Welcome Obama -- Marbella prepares for first lady's visit
MICHELLE OBAMA and her daughter Sasha, nine, will be greeted in Spain today by a billboard reading: "Welcome Obama family -- Thank you for choosing Marbella".
Mrs Obama is due to pass the sign with her youngest daughter on their way to the Villa Padierna, a five-star golf and spa resort in the hills above Marbella.
The Obamas have booked 30 rooms at the hotel for friends and their secret service agents. Prices range from €250 a night to €3,600 a night for a private villa, which has played host to Prince Faisal, son of the King of Saudi Arabia.
Mrs Obama (46) has accepted an invitation to dine with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in Majorca during her four-day trip. President Obama will remain in the US, meaning he will have none of his immediate family with him to celebrate his 49th birthday today. The couple's oldest daughter Malia (12) is away at summer camp.
Tourism officials are likely to be celebrating the fact that the Obamas have chosen Marbella, which has been associated with criminal gangs and corrupt politicians.
It has been estimated that their trip will generate e800m for Spanish tourism. (© Daily Telegraph, London)