Another season spelt another ride on the white isle train this past summer, through a journey of high octane experiences.
Our latest trip rode through Ibiza’s closing weekend events and the end of an era for the island’s legendary club, Space. With this holy place of hedonism closing its doors, we headed off for some pleasure over the long weekend, on land and at sea.
The closing of Space came at a time when the island is crossing in to new territory, in terms of musical direction, crowd and experience. Yes there are still partiers who start dancing on the beaches, through to the evening DJ bars, on to the clubs, and back to the beaches. With the island’s councils tightening up on music licenses however, for example day club Bora Bora’s outdoor dancefloor may be lost in 2017, things had definitely been turned down a notch as season 16 closed out.
But ‘less’ is not necessarily a bad thing. The emergence of EDM several years back in US hotspots Miami and Vegas put the original dance isle of Ibiza on the map to new revellers from the US, Asia and beyond. My friends and I certainly chatted to a mix of nationalities at the Ushuaia Ibiza Closing Party, where South African DJ Black Coffee’s set in particular drew fans over from America, Canada and China to watch him play.
And with that a new wave of money washed ashore, giving rise to a luxury revolution, which has been well under way for a few years now. New lavish dining experiences in Ibiza, such as Lio, Heart and Sublimotion now attract a more sophisticated set, where less is most certainly more, in terms of hours spent ‘out’.
White Isle downtime has also been upgraded. Once just a few hours’ recovery on a sun lounger with a Sol, it’s now detox drips, holistic practitioners and yogis, to help recalibrate, and ease away any guilt of hard partying.
So with so many ways to now spend your days in Ibiza, a little planning goes a long way. Here are our top tips therefore on the best experiences for a seamless Ibiza sojourn next season…
Choose a base
Chic Ibiza Villas is hands-down the only place to book your villa. The firm boasts an unrivalled selection of all the island’s best party pads, fabulous fincas and luxury temples, to help set the scene for your stay. We stayed in Villa Panorama, a sprawling traditional finca on the outskirts of Puig d’en Valls – an area perfectly located for the hub of Ibiza town and exploring further afield. The villa has wow factor, with a double-height atrium, six bedrooms, two indoor well-connected Chic Ibiza team (and one outdoor BBQ area), wine cellar and panoramic views across the island. With electric gates, the property is perfect for those pursuing privacy.
While on the island we also got invited to Villa Bee Gee – itself once owned by the isle of Mann trio. Uber-modern, its current interior has stepped out of a high end fashion shoot, with Philippe stark chairs, modern art on the walls, tom Dixon lamps and of course, a sonos sound system with Buddha Bars loaded up for our musical pleasure.
Chic Ibiza Villas also offers a concierge service which we used, run by the well-connected team. They can organise car-hire, chauffeurs, yacht hire, VIP restaurant tables, caterers, massage & beauty therapists, golf, child-minding, scuba diving and more for guests.
Choose a day party
So you are all checked in at chosen villa with Chic, it’s lunchtime day one, what to do? Drink cocktails of course with the island’s uber elite of course.
A relative newby on the scene that’s certainly worth an afternoon visit is Hard Rock’s Beach Club. With a DJ playing mellow house, we dined looking out to sea and the coolest white day beds. Waiter service applies if you take a bed, so after our sumptuous lunch of steak and fresh fruits, we decamped to the sand to wind down the day. We even attempted cartwheels and handstands, with varying degrees of success, on the wide open beach of Playa d’En Bossa.
Around the corner, the uber-glam Hotel Es Vive has recently refurbished its rooftop terrace, together with luxe prosecco brand Ombra di Pantera – definitely do drop in next season for people watching and top tunes.
And tried and tested, and a firm favourite for a reason, Blue Marlin Ibiza will always be a top spot for day drinking. A mix of moneyed honeys, city boys out to play and yummy mummies escaping for a few precious hours, Blue Marlin attracts an affluent assembly. Our recommendation is to bed down on a VIP table between the restaurant and beach for a few rounds of late afternoon sharpeners and some people watching. The music is ambient at this stage and it will pick up, as you prepare for the next rite on your passage – sunset around Es Vedra.
When at sea
A boat trip in Ibiza is a must. And imperative to book early, as the best yachts get snapped up ahead of time. The best firm on the island is Boats Ibiza. The team knows the island inside out and offer the best boats at the best price. We hired a Rinker Sports 26ft and sipped cava to ambient tunes, as the sun set on still waters. It being late in the season, we even spotted a dolphin or two in the distance.
Wining and dining
Ibiza’s dining scene has much to offer at every level. The upbeat Café Mambo in San Antonio is best for casual lunches and sunset dinners. We enjoyed the tiger prawns in Thai coconut sauce and the laid back vibe.
Another excellent lunch or early dinner spot is El Chiringuito at Cala Gracioneta (Carrer a Grasio, 5, 07820 Sant Antoni de Portmany), also owned by the group. Although a little off the beaten track, this venue is definitely worth a trip. The restaurant sits in a secluded cove with a sandy beach and still water – perfect for a dip post meal to cool off. We ordered the lobster paella and were amazed by the quality of the dish – the tuna steak was also beautifully flavoured and presented.
For a more glamorous affair, heels and designer dresses are order of the day for STK (Carrer s’Illa Plana s/n, 07800). This sexy nightspot served us divine wagu steak, truffled chips and a candyfloss tower construction for puds. Luckily there was a DJ at hand for us to dance off all those calories, before we headed in to the DJ booth at Pacha.
If you really want to feel spoilt however, book your own private chefs to arrive at your villa. Miles and Markito from Dalilicious will spoil you rotten. Book well in advance as this gorgeous twosome are a well-known island secret who get booked up earlier and earlier each season. We enjoyed a full spread of art-inspired BBQ dishes, all flavoured to perfection, washed down with pimms and champagne. Dalicious.
The jet set can be found winding down in the waterfall pools or ‘Cascadas Suspendidas’ of the Na Xamena Hotel Hacienda in the north of the island. Although we didn’t get to visit, we dreamt of attending these mythical pools next season, which look down to a breath-taking sea views.
Perhaps the best money spent on-island however for holistic highs is booking Yogayda to come to your own villa for a personal yoga session. Having spent years in India with the highest tantric yoga practitioners, Ayda brings a gentle encouragement to your practise, peppered with plenty of helpful tips to practise mindfulness in life. After two hours of peaceful outdoor yoga, our group finished in a Shavasana line holding hands. Peace and Love.
Villa Panorama starts from €5995 a week to hire in 2017 with Chic Ibiza. Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates flights to Ibiza from Birmingham, London Gatwick and Manchester airports during the summer season with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£100 return). For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit www.monarch.co.uk. The quickest way to Gatwick Airport is from London Victoria Station on the Gatwick Express. We also relaxed in the No1 Lounge at Gatwick, for the best pre-flight experience.