I think it is very difficult to narrow this to specific areas/urbanisations because we are all looking for something different.
I think in general terms, the best area is the Benalmadena / Mijas / Fuengirola triangle. It still retains a Spanish influence and feel (on the whole) but has the infrastructure that we need to live our lives (roads / transport / communications etc) and work. It offers something for everyone and somewhere in that triangle will be a property that would suit each of us.
For those of us with kids, the area offer good standards of private and public education, good and modern health facilities and because of the tourist sector also offers some of the UK style facilities that the kids want (clubs, cinema, bowling etc).
It also contains a couple of good shopping centres.
Also some of the nicest beaches on the CDS are found in the area.
I know there are a few on this forum who will take a swipe and quote the paseo areas in Fuengirola and the British Bars etc but on the seaward side of the paseo are the chiringuitos, the Spanish bars and restaurants are in the main and back streets away from the tourists. The cost of living / eating out are probably 40-50% cheaper than areas like Marbella and more Spanish.
Most of all, the property costs are reasonable and the build quality generally high with the likes of Miramar having built a lot in the area over their 50 year history. There are few planning problems encountered.