For five fabulous days in Spain this past May, I answered to the nickname, “Miss Miami.” Ayaz’s uncle bestowed the moniker, it stuck, and was kinda perfect. Miss Miami sounds (to me, anyway) like some international jetsetter, and for those few days in Marbella, it was hard not to feel like I was a guest at a Hollywood-worthy extravaganza.
We had traveled to Marbella, tucked along Spain’s Costa del Sol, to attend Ayaz’s cousin’s wedding. Family and friends were traveling from across the globe — London, New York City, Dubai, Tanzania, Los Angeles, Switzerland, and beyond — for a multi-day celebration in one of Europe’s most spectacular settings.
Ayaz’s family invited us to stay at the Marbella Club, which is, hands down, one of Europe’s swankiest hotel’s — having earned its see-and-be-seen reputation as the hangout of Brigitte Bardot, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Sir Laurence Olivier, and pretty much everyone who has ever been anyone in the celeb set.
I was unabashedly starstruck by my surroundings, especially because I had written about Marbella Club for various travel outlets, when covering the region. I was even introduced to the Count and Princess who run the property.
Still, it didn’t really compare to what would unfold at the traditional Indian celebration.
Held in a clubhouse in the mountains overlooking Marbella, the event was breathtaking from start to finish. Guests donned exquisite saris and traditional garb, a mini-souk was set up where guests could find bangle bracelets, colorful scarves, and even henna artists who had been flown in from London. A drumming performance capped off the night, which was one of the most magical I’ve known.
Then, on to the wedding night. Oh, there was beauty coming at me in spades. The setting was incomparable — a villa on the Marbella Club property, overlooking the sea.
The night’s highlight came when I was surrounded by a group of “aunties,” who rallied to have me don bangles on my wrists. (The bangle set-up from the previous night was brought to the cocktail hour).
They told me to choose my favorite color. I chose red.
“NOT THAT COLOR!” They cried out.
“Er, I’m sorry?” I said. “Could you show me my favorite color?”
Evidently, it’s green. The bangle selection process occupied the next 15 minutes. There were negotiations, a lot of head shaking, and finally — success! Hugs all around!
From the stunning menu, to the exquisite lighting, flower arrangements, rockin’ DJ, and an afterparty held in what can only be likened to the Playboy Grotto (less the Playboy Bunnies) — the night was un-freaking-believable.
Around 6 am, while a contingent of partygoers rallied to watch sunrise, I called it quits, and hit the sack. Apparently, even Miss Miami needs sleep 🙂