Marbella Beach Properties.