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After a decade of political scandal, planning abuse and negative media coverage, it looks like Marbella is getting its mojo back.The place is packed with tourists, with visitors from the Middle East particularly prevalent at the moment. Various parties seem interested in investing in projects such as the extension of the local marinas, but perhaps the biggest lift it has received was the news this week that Michelle Obama (the First Lady, no less) is due to come to Marbella on holiday for 4 days next week. Of course, rumours are rife that the President himself will be coming to join his wife during her stay. The hotel where Obama will be staying, the opulent Villa Padierna, has been preparing for her arrival for weeks, and the hotel has been scrutinized several time already by Secret Service staff.
The other highly notable name here in Marbella at the moment is the Saudi Prince, Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, brother of the late King Fahd (and you thought I was going to say Peter Andre, didn´t you?!!). With an entourage of over 100, the compound of lavish palaces on Marbella´s Golden Mile, together with suites at several of the neighbouring 5 star hotels, is being used as their base. The Saudi Royal Family have been holidaying in Marbella for 30 years, and their yacht, Shaf, is moored year-round in Puerto Banus, a 3 minute drive away.
Lots of police, lots of chauffeur-driven Mercs, lots of lavish parties, lots of Arab princes out partying– I am sure you can picture the scene.