Yes, the big names have found our fair isle, but Ibiza still has something for everyone. Seek and ye shall find – you just have to know what you’re looking for. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find the best there is
Ibiza, if you hadn’t got the memo, has done some growing up in the past few years. A wave of super rich glitterati has swept the island. For every sweatbox, there’s a zinc-covered Cristal bar. The influx has been gradual but is now at its zenith. The first to usher in this new money mood was, arguably, Cipriani, which flung open its doors back in 2012. Last summer, Roberto Cavalli opened an animal print-clad restaurant, complete with namesake-branded vodka and bling. Today, there are more high-end restaurant openings, more luxury hotel launches in the pipeline, more members-only soirées announced per week in Ibiza than any self-respecting party hopper could shake a firework-adorned Methuselah of fizz at.
And where there’s a party (foam or otherwise) there will be sun-kissed celebs. From the hyper-publicised Bloom vs. Bieber fracas inside Cipriani to Paris Hilton on the decks at Amnesia and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian flying in to celebrate the high octane, high glamour birthday party of Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Ibiza has become the place where the moneyed let loose.
Of course, come feeding time, this new breed of beat-loving jet setter won’t be running to San Antonio for an all-day breakfast. Urbane, sophisticated food has become big business on the island. This year sees the opening of HEART, a partnership between the world-renowned elBulli brothers and Cirque du Soleil at the Gran Hotel, offering scintillating food to over 1,000 covers each night. And over at the Hard Rock Hotel in Playa d’en Bossa, diners, for €1,500 a head, can enjoy a 20-course meal at Sublimotion, meticulously prepared by double Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero. “The receiver is the diner, the dish is the message and the setting is the channel,” he explains. And you thought you were just going out for paella.
But what has always been the enduring attraction of Ibiza is its ability to fuse high and low culture, elegance and debauchery, and an uninhibited youthful zeal with a more mature heritage and spirituality. This, whether you’re sipping from a flute on deck or feeling the dust between your toes at DC10, will always remain. No mobile signal? No problem…
Sure, the bling is on the rise, but don’t let that fool you – quiet coves, remote mountainous trails, and restaurants that only accept reservations in person. #UJloves. Here is where our Ibiza Insiders go to get away from it all. No sparklers allowed
Hugo Martini, Owner
Balearic Bootcamp and Body Transformation Coach
“Bar PK2 In S’Estanyol, Jesus – no one knows how amazing this bar is. Look for the rock on the side of the road, then follow the bumpy road down and you’re there. Plan to spend the day here.”
Lottie, DJ and Producer
“As an alternative to Benirrás, we go to Cala Conta for amazing views and gorgeous food. It’s not too far from the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes where we often stay, but as it’s on an extreme westerly point – the sunsets are truly spectacular. We opt for delicious paella and a perfect view (book a table at the edge of the restaurant) at the much calmer S’illa des Bosc.”
Eva McBride, Director, Mission PR
“The San Juan market on a Sunday makes me feel so alive and I love hanging out with the locals there. Xuclar beach in the north is so hidden; it only has one restaurant and it’s stunning at night, with fairy lights and the best pale rosé in the world.”
Georgina Scarbrough, Owner, 365 Productions Ibiza
“There’s a little pebbly cove in the north called S’illot des Rencli, where a little fish shack feels as though it hasn’t changed in 50 years. A simple menu, great views and no fuss – a forgotten Ibiza.”
Liz Mendez, Co-Designer, The Gypset Diary fashion label
“In Ibiza Town’s Mercado Viejo, just opposite Croissant Show, there’s a great little stall called Bio Lunch. The owner, Nico, makes the best sandwiches – you can choose your own bread – and he has lovely fresh coconuts. It’s really well priced too!”
Liv Nervo, DJ
“Everyone goes to La Paloma for dinner, but not many tourists know that during the day it’s transformed into a really sweet, sunny, laid-back café with a super-healthy menu. We love the juices and the homemade hummus.”
“I’ve been going to Camí de Balàfia for years – it’s not exactly secret but it is definitely rustic! There’s no better way to spend a relaxed evening with friends. The steak, tomato salad and potatoes are simply incredible.”
Helen Coates, Locket Artists
“Cala Boix in the northeast of the island is Ibiza’s only grey sand beach and is really dramatic. You access it via a long flight of stone steps down the cliff and there’s a simple wooden chiringuito that sells beers and mojitos.”