Luxury hotels and clubs are boosting efforts to cater to their littlest guests and the Marbella Club Hotel is leading the curve with the recent unveiling of their Kids Club. Open to hotel guests and local/visiting families as part of the membership programme, the club was built to bring education and recreation to life.
Not your regular “kids club”, the Marbella Club Kid’s Club includes everything from a dance studio, music room, library, and art and pottery area to an aroma workshop, garage kitchen, vegetable garden, outdoor chill-out and green area, computer room and enchanted lagoon. Kids can also interact with majestic birds such as eagles and owls during regular visits from a local bird handler. On special nights, the club extends its hours for an open air cinema night. Kid’s get to indulge in specially prepared healthy treats while lounging in the chill out area and watching their favourite movies.
Those who visit often or are based here will be thrilled to learn that the club is not only open to hotel guests. It also offers a membership program for local families. During the school term the Club is running after-school activities that include teacher led homework support, cooking, music, drama, dance, languages, computer skills and art lessons as well as sports and other fun activities. The club is offering Full Year memberships and Holiday/ Overseas memberships limited to 16 weeks per annum for those who visit often or have a holiday home here.
Interview with Marbella Club Kid’s Club Director, GUY LELEU
We heard that the Marbella Club Kid’s Club offers family memberships. Can you tell us a little about what that would entail?
The Kid’s Club annual membership offers access to our Kids Club all year round. During term time we have an afterschool programme that runs from 16:30 to 19:30 which includes homework support and a wide variety of activities such as dance, drama, art and design and tennis at Puente Romano. Our most popular activity is definitely cooking in our amazing kitchen. During the school holidays and on weekends we are open from 10:00 to 16:00 and we have a full programme of activities ranging from kayaking and surfing on the beach to making perfume in our aroma workshop. We also include lunch from our healthy menu. All the activities are included in our membership package. We offer a weekend and holiday membership for local families as well as a special membership for families who visit Marbella frequently or have a holiday home here.
What makes the Kid’s Club so special to the Marbella Club?
Firstly the setting, we are based in the original Villa of Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe which he built when he first came to Marbella 60 years ago. It is right in the heart of the Marbella Club and you can really feel it. The villa has been superbly renovated by a Madrid design company, Mini Mec. They have included some incredible details that make the space a real paradise for children.
In your opinion why are parents so happy with the afterschool programme?
The feedback from our members has been very positive. I think the fact that we have experienced and well qualified teachers providing both the homework support and the activities is a genuine benefit. Some of our parents are not native English speakers so having a teacher available to help with the homework is very important to them. Also the fact that we can offer so many activities in one place means that parents no longer feel like a taxi service taking kids from one venue to another.
What are the most popular activities for Kids?
It is difficult to say as we offer so many activities. Over the summer, definitely the most popular activities were kayaking, the weekly visit of our friendly owl and eagle and the make your own pizza activity - where the children pick fresh ingredients from our garden and use them to create their very own pizza with our chef. The regular table tennis tournaments and sports activities are also very popular, as well as swimming in our special organic pool. During the summer everybody loved our movie nights where we use our open air cinema.
Is there one special programme that you recommend at the Kid’s Club?
Definitely, the new Junior Master Chef programme! Kids will learn how to cook, the skills required to make a series of recipes and which ingredients to use. They will be awarded their certificates by our Michelin starred Head Chef at the end of the course.
We heard that you host Birthday parties at the Marbella Club Kid’s Club, tell us about a recent birthday. Can you share a few highlights?
The last party we had was really incredible. We had jugglers, clowns, our Owl and Eagle came too. We finished with an open air Disco complete with a DJ.
What sort of activities can you plan for a Birthday party?
We offer a bespoke service as there are just so many activities and themes we can plan for any event. The client shares their ideas and we share ours and we make sure they have an unforgettable birthday party.
What can parents do while the kids are enjoying the party, can you cater for adults?
Yes, we can in fact at the last party here we hosted 41 adults. They enjoyed great paella while the kids had fun. Alternatively you can leave your children with us and just enjoy the Marbella Club’s superb restaurants and bars!
Open: 365 days a year
Ages: Children ages 4 – 14. (Children under 4 are welcome to take part in the programme when accompanied by a parent or custodian)
Opening Hours: Participation is on a full or half-day basis: the full day program runs from 10:00– 16:00, including lunch. The after-school program runs from 16:30 -19:30 and full days on weekends.
Languages: Spanish, English, French and German. Additional languages are available upon request.
Activities: Arts and Crafts; Music and Dance; Beach Activities and Sports; Mini Gardeners program; Garage Kitchen and cooking; Creative Play; Supervised Swim; Evening Sessions (BBQ, dance at the mini disco, or watch a movie under the stars) and Sports Training (tennis academy, golf lessons from a PGA instructor, horseback riding)
Membership: For more information about the Kid’s Club, please contact Guy Leleu
What makes all the sadness of working with abandoned, abused or neglected animals worthwhile is the success stories. Each month we will bring you uplifting and inspiring stories of the latest animals to be saved and re-homed through Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre - tissues at the ready!
Alien & Pudding
By - his new Mum and Dad - the Morris/Tolliday family.
We love having Alien in our family and are so pleased that we adopted him. He is such a character. He is still not great with strangers but he adores other dogs - ALL of them. He and Pudding get on so well and since Alien arrived she has been acting like a puppy again, running around the forest with him everyday like a nutter. He has made her feel young my HAPPY ever after again. She is eight and was getting a bit lazy and grumpy, but now Pudding is like a completely different dog. They are inseparable. He has become famous in Epping Forest, the breed is so rare over here that he is like a little celebrity. He has been likened to a tiny shire horse. Alien is getting more confident and independent now. Before he would sleep on our bed, draped over our legs so that he was always touching us, but now he sleeps in his own bed like a big boy. We love him so much, he is our little/big boy; when we get home he sings to us and he sounds like a gremlin, it’s so sweet. We now have the perfect brother for our Pudding and the best little boy we could wish for.
Bobi was less than a year old when his owner surrendered him to the pound. He was on death row, where being put to sleep was pretty much a certainly. Kim’s administrator, Karoline Barrett just happened to be picking up a pair or Samoyeds to take back to the rescue centre when Bobi spotted her. His eyes told her all she needed to know. Karoline promised there and then that she would find him the perfect forever home and she worked and worked and worked for Bobi. His was the face of a campaign and he was shared by hundreds of people on Facebook until one day, a woman right here in Mijas Costa sent Bobi’s photo to her friend who had moved here from the UK and she fell in love instantly. Bobi now has an entire family: a Mum, Dad and children who have adopted a second puppy so that Bobi has a friend. Bobi is the gentlest dog in the world and he has become the Lord of the house, having his every wish met with love. He is now a completely settled 18 month-old pup who is regularly groomed, walked and played with, yet he has retained his cheeky character, which makes his family fall deeper in love with him every day. What a lucky boy.
We would love to feature you and your new furry friend in the magazine! Tell us your Happy Ever After story at
Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre, T. 603 138 715 https://en-gb.facebook.com/KimsAnimalRescue
Andrea Böck, leading interior designer and owner of Ambience Home Design, was commissioned to design and furnish a property in La Alzambra. “The main objective was to lend this property a contemporary and fresh feel and to play with textures and shapes in a discrete yet stylish way, maintaining calm tones throughout.” Andrea explains.
For a slick modern element, Andrea chose Arketipo’s Plat sofa and Pipistrello lamps on either side to bring height and unequivocal style, while an Asian inspired textured and patterned fabric was the source of inspiration for the armchairs. For additional seating that would not obstruct the view she chose round pouffés in a silky fabric.
“We used metallic voiles to dress the windows, creating a touch of glamour; their creased effect and voluptuous drop add a stunning texture whilst reflecting light.” Says Andrea. Andrea cleverly opted for two side-by-side coffee tables, as opposed to one and says “The additional space can easily be adapted for any occasion”. And, as a finishing touch, she chapters the whole area with an extra large and beautiful soft rug from India.
A reading corner was designed at the far end of the lounge and for the overall look Andrea chose a set of beautiful white lacquered wooden stumps, a modern chaise longue by Desiree and a Francoise Nielly painting for a splash of colour.
A play with texture In the master bedroom, striped silky wallpaper is the backdrop to stark white lacquered wall-mounted side tables and a large plush faux fur fills the bed. An end of bed storage bench was upholstered in a stunning geometric velvety fabric, contrasted by a simple linen armchair with stud detail, that fills the corner.
Andrea chose fine, dark, weather resistant faux wicker seating which is easy to maintain and tribal artwork to decorate the walls.
Ambience Home Design T. 952 788 691 Ctra. Ronda La Cancela de la Quinta, Edificio 3 Local 3.2B San Pedro de Alcantara ambiencehomedesign.com
Before I hand over to Tania Coates (SOS Animals UK) I just wanted to share my personal experience. Until I came to Spain I had never come across a Podenco. Two years ago, a Podenco mix puppy was thrown out of a car in Nueva Andalucia. This big eared, quivering wreck gave my partner and I one look filled with such sorrow, that we took him in there and then.
Kobi is like marmite; people either love or hate him. If I walk him along the beach people regularly stop and take photos of him, however it is also common for people to cross the street to avoid us and one man even told my partner that Kobi was a beast and should be muzzled. Poor Kobi has been compared with everything from a rat to the mutants in the movie I Am Legend. However I think he is beautiful. The breed does have a bad reputation and, yes, I will put my hand up, they are a lot of work. However, the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives. Podencos are incredibly loyal; Kobi follows me everywhere. If I cry he licks away my tears and if I am ill he sits by my side. I have never known a dog be as gentle with food and obviously I wouldn’t recommend this, but my partner’s daughter once took food out of his bowl while he was eating and he didn’t move a muscle. As for protection you couldn’t get a better guard dog. I cannot understand why they are so badly treated in this country.
They say that dogs are man’s best friend - well Kobi is mine.Spain has a long tradition of hunting with dogs, and two breeds – the Galgo and the Podenco – are generally used in the south.
The Galgo is similar to a Greyhound, but tougher and with more stamina, while the Podenco (which means hound in Spanish) is similar in stature to the Pharaoh Hound, with his large chest and shallow belly. However some – such as the Podenco Maneto – can be squat, or even medium-size or large like the Podenco Ibicenco (Ibizan Hound). Both Galgos and Podencos are considered ancient breeds and it is often claimed that the Podenco is a descendant of the hounds of the Pharaohs, and is believed to have arrived in Europe in around the eighth century.
Although some of these Spanish dogs are cared for adequately, many are treated very poorly, and at the end of the hunting season it is not uncommon for dogs to be shot or hung because they are considered no longer useful. The streets and countryside of Spain are full of strays and abandoned dogs are left to breed unchecked. In addition, neutering and vaccination are very rare.
Spanish pounds and rescue shelters are over-populated with dogs looking for homes, and SOS Animals is one such shelter. Run by Spanish, British and Swedish volunteers, around 60 or 70 dogs are cared for at any one time whilst efforts are made to find foster and forever homes for these abandoned animals.
SOS Animals UK was set up over four years ago to try and help with this dreadful situation. A volunteer-run organisation, it is dedicated to helping the SOS shelter in Spain care for, foster and find new homes for the dogs in the UK and also helps several fosterers in Spain who are equally overwhelmed with Podencos and Podenco crossbreeds. The breed is very common in Spain, and often overlooked in many of the shelters.
Podencos and Galgos can make brilliant pets, and SOS Animals ensures it finds the right home for these wonderful dogs. They have a detailed rehoming process which begins with an assessment of an animal, which is then matched to a home where his or her needs will be fully met. Discussion about a would-be adopter’s lifestyle, experience with dogs, and expectations of life with a Podenco may ultimately lead to a home check and visit to meet the dog concerned at the foster home. Once a home is found, they offer full back-up and support for the new owner to ensure the dog is properly settled.
Podencos are renowned escapologists, and it is not unusual for them to jump six foot high fences in a single leap: a secure garden is therefore an absolute must. They are multi-sensory hounds who are far more robust than Greyhounds, Lurchers and other sight hounds (who hunt using sight and speed primarily). They can be mischievous and full of fun, yet also watchful and gentle. Although these dogs are absolutely stunning in every way, they are not ideal companions for everyone. Specific breed needs can mean they must be rehomed in a family that already has a dog or dogs and new owners must be aware that a Podenco may have to be on lead when not in a securely fenced location: these agile hounds require a lot of exercise and their recall can be selective at the best of times. All of the dogs rescued by SOS Animals are micro-chipped, vaccinated, neutered, and blood-tested and any medical needs taken care of. Since the establishment of SOS Animals, the organisation has found forever homes for thousands of dumped and stray dogs, the vast majority of which were Podencos. Please visit our websites and Facebook page to meet the many Podencos looking for loving forever homes.
All the animals on this page are desperately in need of a loving home
TINA AND CHRIS
Well good day to you - please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Tina and Chris, brother and sister Jack Russells. We have lived the most wonderful life together until, sadly, our master died; we were devastated of course. The neighbours tried their best to help and initially took us in, but with six dogs of their own it was too much. We are very sweet and quiet with lovely manners and, at 14 years old, are OAPs, so our days of charging around the park are long gone. We still love our walks, though it’s more of a stroll than a run these days. We are craving the home comforts that we are used to and desperately need a little fuss and a lot of cuddles; we promise to reward you with all our love. We would definitely need homing together as we do not like to be separated. Did you know that we were only 30 minutes away from being put to sleep when Kim rescued us? Good timing I say. We have lots of positives; please don’t pass us by and leave us to spend the rest of our lives in kennels.
Just as my name suggests, I am a very chilled out and peaceful little girl, who would like nothing more than to curl up on your knee and help you relax. I have been at the shelter since I was three weeks old and I do not understand why I have never been chosen ahead of other cats. I was found in a box with my brother Diablo - we had been dumped in the campo. I remember being very thirsty and hungry and barely able to lift my head. Apparently we were both severely dehydrated and close to death. I am very sweet and love to show my affection by curling around your feet and purring. I have been through a lot and I am hoping that soon it will be my turn to be given lots of love and a home to call my own.
Given my name I can only assume I am royalty and like to keep up appearances. I am as gentle and graceful as a member of the aristocracy should be. Members of my court here tell me I’m a lovely chap with beautiful manners but it’s all in the breeding, don’t you know? I am four years old and was being held hostage in a dreadful pace called the pound, where I was saved from death by my loyal knights. I am looking for new lodgings - a palace would be most suitable I think. You must understand that to give me all the pampering a man of nobility needs I must have your full attention at all times.
Hello potential adopters. I am a lovely lady who was very sad and bewildered in kennels. Being so small meant that kennel life is not for me and I long for a warm cosy sofa and most of all a person to snuggle up with. I am now looking for a new home and a new beginning after being found as a stray in Murcia. I am currently in foster care but I seem to have rubbed the resident dog up the wrong way; I don’t know why, as most dogs seem to like me. I think he is used to getting all the attention - men! I am housetrained, great with cats and am always happy. I think people like to be greeted with a grin and a tail wag don’t you? If you can show me how lovely life can be and offer me love and affection I will be one happy lady. Please hurry and contact Kim and speak to about the Marvellous Mandy, who needs a best friend today.
COULD YOU BECOME A FOSTER ANGEL?
Kim’s has recently had a check up by the OCA and the outcome is pretty grim to say the least. They have stated that if the requested repairs, which will cost more than 10,000 euros, are not completed within a month, they will revoke the shelter licence. Kim’s also needs to reduce the number of dogs by 50 within 30 days, so they are desperate for foster carers. Could you open your heart and home and become a Foster Angel?
Kara Robertson and her animal foster family “I started fostering about seven years ago. I was a volunteer dog walker and was thinking about starting a family with my partner, Gary, when a litter of abandoned puppies came into the shelter. At only four weeks they needed bottle-feeding and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to see if I had what it took to be a mother. We fostered the five puppies and bottle-fed them every two hours. Once they came of age they were all sent to Belgium for adoption. It’s always a sad time when you say goodbye to dogs and puppies that you have loved and cared for, but the pictures of them happy in their homes makes it all worthwhile. We have fostered many, many dogs over the years. We tend to opt for the litters of puppies. Although they are more work than an adult dog, they are the most at risk at the shelter and, of course, the fact that there are usually a number of them helps with the attachment issues. We have had some very sad cases and lost puppies due to different illnesses but we carry on because our help is very much needed. Fostering is incredibly important as there are always cases at shelters of dogs that are simply pining. They stop eating and are basically dying of a broken heart because the person they loved most and depended on has left them in a strange, scary place. They are used to a real home and a foster parent can take that dog, give them love, gain their trust and show that life isn’t over for them. For puppies and kittens it’s giving them that chance to allow their small immune systems to grow. Many don’t have their mothers and have been dumped in the bins or at the side of the road, so by fostering you become that lifeline for them. I now have three and six year-old boys of my own. Fostering shows them how to care for animals and how important it is to help others in need. I have seen how caring and loving my boys have become. Now they are eager to feed stray dogs when they see them and jump out of the car with the food and water to make sure the uncatchable ones are fed. I wish more people would foster. It is an amazing feeling to know you have saved a life; it’s a real achievement.”
For more information on these animals please contact: Kim’s Animal Rescue Centre, T. 603 138 715 https://en-gb.facebook.com/KimsAnimalRescue