For first-timers heading to Marbella, the westerly drive along the coast reveals apartment block after apartment block of people living out their version of the Spanish dream.
What once was a land of white-washed fishing villages has morphed into an urban sprawl, complete with shopping complexes and pub-style restaurants geared towards British tourists.
As you start to get closer to Marbella the landscape and architecture begins to improve and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in an upscale south Florida neighbourhood of delightfully decorated stuccoed villas and manicured lawns.
With Marbella’s reputation of being a hangout for the rich and famous, it is not the obvious choice when it comes to an affordable summer destination. However, don’t be put off as there are bargains to be had if you know where to look.