When people ask where I go on holiday and my reply is, “Ibiza”, (twice a year for the last 15 years!) I’m met with quizzical and cynical looks.
But why? What springs to mind, I wonder. Clubs, young people, noise? For sure.
But that isn’t the real Ibiza. Think exclusive hotels, fabulous restaurants, relaxing spas and peaceful beaches.
It’s the perfect place for taking time out, whether with a partner, friend or solo- it’s an oft-used cliché but this perfect little Mediterranean island really does have something for everyone.
Sun, sea, spas and bars
The White Isle, as it is lovingly referred to by its loyal fans, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is home to some of the most sublime restaurants and beach bars you could hope to find anywhere.
Beaches and Bars
Whether you head to the chic South of the island where you’ll find the fashionably clad hanging out at the likes of Las Salinas and Cala Jondal (home to the super-cool Blue Marlin Beach Bar, go West to the sparkling sands of Cala Bassa and San Antonio Bay, saunter East to my personal favourite spots of Santa Eulalia and Cala Llonga (don’t miss Babylon Beach Bar for long hazy days and cocktails to match!) or take the trip North where it really is the place to relax on the beaches of Portinatx, San Migeul and Benirras, Ibiza is easy to get around and can please even the most discerning of travellers.
Spas and well-being
Relaxation is what Ibiza is famed for- whether on business (yes, some people are! Locals will tell you how the Spanish recession completely passed them by, such is the wealth on the island) or on holiday. Ibiza has some magnificent spas to sample if you want to take cover from the Mediterranean heat.
In Santa Eulalia, one of the resort’s newest openings is Aguas de Ibiza This is a five star resort with rooftop bar, exquisite food and a ‘revival spa’ to rival some of the best in the world. There’s fitness, skin care clinics and a host of treatments to leave you feeling suitable ready to take to that rooftop and enjoy a cocktail or two.
Head out of Santa Eulalia, off the beaten track a little, and you’ll arrive at Atzaro a blissful oasis in the heart of the Ibizan countryside. This now world-famous spa offers some of the best therapists on the island, trained in both oriental and western techniques and offering everything from facials and massages to Balinese treatments to soothe and enhance your overall well-being.
Wander a little further north and you’ll come to not just a luxurious spa but also a hotel and restaurant that gives five star a new meaning. Spa La Posidonia at Hacienda Na Xamena offers panoramic views across the Med from its cliff-hung pool. It’s even had its own ‘Cascadas’ developed just for the hotel- eight pools of heated and filtered seawater with tiny water jets to massage your whole body. You can even take to the spa area while watching the famous Ibiza sunset- sheer, luxurious perfection.
Fancy something a little more challenging, lasting for more than just the day? Then Ibiza Retreats is ideal. And if it’s good enough for supermodels, it’s good enough for us too! Lots of well-known faces take part in their bootcamps, health breaks and more- whether they’ve been working or playing a bit too hard.
The night-and day- life…
You’ve pampered and perhaps preened so now it’s time to get down to some serious fun.
Everybody knows about the infamous nightclubs- Pacha’s a must, it’s an institution. Two pieces of advice though- Flower Power is the best night (http://www.pacha.com/flower-power/) and never ever miss the Funky Room- it’s hidden away and only small but does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin!
But steering away from the nightclub world, Ibiza is also famous for its cuisine, its restaurants and its beach clubs.
The (literal) foodie ‘hot spot’ is recognised as Santa Eulalia- the second biggest town on the island. It even has a famous ‘Restaurant Street’- Cala San Vincente to those in the know- where tapas, paella, seafood, local meats and more fuse and the infectious atmosphere makes it hard to leave.
Just up the road from Santa Eulalia, weave through the twisty roads past Cala Llonga and you’ll arrive at my (current!) favourite Ibiza restaurant/bar/beach club.
Amante on Sol De’en Serra beach is the place to yoga in the early morning sun, recline by day in its cove, lunch in the sun and then enjoy dinner under the stars. All accompanied by great DJs (not the banging stuff, the more relaxing vibe is what you’ll find here!), lively staff and a menu featuring delights such as monkfish, clams and king prawns in seafood broth, Spanish rice with char-grilled lobster and, of course, the imperative Iberico cured ham. Desserts are too pretty to eat and the cocktails, well, they’ll keep you there all day/night!
Jetting around the island other famous culinary hang-outs include La Brasa in Ibiza Town for freshly barbecued meat and fish, family-run L’Olivia in the Old Town (the bonus is you’ll walk off the calories as you make your way up and down!), Bambuddha near Santa Eulalia for sushi and sashimi, Sa Capella in San Antonio which is huddled in an old church and fabulous for ambience, Tropicana Ibiza Beach Club in on Cala Jondal is renowned for its exclusive service and outstanding dishes and Sa Punta in Talamanca offers stunning seaviews across the Ibiza Town with a varied menu.
Of course there are so many more to mention- suffice to say, you won’t find it difficult to go up a dress size when you’re in Ibiza!
A fan of people-watching? Ibiza Town cannot be beaten! Croissant Show is a haven for the weird and wonderful from dawn til dusk and grab a seat at any of the bars in the Marina and you won’t be disappointed!
Culture- a shock?
Ibiza probably isn’t the type of place that you’d associate with culture, yet it’s laden with history, dating back over 3000 years, whether it’s within the walls of Dalt Villa in Eivissa, the inland villages or even some of the clubs that the island is famous worldwide for.
From the Carthaginians to the Catalans via the Romans and the Pirates, Ibiza is awash with a colourful history.
It was the traditional Ibiza hippies, though, that made the island famous and many remain, some the talk of the island, others living in blissful peace in-land away from the masses.
When visiting Ibiza, it’s easy to overlook the very many stunning historical sites but don’t miss Santa Eulalia’s church high up in the hillside and its Roman bridge (recently restored), Ibiza’s ‘Old Town’ looming high above the fashionable bars, busy streets and designer shops and institutions such as ‘Anita’s Bar’ in San Carlos, reputed to be the original home of the Ibiza hippie.
Island hopping and a bit of shopping
Ok, holidays are a time to relax and shopping and travel might not be top of the list. But if you (or maybe your other half!) do get itchy feet, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Ibiza.
If shopping is your, ahem, bag then you’re spoilt for choice. Ibiza Town is home to favourites such as Zara and Mango (pick up next season’s must-haves for a lot less than at home too!) as well as one-off boutiques, great homewares and unusual arts and crafts. Night time is when the shopping action really takes hold though- it may be the Hierbas and potent Spanish wines, but the markets throughout the town twinkle with all types of jewels, ring with music and fill the air with unusual aromas from candles, soaps- and more!
Artisan crafts pepper the island though so look out for one-off markets and traders on beaches and in in-land towns. Also worth a look are Punta Arabi Hippy Markey in Es Cana (every Wednesday, it brings out the tourist in you!) and Las Dalias- food, fashions and more, this is the lively, colourful one to sample every Saturday just 6 miles from Ibiza Town.
And what about island hopping to Formentera- Ibiza’s quieter little sister? You can catch a boat there from most main resorts and sample amazing seafood, often deserted coves and beaches and some very traditional Ibizan hospitality. Even better- hire a yacht!
So, that’s Ibiza albeit in a nutshell! From its famous sunrise to its infamous sunset, the White Isle has it all, not just hedonism and parties.
Having worked as a BBC radio journalist for over ten years, I took the leap and ventured into the frenetic world that is PR, setting up my own business eight years ago. And I’ve never looked back.
Working for the Beeb was great- as well as reading news bulletins, reporting on a variety of issues and presenting shows, I also got to work on high profile events like Children in Need, Comic Relief and Music Live- a lot of fun and a chance to get to know a whole host of diverse locations around the UK. A passion I’ve never lost.
My job now sees me working for everything from top 5* hotels, exclusive interiors’ companies and global telecommunications’ brands to schools, unis and manufacturing companies. Never a dull moment in PR! It also means I’m often here, there and everywhere- and I love it. Hopefully, I can share with you some of my tips for the best spots across the UK.