Town mouse holidays in the Marbella Club

I had been meaning to write about trains: specifically, those advertised as running from Marylebone to Stratford-upon-Avon on a Saturday, which are cancelled due to engineering works. But, somehow, the indignation that filled my breast a few days ago has evaporated. Taxis from Coventry, buses to Leamington Spa -what do I care for them? We’re at the Marbella Club now. The place is a marvel. Founded in 1954 by the playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, it was intended to be half rustic hideaway, half sophisticated nightclub. In those days, it was still possible to imagine Queen Isabella La Católica exclaiming, ‘que mar tan bella’ (‘what a beautiful sea’), before the property boom turned the coast into a ribbon of concrete apartment blocks.

As a piece of urbanism, Marbella can now be compared with Miami. Yet the enclave of the club remains untouched. The gardens glow with the colour from massed plantings of agapanthuses, hibiscuses and oleanders. Swallows swoop over swimming pools. At lunchtime, lobsters open their shells; you dine beneath the twinkle of candles placed in olive trees. The spa has done wonders for my shoulder, stiff after a five-hour drive from Anglesey. National Rail Enquiries? Who cares?