Ibiza's SMARTEST stays, TOP tables, MOST BEAUTIFUL beaches, CHICEST shopping & WILDEST nights!
From high-end hideaways to bohemian beach bars, the magic of Ibiza runs deep. This year sees the regeneration of a clutch of iconic classics, along with a smattering of hip new openings tipped to shake up the already scorching scene.
THE SMARTEST STAYS
From white-clad country estates to bijou design gems and gleaming waterfront landmarks, Ibiza’s hotels are as unique as they are plentiful.
Tucked away in Portinatx’s itty-bitty harbour, this sultry, tropical hotspot – think rattan furniture, banana plants and quirky Seventies finds – is the hippest new all-day hangout. Jewel-hued rooms with canopy beds are on the small side, but neat seaview balconies do the trick. Below, on the sprawling quayside terrace, a clued-up crowd converge for cocktails at sunset before tucking into freshly-caught squid beneath swaying bamboo lamps. Fallen in love with the décor? Not to worry, it’s all for sale in the hotel’s bazaar-style shop. losenamoradosibiza.com, doubles from €225
With grey-on-grey walls, distressed wooden tables and artfully placed baskets of oranges, new ‘members’ retreat’ La Granja is a master class in studied cool. Bedrooms are dimly lit and monastically simple, with stone floors, rough wooden stools and dove-grey beds swathed in worn linens. Bamboo sun loungers line a deep blue pool and a serious, arty crowd (no kids) drift from newspapers on the terrace to group meditation to organic, home-grown lunch: La Granja translates as ‘The Farm’. lagranjaibiza.com, doubles from €350
Exuding a vibe so at one with its surroundings, Es Cucons might have grown from the red earth itself. Dreamy guest rooms dressed in pale fabrics trail away from a vast stone-arched lobby; the rustic restaurant (a favourite with locals) is sun-soaked by day and candlelit by night, and billowing white daybeds pepper the flower-filled grounds. Order a G&T from the blue-hued outdoor bar and soak up poolside views across the rural, almond-clad valley of Santa Agnes. Bliss. escucons.com, doubles from €150
The spa at this rambling country estate is extraordinary, with deeply intuitive therapists and a Moroccan-tiled hammam and sauna. Relax afterwards on one of the canopied day beds by the lap pool, or retreat to the Veranda restaurant (one of four spots to eat) for superfood salads and juice. If you can tear yourself away from the hotel’s buzzing evening scene, you’ll find traditional whitewashed rooms with pillowy beds and a mix of antique and Balinese furniture. atzaro.com, doubles from €160
Ibiza’s original nod to global 5-star luxury, this handsome, marble-clad hotel offers ultra-slick suites, a hip lobby bar, and an enviable location on Marina Ibiza. There is a casino and a spa, but dining is the hero here, with three outstanding offerings: La Gaia, the hotel’s white-on-white Nikkei spot; Cipriani Downtown, the legendary Italian restaurant and cocktail bar; and Heart, a thrilling performance/dining space from Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberté and Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, of elBulli fame. ibizagranhotel.com, doubles from €265
With its rich textures, pebble floors, and statement design pieces, this splendid fivesuite hideaway in the northern village of San Juan is one of Ibiza’s best-kept secrets. A book-strewn lounge and communal eating space give the air of a sumptuous private home, while a small-yet-stylish pool and fabulous subterranean spa drop you firmly back in smart hotel territory. From the hotel’s interior courtyard, take the hidden alleyway through to the heart of the village where the Giri Café cooks up Mediterranean tacos with marinated monkfish, lime alioli and chervil fresh from the garden. thegiri.com, suites from €295
GRAN MONTESOL IBIZA HILTON GROUP CURIO COLLECTION
Ibiza’s first hotel and a social hub for almost a century, the landmark Montesol reopened last year following an overhaul by Spanish design star Lázaro Rosa- Violán. Behind the iconic yellow-and– white façade the showpiece is a dazzling lobby bar and restaurant. The blue and gold space has glossy mid-century decor and a Phoenician-style mosaic – a nod to Ibiza’s earliest settlers. Rooms (many with private balconies) are airy, with liner-style accents – porthole mirrors, navy throws, monogrammed pillows – in keeping with the hotel’s enviable port side location. granhotelmontesolibiza.com, doubles from €132
A reformed country house with a serious design flair, Xereca eschews Ibiza’s traditional look in favour of architect owner Jordi Carreno’s contemporary vision. Seven rooms and two suites (all in converted farm buildings) incorporate B&B Italia sofas, super king-sized beds and freestanding pod baths or waterfall showers. The elevated, slate-grey swimming pool features a shower-for-two hidden inside a converted windmill and there’s an onsite yoga pavilion (Carreño’s wife, Awa, is a master instructor). In a peaceful orange grove, just moments from Ibiza Town, Xereca is a classic in the making. hotelxereca.com, doubles from €190
CA NA XICA
This gracious country retreat exudes a relaxed and elegant vibe. The main house, with its billowing white-clad windows, houses a clutch of smart, traditional double rooms. Fourteen sunny suites are scattered among the olive groves, with contemporary pebble-toned décor and countryside views. The spa uses local ingredients – try the green almond and Ibiza salt body scrub – and there’s a show-stopping poplar-lined swimming pool. As dusk falls, stroll into cosmopolitan Santa Gertrudis, whose charming church square is crammed with pretty shops and restaurants – try Macao Café or Bistro La Plaza. canaxica.com, doubles from €250
This searing white, ultra-modern resort clings like a clam to the cliffs of Cap Martinet, with panoramic views across Talamanca Bay. The vibe here is glossy and adults-only, and days are spent lazing by the cherry-shaped pool (the iconic logo of the hotel’s owners, Pacha), or dipping into the wellness centre for a CACI corrective facial. After dinner, hit up the resort’s private club, Tox, or head down the road to Pacha (on the house, of course). If morning comes too soon, blast the cobwebs away in the hot yoga studio – one of only two on the island. destinoibiza.com, doubles from €184.50
The lavender-scented driveway means you’ll be sleepy before you even set foot in Cas Gasi, an ancient finca whose floral sofas and ethnic ornaments give the relaxed feel of a family home. The book-strewn lobby is deeply inviting, with a tantalising peep through to the herb gardens and pool beyond. The vibe here is peaceful, and guests drift happily between the yoga terrace, the organic restaurant and the comfortable, terracotta-tiled guestrooms. Smaller doubles have sunny balconies but the Deluxe Suite, with its striped armchairs and North African accents, is the ultimate home-from-home. Can’t bear to leave? Former guests are invited to join an “invisible members’ club”. casgasi.com, doubles from €270
TORRE DEL CANONIGO
Dalt Vila is the best-preserved citadel in the Mediterranean, a walled fortress whose peak is home to the deeply romantic Torre del Canonigo. The 14th-century edifice is a place of monastic elegance, with stone pillars and flickering candles. Climb the stairs and sun-drenched views of the searing blue harbour pour in from every angle. Bright white rooms have private terraces and one an outdoor Jacuzzi. The sleek, oliveframed pool area has a top notch cocktail bar where well-travelled (and well-heeled) guests mingle before supper at Kyuppido, the hotel’s upmarket sushi restaurant. latorredelcanonigo.com, doubles from €210
THE TOP TABLES
A blow-out dinner in Marina Botafoch or a flower-scented supper beneath the almond trees? Ibiza has it all.
From the team behind Blue Marlin, Coricancha is an exotic little bird perched on the edge of the mysterious Las Salinas salt flats. Come early for the otherworldly sunsets, then dive into umami-packed Nikkei (that’s Peruvian/Japanese) dishes like Chilean sea bass and jungle paste wrapped in banana leaves with white melon, Chinese zucchini and roasted coconut consommé. The super-cool Moonlight Garden is a hit with DJs from the nearby nightclub, DC-10. coricanchaibiza.com
Set in an ancient finca with the prettiest circular courtyard, Nagai is arguably Ibiza’s best sushi restaurant. Co-owner Melchior is a gracious host and his team – many of them Japanese – are particularly knowledgeable. Try signature rolls like crispy avocado and baby corn, or order the Mexican-inspired salmon carpaccio with chilli, coriander and pomegranate sauce. There’s a serious sake menu at the groovy open-air bar, and the rural location makes it ultra-special. nagairestaurant.com
The grand slam of top-tier dining, waterside Lío is the hottest ticket in the Med Combining jaw-dropping live cabaret with fine dining and Pacha resident DJs, it’s an explosive mix that can book up a year in advance. One side is entirely open to the elements, meaning a backdrop of bobbing yachts, glittering water and an illuminated Dalt Vila skyline. lioibiza.com
An extraordinary dining and performance experience that segues seamlessly from rooftop cocktails (the views across to Dalt Vila are sublime) to the restaurant, where diners are wowed by artists from Cirque du Soleil (Cirque CEO Guy Laliberte is one of Heart’s founders). Later, tables slip away to reveal an intimate nightclub that stays hopping until dawn. heartibiza.com
CAMÍ DE BALÀFIA
An Ibiza institution, family-run Camí de Balàfia is famous for its grilled meats. Served directly from the charcoal, with hand-cut potatoes and a simple tomato salad, it’s a true taste of the island. The enchanting terrace is lit with lamps hanging from orange trees and is packed with local families, in-the-know tourists and often the odd celebrity. +34 971 325 019
This thronging tapas and cocktail bar sits neatly beneath the old town walls, making the pavement tables particularly atmospheric. It’s one of the busiest spots in town, packed with noisy regulars who love the pimientos padron (green peppers), the paprika-spiked albondigas (meatballs) and the oversized goblets of gin and tonic. labodegaibiza.es
Hidden down a stony path on the east coast, the secluded, rocky beach of Sol den Serra is the perfect setting for this ultra-stylish, all-white, cliffside hangout. Come early for yoga and breakfast, taking in the rugged natural beauty of the pine-clad cove. A buzzing lunch crowd know that the menu at Amante is faultless – all fresh fish, grilled meats and beautiful, flower-flecked salads – and it’s easy to lose a whole day here on the oversized sunbeds. By night, the restaurant becomes perhaps Ibiza’s most spectacular, with moonlight dappling the silver waves below. amanteibiza.com
Practically hidden in an orange grove in the tiny rural hamlet of San Lorenzo, La Paloma’s beautiful, bohemian crowd are drawn like moths to a magic flame. Lanterns sway in the trees as conversations hum in ten different languages. Try the aubergine parmigiana and handmade ravioli – specialities of the Italian owners. palomaibiza.com
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
From chi-chi lunch spots where yachts bob offshore to wild, windswept wave breaks, soak up the sun on Ibiza’s endless sands.
A TRIO OF MUST-SEES This pebbly cove (‘cala’ translates as cove, where ‘playa’ is beach), is home to a trio of must-sees. At the northern end is Tropicana, an easy-breezy hang out with palapa umbrellas, a Tiki bar and swathes of sun loungers. Show up pre-noon to bag a sunbed and sink a glass of chilled Muga rosé, before ordering the shrimp-heavy Tropicana Salad. Take an afternoon swim in the ginclear water then relax into a profoundly restorative Thai massage with Jorge in his palm-shaded hut. At the opposite end of the beach is Yemanja, a relaxed beach restaurant that specialises in paella and the Ibiza classic lubina á la sal (salt-baked sea bass). The cava sangria is peachy perfection – grab a daybed to snooze it off or plunge straight off the rickety jetty into the sea. For the ultimate see-and–be-seen hotspot, it has to be the Blue Marlin. Ibiza’s world-famous beach club gets hotter year-on-year, with a stage, dancing girls and rows of tables laden with bottles of champagne. The scene can get wild, with top DJs playing to a hyped-up crowd of city traders, frat boys and bikiniclad babes, but don’t miss the food – there are relaxed spots to dine beneath the trees and the sushi is easily some of the island’s best. tropicanaibiza.com, yemanjaibiza.com, bluemarlinibiza.com
AN IBIZA ICON This endless strip of bleached white sand is Ibiza’s most legendary. Lapped by warm shallow waters, it’s a hit with families as well as those keen to soak up the bohemian beach clubs. Pole position in the centre of the beach is the Jockey Club, an Ibiza institution whose wooden deck can turn from relaxed dining terrace to hands-in-the air dance floor in a matter of minutes. Ask for a table in the primea linea for the best sea view and order stone-baked pizza and a mojito. Tucked away at the southern tip of the beach is Sa Trinxa, the palapa-roofed shack that’s been making waves since the 1980s. With a wildly eclectic soundtrack and a tanned, sarong-wearing crowd, it’s got the festival vibe on lockdown and is as close to Ibiza’s hippy roots as you’ll find. jockeyclubibiza.com, satrinxa.com
UNMISSABLE BEACH EATS The sister beach to Salinas, Es Cavallet lies on the other side of the windswept headland, making the waters rougher and less clear. The dining, however, is extra special. Breezy celeb-fave El Chiringuito is a contemporary luxe beach shack – all grey linens, bleached wood and dappled sunlight – and serves faultless Mediterranean cuisine to a stylish crowd. The vibe is ultracosmopolitan (Kate Moss is a regular), the DJs are mellow and there’s a handy kids’ club to ditch the nippers. Heaven. Keep an eye out for Don Ostra – a charming chap who shucks fresh oysters straight onto your table. Just south of El Chiringuito, La Escollera is a smart, family-run spot that’s been open for decades. Come for Spanish classics like gallo San Pedro (John Dory) with Ibicenco potatoes or grandma’s own-recipe paella. The elevated terrace, with its contemporary nautical feel, has racking sea views. elchiringuitoibiza.com, laescollerawebsite.wixsite.com
CAP DES FALCO
HIDDEN HIPSTER HANGOUT Just inland from Es Cavallet, a snaking camino (track) cuts across the salt flats to Cap des Falco. Here you’ll find Experimental Beach, an effortlessly cool hangout from the white-hot Parisian Experimental Group (Experimental Cocktail Club, London; Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, New York; Grand Pigalle Hotel, Paris). More all-day waterside retreat than beach club (the sea is a serious scramble over the pebbles), this breezy joint wakes for brunch and doesn’t stop hopping until long past bedtime. By day, expect a languid bunch of stylish holidaymakers flicking through design mags and nibbling langoustine carpaccio. By night, a dressier, DJ-fuelled crowd enjoy charcoal grilled black cod overlooking the moonlit waters. eccbeach.com
PINE-FRINGED PERFECTION The horseshoe-shaped cove of Cala Bassa is achingly beautiful, framed by juniper pines and lapped by clear, island-studded waters. Cala Bassa Beach Club (CBbC) sprawls along the upper reaches, offering a multitude of options for lazy days in the sun. For a casual lunch of grilled prawns, try the Spanish-style CBbC Chiringo, or for crystal and white linen, book the somewhat ritzier CBbC Restaurant. Can’t drag yourself away from the beach? Whistle for CBbC Beach Boy, who’ll bring lunch – on wooden tables with linen and glassware – to your private day bed on the sand. As evening falls, drift away in a hammock slung beneath the trees as live music thrums from the Coronita Lounge. cbbcibiza.com
THE SEAFOOD CLASSIC Opened as a simple shack by fisherman Xicu Sala in 1984, Es Torrent has expanded organically into today’s low-key yet upmarket seafood destination. A refined, older crowd – many of them devoted regulars – are evangelical about the bullit de peix (fish stew) followed by arroz a banda (an intensely fishy rice dish), or else try the hand-caught spiny lobster. The tiny, pebbly cove has a handful of luxurious sun beds. Book these (and your table) a week in advance and spend the whole day in peaceful solitude. estorrent.net
THE CHICEST SHOPPING
Ibiza has a bohemian yet ultra-stylish look all its own. Hunt down the island’s backstreet boutiques, colourful markets and smartest open air shopping streets.
Explore the winding alleys of Ibiza Town’s historic port for one-off local finds. White peasant blouses from Bamba AdLib (Carrer d’Antoni Palau, 5) make great beach cover-ups or stock up on traditional hand woven baskets on Calle de la Cruz. For floor-skimming seventies-style kaftans it’s Las Noches de Ibiza (Carrer de Guillem de Montgrí, 1), or if you fancy vintage Pucci to wear to Flower Power at Pacha, head to Vicente Ganesha (Carrer de Guillem de Montgrí, 14).
Classic espadrilles are still woven on-site at s’Espardenya (Carrer Ignaci Riquier, 19). For the Isabel Marant version, slip into Mayurka (mayurkaibiza.com) on Vara de Rey, where you’ll also find Kenzo, Balenciaga and Marni. reVoLVER (revolveribiza.com) stocks cult labels like Helmut Lang and Commedes Garcons (menswear too), along with jewellery from Ibiza-born designer Zara Simon. Their standalone eyewear store reVOLVER Sunglasses carries out-there frames from Linda Farrow Luxe, Vava and Thom Browne.
Take the water taxi across to upmarket Marina Botafoch to stock up on Mara Hoffman swim and Varley activewear at B.London Boutique (blondonboutique.com), or grab fig-and–lavender scented soaps and cologne at Campos de Ibiza (camposdeibiza.com). A short stroll along the quayside to Marina Ibiza is where the big-hitters shop – Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta and Giuseppe Zanotti all have summer pop-ups on the gleaming jetty.
For an exotic dash of Morocco-meets- India (think embroidered tribal smocks and fringed handbags), head out of town to World Family Ibiza (worldfamilyibiza.com), whose technicolour emporium near Can Curuné stocks clothes, shoes and accessories. A little further up the island is the hippy market at Las Dalias (lasdalias.es, Saturdays only) for quirky island designers.
Dreaming of a home in Ibiza? Take home some island treasures instead. For colourful glass accessories and quirky furniture hit up Sluiz (sluiz.nl), the Dutch design warehouse near Santa Gertrudis whose signature woven cushions are in all the coolest villas. Just across the road is La Galeria Elefante (lagaleriaelefante.com), whose owner, Victoria Durrer-Gasse, trawls the globe for pearl-studded mirrors, antique jewellery boxes and hand-beaded kaftans.
In Santa Gertrudis itself is Tienda Es Cucons (hotelescucons.com), which stocks subtle, neutral-toned homewares; think rough clay pots, hand-woven linens and local basketry. On the road to San Juan is Ksar Living (ksarliving.com) a colossal furniture and interiors store that is curated like a gallery space, with tribal feather masks from Papua New Guinea and carved Balinese antiques.
The teeny-tiny village of San Juan itself bursts into life on Sundays with a local craft market, where you can pick up leather belts, artwork and artisan salt blends for a song. And for Ibiza’s famous ceramics, head to Ceramica Icardi or Ceramica Can Kinoto in the inland village of San Rafael, itself declared a zone of artisanal interest.
THE WILDEST NIGHTS
From sophisticated sundowners to 8am finishes, Ibiza’s nightlife is the best on the planet. Check out these good-time go-tos.
The smartest pre-club spots are in Ibiza Town. Start the night right with a glass of champagne at 105 by La Cantine (105bylacantine.com), the sleek new outpost of Paris’s revered La Cantine du Faubourg, whose candy-striped, Riviera-style terrace sits snug alongside the superyachts. Follow up with a pre-dinner cocktail at Calma or Cappucino Café (grupocappuccino.com/en/marina-ibiza), both of which have DJs and quayside terraces overlooking the Old Town.
Dinner runs late in Ibiza, and after supper it’s time to find the party. Pacha (pacha.com) is easily Ibiza’s most stylish nightclub and sits neatly alongside Marina Ibiza. Sunday is Pacha’s hero night when Serbian house DJ Solomun mans the booth. A well-dressed, musically knowledgeable crowd pack the nightclub by 2am, so book a VIP table for more space. Mondays have long been the preserve of techno, with Circoloco at DC-10 and Sven Väth’s Cocoon party at Amnesia (amnesia.es) jostling for space. Both are fantastic and full-on, with DC-10 being the smaller and more underground of the two.
Wednesday’s Woomoon is the closest thing you’ll get to the open-air raves of old. The extraordinary location, Cova Santa (covasanta.com), near San José, is hard to find, but performance artists, live musicians make for glowing, festival atmosphere. The biggest (and most glamorous) Thursday party is David Guetta’s long-running F*** Me I’m Famous (fmif.fr) at Pacha – expect glitter, feathers and celebrity guests galore. Friday’s black-clad hipsters head to Marco Carola’s Music On (musicon.com) at Amnesia – both the dancefloor and the VIP area are popping all night long. Weekends in Ibiza tend to be quieter, club-wise, although Rumors, Guy Gerber’s Sunday daytime session at the clifftop Destino, is the perfect end to the week.
© This article was first published in Apr-May 2017 edition of World Travel Magazine.
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