The Real Club Med
Spain’s Sultry Island of Ibiza boasts sun-drenched days and spectacular nights.
by Kristy Alpert
My plane began descending at the same moment the sun slowly started its ascent from where it was hiding beneath the horizon, the pink hues and deep shades of red saturating my face with their warm colors. If I had known then that the sunrise I was experiencing at that moment would be the last one I would witness while on the Island of Ibiza, I would surely have soaked in the moment more deeply. Instead I squinted past the colors to gaze out on what lay before me on the ground, immediately falling under the Island’s spell as we made our descent over the Balearic Sea.
Located just over a hundred miles off the mainland of Spain in the mediterranean sea, Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic Islands and part of Spain’s comunidad autonoma (autonomous community). Although the Island’s extraordinary landscape changes throughout the year from fields of flowering almond trees to orchards ripe with fruitful citrus fruits, the island’s unspoiled beauty, pine-clad hills and sandy coves can be seen all year round.
It’s been said that there is a special energy on Ibiza—the Spanish Island that has best become known as the playground for the world’s most fashionable crowd of celebrities and dJs looking to experience its infamous nightlife and ethereal offerings—and already I could see that the rumors were true. I would quickly learn that life moves at a different pace on the island, with mornings lazily beginning well past noon and evenings speeding by at a rapid pace until wrapping up just minutes before sunrise.
Ibiza offers something few other destinations could ever dream of offering, with its nonchalant romance dripping from sun-drenched shores and its fervent Spanish passion igniting the island anew each day. Ibiza itself is not as much a holiday destination as it is a lifestyle that is meant to be encountered, discovered and indulged upon.
Over the years, the island’s once “college boy” persona has grown up and developed a taste for luxury, where bar menus featuring Jager shots have transformed into ones with handcrafted cocktails prepared with interesting ingredients and premium spirits, and multi-course tasting dinners are now paired alongside exquisite wine lists and sultry live entertainment. Ibiza’s new blend of refined offerings has unmistakably transformed the island into something that is luxuriously attractive for stylish visitors seeking to soak in its signature bohemian vibe.
IT TAKES A VILLA
Accommodations on Ibiza range from a-list villa rentals like the Can Verru Villa (canverruibiza.com) that kate moss regularly rents out when she is on the island to luxury boutique hotels like the hotel Cas Gasi (casgasi.com) that’s constantly being named as Ibiza’s best-kept secret. Theme Ibiza (melia.com) is the top choice for yachters and vip guests due to its discreet location and direct access for yachts. This boho-chic hotel offers 179 guestrooms and 26 deluxe suites with their own personality and ambiance, and many of them overlook the stunning nikki beach (nikkibeach.com) or the sea.
The hotel’s skinc spa is home to the world’s first skin supplement bar, featuring 100-percent pure active serums from Japan and one of the best views on Ibiza from its rooftop relaxation deck with 360-degree views of the island. Entrance to any of the exclusive pools at the me Ibiza is highly sought after by locals and vip guests, where the adults-only infinity pool at the rooftop offers a club-like environment with bali beds, daily dJs and cool cocktails served alongside a full menu of tapas, treats and fresh seafood.
THE LATEST DISH
Even though it doesn’t share a coastline with its Spanish siblings, that quintessential Spanish passion for gastronomy is still very much engrained in the culture on ibiza. Most restaurants open around 8 p.m., but the fashionable crowd doesn’t generally start arriving until well after 10 p.m. the island is famous for its Ibizan paella, or La Burrida de Ratjada, and every dinner ends with something sweet, like local flao (a tart made with goat and sheep cheeses and mint), greixonera (a bread pudding type concoction made from local pastries), or orellaetes (small ear-shaped cakes).
For more than 15 years, Sa Capella has continually ranked as one of the best restaurants on the island. Housed in a former 16th-century church, the restaurant is notorious for its local dishes prepared with fresh ingredients in a romantic setting. For a more exclusive experience, pastis (pastisibiza.com) is an authentic french bistro with only 10 tables and an extensive wine menu curated by the parisian owner herself. Healthy diners rave about the raw and vegan dishes at wild beets (wildbeets. com) while anyone looking to see-and-be-seen can be found at celebrity hotspot lio (lioibiza.com) a location that is equal parts upscale restaurant and sultry cabaret.
SHOP AND CLUB HOP
Shopping on Ibiza isn’t limited to souvenir shops or beachfront duds, and the island is actually renowned for its distinctive fashion scene, better known as adlib fashion. The trend was born in the early 1970s and is characterized by intricately embellished white garments made from fresh cotton fabrics. Some of the best stores for shopping this trend are found in the port of Ibiza, but the island is also home to one of the best vintage stores in Europe, vintage icons and echoes. This eclectic shop is tucked away behind the main tourist hub of Santa Eulalia, and features retro artifacts and designer gear, like endof-the-line Prada shoes, nightgowns from the 1920s and Vivienne Westwood labels.
Ibiza town and Sant Antoni are the bases for the bulk of the major european nightclubs, like pacha ibiza (pachaibiza. com) where David Guetta spends his summers performing with his never-ending lineup of celebrity guests that have included snoop dogg, usher, ludacris, robin schulz, will.i.am, kelis and kelly rowland. Other hot nightspots include privelege (privilegeibiza.com), currently the guinness world record holder as the “world’s largest nightclub,” and dc-10, an unassumingly chic club housed in a former airplane hangar oﬀthe edge of the Ibizan airport runway.
Ibiza oﬀers tons of other opportunities to explore and play, like the trolling the modern-art oﬀerings at the parra & romero gallery (parra-romero.com), lounging on the expansive white sandy beaches, and heading under the stars for to see one of the most beautiful and atmospheric open air cinemas in the world at Amante beach club’s (amanteibiza.com) weekly movie night.