Summer In The New Ibiza
19th Sep 2008
Rampant over-development in the last twenty years across Spain has resulted in a host of infrastructure amenities that have eroded the natural vibe of Ibiza, but made it an easy place to visit and consume.
Arrivals at the well-designed, modern airport are a breeze, and its just a short ride into Ibiza town, which features a walled village perched above a busy marina. Traffic can sometimes be an issue and the pressure of high season tourism mean that taxis can be a pain, so its best to rent a car and use it as an escape mechanism to the beautiful, less visited parts of the island in the north and southwest. Try BK Rentals which offers the best rates and easy bookings through Do You Spain — a website that makes car rentals an unusual cinch. Should you be on one of the many flights that arrive at the ungodly but common hour of 3am, be sure to inform your rental car company of your flight times, or they won’t wait up for you and you end up taking that taxi anyway. Fortunately there are lots at the airport at that hour. If you need a private driver, try Antonio on +34 6 7006 7888.
where to stay
Avoid the western town of San Antonio at all costs (site of the world famous Cafe del Mar and Mambo Cafe) as it features the wrong type of crowd, scenery and accomodation. In Ibiza town on the east side of the island, the new Ibiza Gran offers easy access to many restaurants and clubs. They are a good option if you are just there to sample the nightlife and the Ibiza Gran has a great pool scene that becomes alive and flooded with beautiful people sometime after 3 in the afternoon. If the chaises-longues ‘in’ the pool are all taken, no worries, I’m sure someone will share! Es Vive, a European favourite, is more nightclub than hotel and a fun option for those who don't plan to sleep at night. Contrarily, up in the hills by Sant Llorenc is Ibiza's new star boutique luxury finca, Atzaro. It is described as Zensational with a beautiful pool, loungy daybeds with flowy white curtains set in fruit orchards way away from the madening crowd. Idyllic for snoozing after your delectable spa and massage and that late night. The restaurant is fantastic and when every evening is alive with music, an art vernissage or a fashion show, it's hard to beat as the 'it' place to stay.
For a more rustic and cultural experience, try getting out to a private villa in the surrounding hills, or head to the smaller boutique estates and cool converted ‘fincas’ in the north. Ibiza Moving Arts, near Sant Llorenc, offers a tranquil setting and lush gardens in a 400 year-old Ibizencan country house, with a yoga studio and regular classes, a pool and your own kitchen at very reasonable rates. A new property owned by Xavier (a well connected Uruguayan who also runs the cafe at S'Estanyol beach) in the cliff-laden north called Hotel Astante, near Ses Casetes features beautiful rock hewn rooms, chill out areas and hiking trails to private beaches on the estate's 14 hectares of land... heaven.
vamos a la playa!
Ibiza is largely known for its two best beaches, Sa Trinxa and Salinas. Both are packed all summer long, and a host of beach clubs and cafes offer full service menus, lounge chairs and activities for the intrepid onlooker. Sa Trinxa offers better people watching. On the west coast Cap la Bassa and Cala Salada at Punta Galera are great beaches, and the white sand at Cala Salada and Cala Conta are locally known as some of the best on the island.
In the north, Benirras offers a stunning view and acceptable sand in a cove surrounded by green lands protected from development — with the occasional drumming concert. Farther north, near Portinatx, are a series of small beaches with clear turquoise waters for fantastic snorkeling, umbrella pines and fun chiringuitas, the local beach bar cafés, to hang out in at lunch.
One of these includes Hub Culture Secret Beach, an idyllic isolated location with access as part of a suite of scheduled activities in Hub Culture's summer 2008-2009 residency project in Ibiza. Secret Beach and the Residency run from July through September’s closing parties with a number of local partners, exclusive and featured signature weekends, torch lit private dinners on the beach and exclusive access to VIP events around the island.
restaurants and the social scene
Hub Culture had teamed up with the Macao Café group to create a residency programme, which will include VIP access at a temporary beach pavilion for the season for Hub Culture members. Macao Café on The Rocks will operate the location, with Hub Culture running activities throughout the season that include yoga on the beach from Quantum Yoga, beach massage, boating, music from their Macao Café series featuring the best DJs of the island and special events. Being an island you can imagine all the fresh fish! For delicious sushi and a really cool tranquil-cum-tropical atmosphere go to B.For - its a perfect choice being a two minute walk from the Ibiza Gran and your later evening plans at Pacha.
Pacha, Space, Privilege and KM5 are four of Ibiza's biggest and best clubs. DJ King Pete Tong moved his famous Friday set from Pacha to Wonderland at Eden "to encourage bringing back the music" to the center of the Ibiza scene while DJ David Guetta's F*** Me, I’m Famous still rocks the house at Pacha on Thursdays. Rob Marmot, another top DJ who performs with Pete, will spin at the waterfront Blue Marlin Beach Club on Wednesdays (great party! – and have dinner there beforehand down by the water in the sand) as well as well as at Es Vive. Don't miss Sven Väth, the hot new thing on the scene. Tiësto’s new album ‘In Search of Sunrise’ this year rocked the scene and was heard playing at pools and out of car windows. He even did a promotion with Armani Exchange in London’s Regent Street this August so if you haven’t purchased this one yet, get to it! Avoid Espuma at Amnesia on Sundays unless you are with the fortunate on high in the VIP section across from the DJs where you can view the foam madness but don’t have to get soaked in it. It is quite a sight! Paul Van Dyke’s spinning is legendary.
At some point all that dancing requires fuel, and Ibiza has no shortages on the food scene. Beach goers like to eat at Tropicana Cafe and then bump down to the afore mentioned Blue Marlin for the social scene, and the Macao Café Group offers locations around the island but has recently featured their beach pavilion, Macao Café on The Rocks a funky place on Playa es Codolar a ways southwest of the airport. Order the ceviche, it’s some of the best on the island! Casa Colonial, El Ayoun and Bambuddha Grove are all good locations for a nice evening dinner. Near Sant Josep is the new Hotel du Nord run by the couple behind the famous lounge by the same name in Paris. Sexy french food is the name of the game here while you lounge on beds and watch the beautiful people stroll by to the bar. Beds for lounging only, contrary to what its namesake suggests.
Before you leave, its worth taking a little drive up north to Santa Juan de Labritja, a tiny village that has become quite the spot for sophisticated people watching. Here you can pop in on the lovely Gisela, a German native of Ibiza who has watched the scene evolve for over 30years. From running the door at famous clubs in the 1980s, she opened her own clothing label and gallery, which eventually turned into Gisela, a collection of beautiful Ibiza style clothes and designs. Favoured by everyone from Kate Moss to Jade Jagger to Calvin Klein, every custom piece is both revealing and a true work of art. If you're lucky, she might sit down with you for a cup of tea in her studio, and share a story or two about the old Ibiza and its bohemian roots. Although those days are gone in the busy, club-fuelled south, you might just have an inkling it still exists in the north, if only from the twinkle in her wise blue eyes.