Summer may feel like its slowing waning in blustery London Town, but a quick 2 and half hour flight can take you to the sultry shores of Ibiza, where the sun always shines, fig trees frame the sides of the road and parties never end.
After my recent dalliance with this enchanting Balearic isle (and a three week recovery period) I thought I would muster up the enthusiasm to write a special guide of where I think you should party, play, sleep, frolic and eat.
For champagne pool parties and lunchtime feasts
Good old Nikki Beach. Ever since my first visit to their Miami offering when I was a mere slip of a (twenty-something) girl, I’ve been somewhat enamoured with this world-famous beach club. I also partied with a merry P Diddy at his “white party” in the chain’s St Tropez venue ten years ago, where I bounced on a trampoline with his polite teenage son who called me “ma’am.” My Nikki Beach experiences have always been memorable, and my visit to Nikki Beach Ibiza was certainly that…
Upon arriving with my day party crew, I immediately got into the Ibiza spirit as we were shown to our VIP four poster bed. Facing us was a pool filled with excitable people and, wait for it, colourful balls. Luckily we made it in time for the last hour of the Unlimited Champagne Buffet, so promptly stuffed our faces with a plates piled high with fresh sushi, roast beef, mini cheese quiches, salads and jumbo prawns. After three punchy cocktails and general mincing in the party pool, we were having such a good time we forgot all about the champagne. Oh how we kicked ourselves in the taxi back to the hotel…
For a lavish lunch with a view
Perched majestically on a hill in the Island’s scenic Cala Tarida area, this minimalist-chic beach club looks out onto a striking azure blue bay dotted with yachts and tanned bodies. The all-white decor and breathtaking views evoke a sense of relaxed Ibizan charm, yet it is the food served by this ultra glam establishment that will impress you the most. We gorged on fresh oysters drizzled with a variety of toppings – champagne foam, passion fruit and the classic shallot and vinegar variety, before devouring plate after plate of pure culinary genius. The creamiest burrata I’ve ever tasted arrived nestled on a flavoursome tomato tartare, topped with cured black olive crumble and dried tomato pesto, before an Instagram-worthy tuna and avocado tartare graced us with its delightful presence. The dollop of wasabi and mango ice cream on top gave this classic summer starter an adventurous twist and made me tempted to order more.
After sharing ice-cold cocktails with our friends (the creamy pina coladas were a dream) we minced off into the crystal-clear sea to cool down and spent the rest of the afternoon snoozing on the sandy beach. What could be a better way to end such a tummy-pleasing feast?
Every time I visit Ibiza with my people, it’s practically tradition that we visit this laid back, yet effortlessly suave beach club. Nestled serenely on the picturesque beach of Es Cavallet, Chiringuito serves up the holiday food of your dreams. Ordering is always a chore due to all the alluring sounding dishes sprawled across the menu, so we always end up ordering oodles of dishes to share. No food FOMO for us.
On our latest visit, we ended up ordering starters of smoked aubergine topped with pesto and hummus, thinly sliced roast beef on rocket drizzled in hazelnut oil and homemade horseradish, the creamy goats cheese, roasted beetroot and walnut salad, the tuna and avocado tartare, and the hamachi sashimi, which made its entrance at the table adorned with a tangy Japanese lemon dressing and decadent slivers of summer truffle.
Everything as always tasted otherworldly, as did the mains, which were an extravagant plethora of meat and fish dishes including tender seared tuna encrusted in sesame seeds, a fragrant summer truffle and porcini mushroom risotto, a succulent slab of Black Angus filet mignon and a unique fish shawarma, comprised of marinated white fish dressed in confit garlic, chimichiri, hummus cream, picked red onions and freshly-baked pitta bread.
For when you want to dance in a pool to the sounds of your youth
I love dancing away the day to a spot of Balearic house, but sometimes I just want to get down to the sassy UK Garage sounds of my younger years. When I get this urge in Ibiza, I head to Ocean Beach, and I’m never disappointed.
During our action-packed trip we turned up at the beloved ONE party, where we had the pleasure of joining The Artful Dodger DJ, David Low backstage as he worked his musical magic with a fabulously feisty crowd. As usual, he played an eclectic blend of old and new UK Garage, ensuring everyone was well and truly in the Ibiza pool party spirit.
One of the best things about Ocean Beach (apart from the guaranteed crazy fun times) is the in-pool beds – so you can drink, dance and cool off as you gyrate to your favourite tuneage. As we minced between our bed, the pool and the DJ stage, we managed to yet again have the time of our party lives in this happy adult playground. The Ocean Beach dancers also put on a pleasingly scandalous show on the stages surrounding the DJ decks and the usual hoohaa of sparklers and pomp took place when extravagant guests decided to splash out on magnums of champagne. Cheers to that…
Catch The Artful Dodger at Ocean Beach for the ONE party on the 6th and 13th September – or today if you’re reading this in Ibiza and have no plans!
For when you want to be ON A BOAT
No trip to Ibiza is complete without a tipsy boat ride to the golden shores of Formentera – the scenic neighbouring island known for its jet setting visitors, pink sand beaches and turquoise warm waters.
We chose a quaint yacht from Charteralia – known for their professional yet friendly service and wide variety of speed boats, yachts and catamarans.
Our captain picked us up from the island’s revered Blue Marlin beach club after we had downed a few necessary “hair of the dog” cocktails. One speedy rubber speed boat journey later and all 6 of us had made ourselves comfortable on our new home for the next 7 hours – complete with bags of naughty snacks and boozy beverages.
After three hours of sunbathing, chinwagging and general frolicking, we had reached our sun-soaked destination, where we feasted on freshly-caught sardines and seabass baked in sea salt. Known for attracting a luxury-loving yachting crowd, Formentera is renowned for its exquisite seafood and lavish long lunches that occasionally turn into yacht parties as the sun sets.
Being the Ibiza veteran that I am, I insisted we all get back onto the yacht to make our way to the mystical Es Vedra island to watch the sun disappear for the day. Es Vedra has always been hailed by the yogi hippy-set of this Balearic isle as a place of great spiritual significance. Shrouded in ancient myths and legends, this majestic cluster of rocks is the perfect setting to watch the amber sun sink into the calm azure waters of the island that never sleeps.
When you want to rave into the early hours
Back for their 8th consecutive year and more badass than ever, Together has returned for another sassy summer at Amnesia – one of Ibiza’s most talked-about super clubs famed for its festival-like ambiance and world-famous DJs.
On the night we visited, Chase and Staus played an energising drum and bass set, before the UK Garage legend DJ EZ caused merry mayhem on the dancefloor. My other half wanted to leave moments after we arrived due to extreme tiredness after days of debauchery, but once EZ took to the decks, everything changed and we danced until the early hours of the morning like excitable teenagers at the freshers party.
Together will be tearing up the dance floor until the 18th Sept, so if you’re heading over to Ibiza soon you can expect to see world-class acts such as Andy C, Sigma, Hannah Wants and of course DJ EZ, who you can catch at Together’s 8th birthday party on the 8th Sept.
This glitzy party takes place in one of the island’s newest venues, Hi Ibiza – formerly the iconic Space super club. Sashay down with your favourite people to dance until ungodly hours to the sounds of world-renowned DJs such as Armand Van Helden, Basement Jaxx, Cassius, Derrick Carter, Dimitri From Paris, Groove Armada, Horse Meat Disco, Joey Negro and everybody’s favourite house maestro – Roger Sanchez.
The parties are running until the 28 September and will feature fabulously flamboyant dancers, epic house sets and a zany disco vibe with an electric feel. Go with your most fun-loving friends, your raving shoes and an obscene amount of glitter smothered all over you. Well, when in Ibiza…
When you can’t stand any more parties and just want a quiet gourmet dinner
We slinked into this family-run fine dining restaurant on an evening when we would have quite happily eaten our left arms than spend another night on a dance floor. When we entered though the sleek wooden doors, we were wondering why the restaurant was empty. After being led out to the tranquil outdoor dining garden packed with groups of diners, it became clear that Es Ventall was a hidden gem in the not so glamorous town of Sant Antoni. Underneath a star-studded sky, surrounded by fragrant foliage we ordered a selection of modern Spanish dishes and nursed demure glasses of fruity red wine.
We savoured plates of Ibizan prawn croquettes and sautéed calamari drizzled in honey before a hefty slab of Sirloin arrived, residing by a generous bed of seasonal greens and homemade chips. A slow-cooked lamb shoulder came pleasingly covered in a rich gravy, perched next to a pretty pile of al-dente vegetables. I adored the buttery monkfish fillet, served with a green asparagus and fennel risotto.
The zesty carrot cake, which made its regal appearance at the end of the night along with a cheeky dollop of mandarin sorbet, was beloved by us all. At this point we just wanted to submit to our impending food comas and call it a night. I went to bed with a smile on my face and dreamt of fig trees and salty sea water.
Ibiza, I will be back next year…Or most probably October for the closing parties.