Tag Archives: Costa del Sol

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.

Have you experienced the ´Blue Mind´?

´Oh we do like to be beside the seaside´ was a popular British music hall song written in 1907 by John H. Glover-Kind, expressing his love of visiting the sea for family holidays. It was composed at a time when yearly holidays to the sea were booming. Fast forward over 100 years – neuroscience research, supported by recent findings in ecology, marine biology and psychology, scientifically prove that being by water is associated with a positive state of mind. That´s right, and this positive association can be triggered by the sight, sound and texture of the water activating the ´Blue Mind´ (Dr. Wallace J. Nichols) which takes us to a positive mental state, as of that when submerged in the water.

Make a splash and activate your Blue Mind

Living by the Mediterranean Sea is officially good for the health. A Blue Mind, relaxed and calm, boosts the immune system making us less prone to virus and bacteria. Salt air of Mediterranean Sea is clean and enriched with vital minerals; salt, iodine and magnesium, promoting respiratory health. These minerals also aid sleep and help reduce depression and anxiety, by preserving the serotonin, melatonin and tryptamine.

Kitesurfing in Marbella

Living by the Mediterranean Sea in Marbella offers endless possibilities for an active, outdoor lifestyle. The sporting options on and in the water range from a pleasurable dip to an endurance swim; from a paddle board to kayak; surf the waves or fly with the wind. Plus with plenty of nautical options available to enjoy in Marbella there is something for everyone. Let´s not forget about fishing and the plethora of fresh seafood readily available along the coast. The fruits of the Mediterranean Sea promote healthy eating benefits. Seafood is filled with nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin B, fish is high in protein and is a stable for good brain health.

Seafood Paella, Los Monteros Beach

There is no doubt about it, the lifestyle by the Mediterranean Sea is seriously good for you. Tempted to dip your toe into this healthy lifestyle choice. Here is an up to date selection of beach side properties currently available for sale. Contact us for more details and viewings.

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea

What´s happening over Christmas on the Costa del Sol?

As Christmas is fast approaching it´s a good time for planning festive activities. Here is some inspiration on where to find Christmas cheer on the coast over the holiday season.

Christmas lights, Calle Larios, Malaga

Christmas Lights in Málaga

Calle Larios is the principal shopping street of Málaga city center and each Christmas famously illuminated by tens of thousands of LED lights. Each year carries a different theme and this year Calle Larios is decorated with 16 magnificent Celestial Angels. Plus 32 columns of lights have been installed along the whole stretch of this grand pedestrian street and the experience a delight for the mind, body and soul.  The side streets of Calle Larios are also beautifully decorated with festive lights, making an evening shopping trip or dinner in Málaga city center extra festive.

Málaga´s Christmas lights are switched on Saturday 26th November at 19:00h. The lights are then switched on daily, Sunday to Wednesday from 18:30h to midnight & Thursday to Saturday 18:30h to 02:00h. With the exception of 24th, 31st December and 5th January when the lights remain lit until 06:00h. During the evening there are 3 sound shows where the lights illuminate to the beat of traditional Christmas carols, Carol of the Bells and Jingle Bell are on this year’s soundtrack. The sound show takes place daily at 18:30h, 20h and 22h (except on 24th and 31st December). The lights are switched off on 6th  January at midnight.

Cirque de Soleil on ice

Cirque du Soleil on Ice

Exciting news that after a period when, due to the global pandemic, the most we could do was watch from the arm chair, the world famous spectacle, Cirque de Soleil is back in Málaga this Christmas with their first ever aerobic performance on ice. The show aptly names Crystal, will present fast and fluid performances by world-class ice skaters and acrobats in a frozen arena, as they defy the laws of gravity with never-before-seen stunts. The show is running from the 10th until 18th December at the Palacio de Deportes, Jose Maria Martín Carpena, Malaga. Find out more information and book tickets through this link: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/es/crystal#about-the-show

Christmas lights at The Botanical Gardens La Concepción, Málaga

Christmas Lights at The Botanical Gardens La Concepción,Málaga

Due to its hugely popular success last year The Botanical Garden La Concepción in Málaga will once again host a spectacular light trail across it´s immense grounds. Last year 11,000 visitors were captivated by the beauty and magic of this historical parks enchanting illumination across its stunning grounds. This year a new route of light and colour named ´Stella´ will allow visitors to accompany the Three Wise Men on their magical and surprising journey with the Star of the East. A renovated route of more than 2.2 kilometres in length will be lit by millions of points of light and more than 20 light installations will transport visitors to historic places such as Persia, Babylon and Bethlehem. The attraction starts on November 27th until to January 8th with several time slots for entry per evening. See here for more details: https://laslucesdelbotanicomalaga.com/en/

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/

How to spend rainy days on the Costa del Sol

The saying goes the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plane. On the Costa del Sol it´s not far from the truth, we have on average only 44 rainy days in a year.  So the question is if you are on the Costa del Sol and the heavens open, how best to spend your time. Here are a few ideas to keep you and the family entertained.

Visit a Museum

Málaga center has a good selection of art museums. Visit Museo Casa Natal Picasso, the house in which Pablo Picasso was born, here you can browse through memorabilia, works and photographs and trace Picasso’s early years. https://museocasanatalpicasso.malaga.eu/ Following from there you can see more than 200 works of art by Picasso at the Museo Picasso Málaga located in Palacio de Buenavista. On the lower floor you can explore Phoenician, Roman and Arabic archaeological ruins. https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/

If this wets your taste buds to know more about Spanish art Museo Carmen Thyssen has a trove of 285 incredible Spanish paintings on display from the 19th and 20th centuries. A private collection plus the temporary exhibition. https://www.carmenthyssenmalaga.org/

Pablo Picasso Museum, Málaga

Pompidou Center

A modern exhibition space hosting temporary exhibitions of contemporary artwork and interactive installations. In its semi-permanent collection there are art pieces from Frida Kahlo, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

Pompidou Center

Butterfly Park

A visit to Mariposario de Benalmádena is a delightful way to spend family time. Walk among 1,500 spices of exotic butterflies from around the world. The butterflies are flying freely in a paradise of tropical gardens with waterfalls and flowers. You will be able to observe how the butterflies are born, how they reproduce and enjoy learning many things about these wonderful insects. https://www.mariposariodebenalmadena.com/

Mariposario de Benalmádena

Los Arqueros Bowling

A fun way to spend time is at Los Arqueros Bowling and Sports Bar in Benahavis. A trendy venue with 6 bowling lanes. A sports bar and restaurant onsite serves delicious food and drinks. Los Arqueros Golf, Ronda Road A-397, Km. 44,5, Benahavis. https://losarquerosbowling.com/

Los Arqueros Bowling & Sports Bar

Retail Therapy

Retail therapy is a good option for rainy days on the Costa del Sol. There are several Shopping Malls here on the coast offering an abundant array of retail stores all under one roof. You will find all the popular high street brands as well home furnishing, toys, cosmetics, supermarkets and technology stores such as Apple and FNAC. The shopping centers offer eating establishments to satisfy all tastes and for movie lovers each Shopping Mall has it´s own several screen cinema. Check for screening in Original Version.

Parque Comercial La Cañada, Carretera de Ojén s/n, 29600 Marbella Miramar Centro Comercial, Avda. de la Encarnación, s/n, 29640  Fuengirola Plaza Major Malaga Calle Alfonso Ponce de León, 3-2, 29004 Málaga

La Cañada Commercial Center

Go to the Movies

Another option for those rainy days is to catch up on the latest cinema releases. There are numerous cinemas on the coast plus as mentioned most of the Shopping Malls have a cinema. Be sure to check for movies shown in VO: version original. Red Dog Cinema in Puerto Banus frequently has movies shown in English. https://reddogcinemas.com/es/inicio/

Red Dog Cinema, Puerto Banus

The Orchiderium, Estepona

The Orchiderium, located in the center of Estepona, is botanical garden dedicated to orchids. A space of 1000 m2 divided into 3 levels, thus creating separate micro- climates and allowing for a wide variety of species. The Orchiderium boasts a botanical collection of over 3000 plants including 1500 different orchid species, ranging in size and scale and one equally as beautiful as the next. A visit here on a rainy day will certainly lift the spirits. Admission is 3€ per adult and 1€ per child. Opening times are Tuesday to Saturday: from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sundays: from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. https://orchidariumestepona.com/elorquidario/

El Orquidario, Estepona