Fit for a King
The late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia had a fully-staffed compound, complete with private clinic and mosque, in Marbella, where he spent most summers. His house, Mar-Mar Palace, built in the 1980s, was modelled on the White House. On his visits, the famously profligate ruler brought an entourage of 3,000 people, rented 300 hotel rooms and 500 cars; his one-month stays would inject an estimated 40-80 million euros (he once left a 235,000 euro tip) into the local economy. Fahd said that he liked Marbella because it was "was a land blessed by Allah". Marbella held three days of mourning for its own "King Midas" when he died in 2005; a public garden and a street are named after him. Fahd's half-brother and heir, King Abdullah, hasn't chosen to continue his predecessor's extravagant lifestyle, although he stills visits. A party including one of Fahd's four widows and 14 princesses stayed at Mar-Mar for a month in 2006, spending a measly 12 million euros, while another brother, Prince Salman, has his own palace, Al Riyad, nearby.
For aerial photos of the compound http://www.sawsana.es/english/content/article/890/
- Fact 1 - Marbella is heaven for foodies, with plenty of Michelin stars shining on its eating establishments.
- Fact 2 - Who used to spend 80 million euros on his summer holidays in Marbella with 3,000 close personal friends? Why, the late king of Saudi Arabia, of course.
- Fact 3 - A mild climate is one of Marbella's main attractions.
- Fact 4 - The life of colourful entrepreneur Jesus Gil y Gil seems too far-fetched to have been real.
- Fact 5 - How a German prince started Marbella's new life as a jetset resort