Until last week, aged 34, I’d never been to Ibiza and truth be known until a few years ago I’d never been all that keen to. And then something changed – I don’t know where the burning desire came from (perhaps a post-children second wind that life can still be fun) but then 2015 came along and I get to go twice. And now that I’ve sampled this infamous island I’m kicking myself it took me so long.
Three days in Ibiza were quite enough for my inauguration and here’s a taster of what took place in case you have an Ibiza itch you too need to scratch and want pointing in the right direction, because if you’re heading somewhere this fun, you have got to get it right.
Where to stay
Villa, hotel? Hotel, villa? Ibiza offers a myriad of options when it comes to hotels and villas and leading the way for the latter is Chic Ibiza Villas. Run by a team that know the island better than most, their concierge service makes this company almost as much of an appeal as the villas themselves. Whether you’re a party of four or twenty; want a villa on its own or two side-by-side; are looking for somewhere in the thick of the action or somewhere more remote, Chic Ibiza Villas can cater for it. Plus their broad range means there’s something for every budget. And at around £1k a head (prices start at half that) based on a party of ten in one of their most premium properties (exceptionally comfortable beds and beautiful bed linen to Apple screens, designer furniture and the kind of outdoor space you dream about), versus a top hotel, it absolutely makes the best sense.
We were in Villa Skyfall (set in Salinas – a picturesque area of the island) and the Bond reference is no coincidence. The four-to-five bedroom villa was the epitome of contemporary luxury; polished concrete throughout, stunning oversized artworks and general style in abundance. The outside space with its chic white sunbeds, daybeds, sleek pool, terraces and expansive outdoor kitchen really has to be seen to be believed. And if you’re planning a big birthday, work trip or even a wedding then this could be the place where your dreams come true.
How to make it a holiday
From concierge to in-villa catering companies, Ibiza really does offer it all. Cue Dalilicious who thanks to said Chic Ibiza Villas concierge, well and truly spoilt us with a three-course dinner on our first night and a sublime poolside barbeque for lunch on our final day. And let me clarify barbeque in this context: langoustines and moules marinière followed by sea bream and seabass, honey and mustard pork, rack of lamb and endless Ottolenghi-esque salads. Dalilicous shop, cook, provide the wine and clear up so you can concentrate on enjoying your holiday and/or getting ready for a night out.
Navigating the club scene
Not for the faint hearted. There are a LOT of options and opinions when it comes to clubs in Ibiza. However, the shared opinion seems to be that DC 10 is stripped back and raw (literally just an empty hanger by the airport with a serious sound system) and that Amnesia is the pinnacle. The latter closes at 10am despite the 7am closing law because the 50,000 Euro fine they incur is a drop in the ocean versus the upside. We went for Pacha. I want to say it was civilised…and it kind of was thanks to VIP treatment (that concierge again) and a speedy entrance and exit past the queuing crowds (thick at 4am when we left two hours before it was due to close) but it was April and below our cushy table, the dance floor was busy by London standards but apparently Pacha-quiet. Not sure I will be going for round two in September unless I have won the Euro Millions required to justify a table (four figures in high season), but the night was pretty epic I won’t deny.
You name it, Chic Ibiza Villas can organise it. They pulled out all the stops with, and I don’t exaggerate, mixologist of the millennium, Felice (of Ibiza Cocktail Club) and his inimitable range of impeccably crafted cocktails. As someone who likes to think she knows a good Lychee Martini from the rest and appreciates the superior taste of an Amaretto Sour made with egg white, even I had my socks knocked off. There actually aren’t words to sum up how talented Felice is (he is the man that makes the man that doesn’t like fruity cocktails ask for another), but if there’s one thing I’d advise you to blow the budget on, it’s him.
Beach clubs are to Ibiza what fast food joints are to the States. The Blue Marlin may well be top of your list due to notoriety and the islanders themselves wouldn’t put you off the idea if you’re after a rosé-filled party lunch in the sun, but there are myriad others not to be overlooked. Namely Nassau Beach Club. If you don’t know it from Ibiza you might know it from Mallorca but safe to say this was some of the tastiest, freshest (that’s you King Crab Salad) food we had encountered. From said salad and tuna tartar to lobster rice and truffle pasta, the menu, with its Mediterranean meets Asian approach, after a night in Pacha, hit the mark like you wouldn’t believe. The chilled out spot was, even so early in the season, pulling in a good looking crowd and it‘s easy to see why it’s the place to be in summer.
The dining scene
The dining scene on Ibiza is not to be overshadowed by all those beach clubs. We spent a super cool evening at off-the-beaten-track go-to destination, Bambuddha. Owned by an Ibiza legend, John Moon (rumour has it he partied with Jagger back in the day), a night at Bambuddha is one of the classic Ibiza experiences. Decadent dining (an Asian menu serving up everything from spicy beef salad to black cod), under a canopy of bamboo amongst ancient tantric(!) artefacts. And there’s a night club too (this is Ibiza) to ensure you leave in the island-appropriate state.
Finally, a bit of wellness. Health in Ibiza might sound like an oxymoron but like everywhere, demand is on the up. This island, that has more than a touch of the hippy about it, is home to countless yoga teachers and retreats. We undid a little of the excess with a group session on the terrace of the villa on our last morning but if you’re really keen for some wellness then Chic Ibiza Villas can arrange for them to be there daily. Apparently those that truly know how to play Ibiza do a week on the island followed by a week’s retreat on the quiet, but increasingly popular, Formentera.
Perhaps that is what I should have done...it probably only sounds half as exhausting as it was but boy did we have fun. I’m counting, not to mention saving - this place is a lot of things but cheap it ain’t, down the days until September arrives already.