Piers Morgan travels to the glitzy Spanish resort of Marbella, where the worlds of discreet billionaires and ruthless gangsters collide.
Morgan assumed it was a rough, tough Costa del Crime kind of town where villains hung out with boozed-up glamour models, hookers and footballers, snorting cocaine and avoiding the police. And to a certain extent it is. But there’s another, quite extraordinary side to Marbella – one of staggering wealth and discretion that acts as a fabulously opulent secret haven for super-rich Saudi princes, Hollywood stars, European royalty and billionaire tycoons.
It’s hard to think of anywhere on the planet where two such different worlds live within the same couple of square miles together. The appeal is obvious. Marbella is sunny for more than 300 days of the year, enjoying a rare European micro-climate that allows shirt-sleeves on Christmas Day and swimming trunks from March to November.
It has a greater number of golf courses per head than anywhere else on the planet. And, from what I saw, the greatest number of bars and nightclubs too. Add the increasing number of cheap flights from companies such as easyJet and it’s not difficult to work out why it’s proving so increasingly popular with Britons. More than 300,000 Brits live in that region of Spain now and another 2.5million visited last year.