Crossing the security barrier that protects La Zagaleta from the rest of the world is the closest thing to entering a parallel reality. A trip to a planet where everything is easier and life is synonymous with luxury.
In this mountainous 900-hectare plot where deer roam, the weather moves slowly, unhurriedly, accompanied by a climate that is around 20 degrees even in December. Located in Benahavís(Málaga, 8,085 inhabitants), has a helipad, two golf courses and houses with garages for a dozen cars.
The gym, indoor pool and home automation are taken for granted in each home, as is the 24-hour service staff. Also the views of three countries: Spain at your feet, Gibraltar silhouetted on the horizon and the mountains of Morocco merging with the Mediterranean. A regular retreat for wealthy retirees, young people have now set their sights on this complex as well.
The millennial generation is now the main interested in acquiring one of their houses hidden in nature with Marbella ten minutes away. Only in 2020 there have been a fortnight of sales and interest “has skyrocketed,” says Jacobo Cestino, general manager of La Zagaleta.
Considered the most exclusive urbanization in Europe, this green corner is on its way to completing three decades of life.
The estate, originally owned by billionaire and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi , allowed for the construction of 4,000 homes, but one of its founders, Enrique Pérez, decided that there would be a maximum of 400 homes.
In its enormous surface there are 258 scattered for now with a value that ranges between 2.5 and 32 million euros – only a third of the owners, of a score of nationalities, habitually reside – in addition to two others that are in full swing. building.
His impenetrable aura has made him the permanent object of hoaxes, such as those who say that Julio Iglesias, David Beckham or Vladimir Putin have a house there. The reality, according to those responsible, is that only Cristiano Ronaldo spent a night with his partner, Georgina Rodríguez, and one of his children in 2018 as part of a public relations operation.
Tenants hardly have a public profile: the place has traditionally been the object of desireof rich people looking for a retreat where the biggest problem is playing golf, going down to the clubhouse or taking a horse ride. “This is a paradise”, says the director of the equestrian club, Manuel de la Flor.
Now there is a young audience that is around 35 or 40 years old that has begun to notice the resort . They have a “Silicon Valley profile” , that is, many come from the technology sector, mobility for them is not a problem, as is not working from home or living permanently connected.
La Zagaleta has adapted to them and since last year it has been projecting houses that are somewhat smaller than those built in the beginning. The concept of small here is relative: the average is 800 square meters with a pool, gym and large open spaces.
“Now we build based on those needs of new buyers,” says Cestino, who explains that the price range is between four and eight million euros, like the two villas currently under construction and the three that will be built in 2021.
A pioneer of this new audience is David Hannemeir , a Danish programmer, writer and racing driver who arrived in La Zagaleta in 2012 in his early 30s. “It is the definitive urbanization for those who are not tied to a workplace,” he says.
“This used to refer to retirees, but in this remote world, that is completely changing,” he explains, while highlighting how the world has understood with the pandemic that meeting in person is optional.
“It is no longer necessary for someone to sit in an office in Berlin, they can work from home in La Zagaleta”, adds Jimmy Widén, founder of the real estate agency 3SA Estate, who has carried out several operations in this complex and highlights that the profile of The area’s new rich come from the technology and video game industry.
The managers of the urbanization have also begun to modify their marketing strategies to reach this new audience through social networks.
“They focus on aspects more related to comfort or ecology”, underlines the general director of La Zagaleta, where they have already designed a new children’s space surrounded by nature and develop projects to include the practice of water sports or natural activities as a complement to the two 18-hole golf courses, the tennis courts or the equestrian club that includes the urbanization. There is also a protocol for using social media without disturbing the neighborhood.
Buying in this complex requires overcoming some formalities. The development team requests bank certificates, investigates to ensure that the funds to pay for the houses come from legal activities or are interested in knowing the “honorability of the interested parties,” according to Sergio Azcona, its communication director.
It has not been a problem for the fifteen operations carried out in 2020, many preceded by a kind of trial period. The health crisis has led to rent for long stays – the average price is around 20,000 euros per month – and several of these tenants have taken the step of acquiring their own home, beginning a general change.
“This year we have doubled the number of people interested in buying here compared to previous years”, adds Cestino, who believes that confinement has opened the eyes of many people who can acquire large buildings with plenty of space around to enjoy the outdoors.
The low density, the services offered by the urbanization – an army of workers keeps everything in a state of review – or the security are some of its strengths. Committing a robbery is mission impossible: there are infrared cameras, extensive security equipment, movements are monitored and at the entrance you are greeted by an armed guard and aGoPro camera on the chest.
With the foundations of the future set in the millennial , the space does not forget the great classic fortunes and its roots of exclusivity with villas such as Ibiza Breeze , on a plot of 8,600 square meters and a value of 14.5 million.
Only the dressing room in the master bedroom is 40 square meters, and from there, everything is proportional in size. The ground floor, with 600 square meters, is an architectural postcard with huge windows that illuminate the rooms with the perennial light of the Costa del Sol.
The kitchen, designed by Zaha Hadid , has a living room and a huge dining room, as well as second complementary dependencies. Nine rooms, Turkish bath, sauna, heated pool with chill out area, two apartments for the service and more than 600 meters of terraces complete a house that Aedas Homes built and markets.
The infinity pool calls for the bathroom even though it’s the middle of December – 21 degrees is the ultimate push for a millennial … or anyone else with a lot of zeros on their account.