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History of Sotogrande

The creation of the Sotogrande resort in San Roque occurred as a result of a series of random circumstances in 1962. A marketing director of the Swissair airline company decided to give away free plane tickets to a few loyal customers. Among those lucky directors was Fredy Melian, an employee of the Ayala Corporation in Manila, Philippines, who decided to take advantage of the occasion to get to know Spain, the country of his ancestors.

By chance, the night before his departure, his boss at the company, Joseph McMicking, called him to entrust him with a mission: to find some land somewhere in the Mediterranean for the construction of an elite development. Fredy’s holidays were over, but on the other hand, a small step was taken towards the creation of the world-renowned exclusive development and that in the not too distant future he would be the first director of the company.

They were looking for a large country estate with at least a kilometre of coastline, as well as abundant water reserves, and good accessibility. The first option found was to purchase the island of Formentera (in the Balearics), almost entirely! However, Fredy Melian dedicated himself to travelling along the entire Spanish Mediterranean coast on a motorbike and gathered the proposals in this suitcase that he would take back to the Philippines.

After carefully studying all the options, Joseph McMicking and his nephews Jaime and Enrique Zobel decided to buy the Paniagua estate, located in the municipality of San Roque, very close to the Rock of Gibraltar. The location had sufficient water from the nearby River Guadiaro, as well as a nearby airport in the British colony and the option of acquiring
adjacent estates such as Sotogrande, Conchudo or Valderrama.

The authorities did not hinder McMicking in developing Sotogrande, at a time when foreigners were still not allowed to buy land without the approval of the military. In addition, the location of the resort in a sensitive place militarily speaking due to its proximity to the Rock and Morocco, would have indicated another attitude, but fortunately it was not the case.

Back in 1964, McMicking hired the best golf architect in the world, Robert Trent Jones, and put the entire estate at his disposal to choose the perfect location for the first golf course, and then project the construction of the surrounding development.

The first road opened in the resort would become what is now Paseo del Parque, the most emblematic avenue in Sotogrande. This access facilitated the construction of the first bungalows adjacent to the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.

McMicking was a visionary, he opted to bury piping and power lines and the streets of the gated community were designed following the specifications of the construction of American highways.

Quality was, without a doubt, the general trend and in the field of gastronomy it is not for less with exceptional restaurants of both creative and international cuisine as well as traditional Andalusian recipes.

Sotogrande today

Currently, the Sotogrande resort is undoubtedly the star tourism product of San Roque, especially for sports and residential tourism. Not in vain it is called the European Golf Capital and Polo Borough par Excellence.

The area of this luxurious resort located in San Roque has 9 golf courses, among which Real Valderrama stands out (the number one in Continental Europe and venue for the Ryder Cup ’97 and Andalucía Masters). In addition to Valderrama, the resort has 3 other golf courses: Real Club de Golf Sotogrande, La Reserva Club Sotogrande and Almenara Golf Sotogrande.

In addition to golf, the residential area has 10 polo fields and three polo clubs: Ayala Polo Club, Iridike Polo Club and Santa María Polo Club. Specifically, Ayala Polo Club boasts of being one of the three most important polo clubs in Europe. Ayala Polo Club is the only one in the world that organises two qualifying tournaments for the international circuit: the Silver and Gold Cups of the International Polo Tournament in summer.

The resort also has The Beach at La Reserva Club Sotogrande, the first artificial beach with a lagoon for non-motorised water sports in Spain. Added to this are the beach clubs along the coast of Trocadero Sotogrande and El Octógono.

On the other hand, three of the best hotels in San Roque are located in the resort, the SO/ Sotogrande Hotel *****; the Encinar de Sotogrande Hotel **** and the MiM Sotogrande Hotel ****, located in the heart of Puerto Sotogrande.

Lastly, it should be noted that Puerto Sotogrande is the largest marina in Andalusia with 1,382 moorings. Quiet, stunning and exclusive, Puerto Sotogrande is packed with luxury waterfront apartments and artificial islands.

Other sports can be enjoyed such as padel, tennis and horse riding, due to the fact there are excellent facilities for these sports.

Without a doubt, Sotogrande is a model for tourism both on a national and international level as a sustainable quality destination, away from the hustle and bustle. Where royal families from all over the world and national and international celebrities spend their summer holidays.

Turismo San Roque