Sabi Phagura takes a look at Sotogrande’s 400-hectare gated private estate in Andalusia, and its status as one of the finest residential offerings in Europe.
LM: How would you describe Sotogrande?
MT: Sotogrande in southern Spain is a place to relax, to disconnect and to be with family and friends with a unique community lifestyle. It is a destination for holidaymakers and residents alike that offers an unrivalled quality of life with natural spaces and all kinds of sport and leisure activities. Sotogrande was created 58 years ago with one simple concept in mind – to develop a community where you feel at home.
In a word, Sotogrande encapsulates the fundamentals of one’s life. It offers everything that is essential to one’s happiness in a residential environment, as well as a sense of community and belonging.
LM: What is unique that attracts residents to the area?
MT: Each individual aspect of Sotogrande can be found in places around Europe and across the world, but the collection of these components is what attracts our residents and guests and convinces them to stay. The temperate climate here in southern Spain, coupled with the community living and our respect for nature, provides a sanctuary of sorts for people to live fully and enjoy their time.
Sotogrande is not boastful and indulgent. In a way, it is old fashioned in the kind of lifestyle it offers, i.e. it provides a deeper meaning to life for our residents. What we have here might not be considered truly unrivalled, but we are pioneers in creating the place to enjoy the most important things in life. Zoning allows us not to be a tourist destination, and while the idea of being fenced off is far from the truth here, Sotogrande is a safe and secure place for residents and their families to live.
Part of the authenticity of Sotogrande is that you can eat very well for 10 euros or less.
This is what allows us to stand out as a residential destination and not a tourist hotspot. We find this brings the right people who are looking for a deeper meaning and not instant gratification. The positive lifestyle attracts our residents, and for those interested in the area, it provides something to aspire to.
LM: Looking at your property portfolio, please give us a brief outline of what’s currently on offer.
MT: What’s on offer to our residents is the sense of privacy and security within a culture of belonging to a community. Our properties are founded with the philosophy of being integrated with nature and having truly innovative forms of architecture. Through property ownership, we offer a sense of neighbourhood, which is often lacking in our day-to-day lives.
Growing up in an apartment building in Paris and integrating with others was so alien to our culture, and I didn’t learn this feeling of community spirit until I spent a summer with my great aunt and uncle in America. As a young boy speaking no English, I would ride my bike and meet kids to play with whom I would become life-long friends—living together in this environment of trust and community instilled in me the belief that this was key to truly belonging.
This is the vision for our gated communities, to create a society where you know your neighbour, whether you live in the largest area, comprising 41 units, or the smallest with just six dwellings.
We offer homes, ranging from around nine million euros in price to being able to design your own home from one million euros. However, La Reserva Club is not just for the wealthy, as we offer properties to fit a range of budgets starting from 500,000 euros, which are of the same core standards, and offer the same lifestyle.
Our Village Verde community is a collection of apartments, penthouses and townhouses in a tranquil parkland setting at the heart of Sotogrande. We don’t cut corners with these smaller properties and apply the same focus to the details as our top-tier single-family homes.
LM: In terms of percentage, how many of the properties are residential, and how many are rented out? Do you have criteria as to which ones can be rented and who can live in them?
MT: The vast majority of our properties are sold for individuals and families to live. This is because the lifestyle is what draws people to Sotogrande. We want to encourage these sorts of people as they add something to the community, and developing these ties and connections is an important part of our society. I would estimate that the number is about 90%, and people buying to let is much less common.
However, the individuals interested in our properties do often enquire about the capacity to rent, and we have a complete rental management department that oversees this. This is very much a secondary avenue, as our primary focus is geared towards those seeking the most important things in life.
LM: Talking about your clientele, who is attracted to Sotogrande?
MT: First and foremost, families are drawn to Sotogrande. Families with young children, grown-up children or grandchildren – it is any make up of families pursuing a lifestyle dedicated to fulfilling their fundamental needs. We offer a very specific experience, allowing our residents to relax and reconnect with what is important to them.
For some people, when they come here, it is about doing the opposite of what they do for the rest of the year. It is a rare retreat away from the mundane with a focus on living well and being content within your surroundings. This region is commonly called “a playground for millionaires”. However, this is an abode without the bling.
We have no luxury car dealership, or Michelin starred restaurants. We are the countryside of Marbella, far removed from that pace of life, and there are very few places that can rival what we offer year-round. Many similarly viewed spots are closed for periods of the year, but we are open and here for our residents with access to the same simple pleasures. Aspirational professionals or families that have the capacity and want to enjoy the fundamentals of their lives will be drawn to what Sotogrande promises.