An interview with Marc Topiol, Chairman of Sotogrande SA
• Who was responsible for the development of Sotogrande?
Sotogrande was established in 1962 by Joseph McMicking. Having seen the idyllic coasts and wild natural scenery in the area, Joseph bought five neighbouring fincas around the Guadiaro River estuary. His idea was to establish a luxurious residential development within a stone’s throw of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, and this idea became Sotogrande. Since its inception, Sotogrande has become the largest private enclave in Andalusia and undeniably one of the finest residential and leisure destinations in the world.
• What influenced the concept of the resort?
The resort was originally designed as a luxury residential neighbourhood, and the idea was to create properties primarily as getaway homes for the global elite. The concept of Sotogrande was to be an ultra-private, secure, and hassle-free neighbourhood, and it is these ideals that are still followed today.
It’s not just golf, it’s not just polo, dressage or jumping, it’s not just water and all the related water sports. It’s not just the green and preserved environment that offers endless possibilities. It is about being able to reconnect with the essentials and being authentic that sets Sotogrande apart.
• What is the architectural style of the resort?
Sotogrande is well known as an architectural highlight on the Costa del Sol, and the properties across the resort demonstrate a range of architectural styles. One will find styles varying from the traditional Andalusian to mid-century modern, all the way through 21st century design and even more unusual concepts, including Moorish/Mudejar-style homes and even a Swiss chalet.
The landscaping within Sotogrande is the leading light in our architectural vision, and Jean Mus has designed our natural areas, creating the perfect balance between his Provençal style and the ancient natural landscape found at Sotogrande.
The more modern properties on the newer gated communities such as The Seven and El Mirador have been carefully curated from an architectural perspective. Each property was created with the idea of finding harmony between architecture and nature, and the result of that is a unique blend of modern design and landscaping on every single property. We are proud to say that the architecture one will find at Sotogrande is virtuosic and unique to anything you will find across the globe.
• What are the natural surroundings of the resort like?
Set in the rolling coastal hills of Andalusia, Sotogrande is home to a variety of gorgeous landscapes. From steep cliffs to marshland, many of the properties across Sotogrande boast vistas like nothing found elsewhere in Europe, with contrasting views of the cobalt Mediterranean Sea, picturesque foothills, cork forests and lush green fairways, and a unique backdrop including the Rock of Gibraltar and even Morocco on a clear day.
• How did the resort develop and become popular with the global elite? What facilities are now available for residents?
High-profile powerbrokers have long been attracted by Sotogrande’s ‘low key’ lifestyle which, in the sixties, appealed to some of the most influential public figures of the time. Famous residents in this early period included the president of the First National City Bank in New York, George Moore. An influential and popular character, he brought his powerful friends with him, including Jackie and Aristotle Onassis, opera singer Maria Callas and the politician, Spiro Agnew. Images of the Sotogrande lifestyle were captured by Slim Aarons, society photographer who gained privileged access.
The global elite now come for the world-class polo, championship golf courses, exciting water sports, tennis, horse riding and, most importantly, to immerse themselves in the lifestyle that has been created at Sotogrande. The destination is the epitome of serenity, and each property is quiet and very private. Its residents have the choice of whether to relax by the two-kilometre stretch of sand at Playa Sotogrande or experience the feeling of walking on the fine sand of Cádiz at The Beach at La Reserva Club – a man-made lagoon surrounded by comfortable resting spots with a full waiter service. Residents also have the option of playing one of Sotogrande’s world class courses, or simply relaxing in the luxury of their own property.
• What are the features of the gated communities?
The gated communities at Sotogrande are like no other community in Spain, offering hassle-free, private, and secure living alongside state-of-the-art leisure facilities. The properties across the gated communities at Sotogrande are unique, and each one is carefully designed and manufactured to be architecturally spectacular. The Seven is a collection of seven one-hectare plots, and each property is designed by a different, well renowned architect, with the Seven properties offering one-of-a-kind architecture for its residents. El Mirador is located along the 13th hole of the La Reserva Club golf course and is a private community of six properties offering beautiful views of the estate. The Fifteen is a wonderful collection of plots with encapsulating views of the Mediterranean and Africa, and finally the Lagoon Villas offer residents the chance to enjoy Californian-style living in our largest gated community.
These communities provide 24-hour security, and our team is here to take care of your residence and activities, so you can simply enjoy your free time with your family and friends. There is also a Community Concierge service which has been designed to help keep life carefree. Year round, our dedicated team ensure residents do not have to worry about anything related to the maintenance of properties at Sotogrande and ensure your peace of mind while they are away. The lifestyle management services at Sotogrande also allow residents of our gated communities more time to enjoy privileged access to La Reserva Club’s sports and leisure amenities.
• What can you tell us about the golf facilities?
The golf on offer at Sotogrande is arguably unrivalled anywhere in Europe. We have La Reserva Club which boasts a championship offering that’s hosted event on both the European and Ladies European Tour, alongside an elite group of other courses such as Real Club Valderrama, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande and San Roque Club – all of which are situated just kilometres apart. Home to two of the top three golf courses in Spain, and the number-one ranked course in continental Europe in Valderrama, Sotogrande is one of the finest golfing destinations in the world.
• What can you tell us about the Discovery Package?
The discovery package is the best way to experience the Sotogrande lifestyle. It offers guests the same privacy, proximity to nature and residential services that our residents receive on a daily basis. Guests are treated to two nights at Sotogrande, with a round of golf at La Reserva Club, a private tour of the Sotogrande gated communities, and a gourmet meal in one of Sotogrande’s fabulous restaurants.
• Where can I find out more about Sotogrande?
You can find out more about Sotogrande at www.sotogrande.com, email us at Sotogrande@sotogrande.com, or call on +34 856 560 922.