What do you do when you’ve just suffered a humiliating election defeat that virtually nobody on the planet predicted? Why, you board the first flight to Ibiza, of course. Right now, at 6am on a Tuesday morning, Ed Miliband could well be gurning on the terrace of a beach club, stripped to his chinos, glow-sticks raised above his head as the sun rises over the Balearic sea behind him.
“The election is over,” I imagine him muttering to himself. “It all feels so far away now... So far away.”
And as the DJ brings the music to a euphoric crescendo he’ll experience a moment – a bitterly short moment – of respite. For those precious seconds, everything will be OK.
On this occasion, if not when it really mattered, Ed is part of a popular movement. While many still see clubbing in Ibiza as the preserve of the 20-something willing to sleep 10 to a room and drink tequila out of a shoe, that’s only a fraction of the story. There’s a vast industry catering to the highest-end of the market; a world of private chefs, top restaurants and VIP clubbing. The only limit is the one on your credit card.
I flew out a couple of weeks ago with Chic Ibiza Villas, a firm run by two British ex-pats who know the island and its myriad entertainments as well as just about anyone. They promised to show me what Ibiza can offer the older, more discerning traveller; those who want to party, but do it in style.
They look after dozens of villas across Ibiza. I stayed at the five-bedroom Villa Skyfall in Salinas, a small village to the south of the island that’s home to some of the more exclusive beach bars and the infamous DC10 nightclub. Skyfall is a bit like Ray Winstone’s pad in Sexy Beast: pristine apartments set around a pool, featuring an outdoor kitchen and enough sun-loungers for a dozen. It’s decorated with prints of the Rat Pack, giant sculptures (including a pair of Buddhas and a leopard) and what I’m pretty sure was the chair from Big Brother’s Diary Room. Everything is painted in shades of white and grey. At high-season, it will set you back £15,000 a week (it sounds like a lot, but if your party is made up of five couples, it’s less than a hotel).
Chic Ibiza works with a personal chef company called Dalilicious: morning, noon or night they’ll prepare restaurant-quality food – fresh fish, langoustines, pork chops, steamed mussels. Want to eat out? How about a beach-side table at one of the island’s top restaurants? (see sidebar).
And then onto the main event: the clubbing. My options were limited, given how early in the season it was, but Pacha was putting on a big night on the Saturday. When I arrived at 12am, the queue was already snaking into the distance. No worries: guest-list places meant we walked straight through. Inside, it was rammed, hundreds of people squeezed into the vast, hanger-like space. There’s something very retro about clubbing in Ibiza; London nightclubs are concerned with being cool but Ibiza is happy to just be big and loud. The bar queues are unbelievable. The dance-floor is packed and coated in slime. If I’d queued for hours for the privilege of paying £50 to get in, I’d have been upset. I had a table in the VIP area (expect to pay upwards of £2,000 for this), where I sat and wondered what all the fuss was about. A waitress arrived with a bottle of Grey Goose, then another and possibly another. The music seemed to be getting better. I was dancing on a chair. Hours passed. “Ibiza is brilliant” I was thinking. Then I was outside and it was 4am and the queue was even longer and I was back at Skyfall and there was more dancing and more vodka and this is what it’s all about.
I woke at noon to the smell of barbecue. A mixologist was throwing cocktails around on the terrace. Apparently there had been yoga but I’d missed it by a good five hours. This, I tell you, this is clubbing in style. If anything is going to take Ed’s mind off things, this is it.
NEED TO KNOW: THE LOWDOWN ON IBIZA
- Villa Skyfall, which sleeps 10, costs €12,995 per week in low season and €15,000 in high season. It’s one of dozens of villas available from Chic Ibiza Villas. Log onto chicibiza.com or call 0034 638 582 290 for more information and prices.
- Miles Hickey of Dalilicious is available for €50/hr plus from €55 per person depending on the meal. For more information see dalilicious.com.
- Two hour cocktail demonstrations by Felice Pinto cost €400, which includes 8-10 cocktails for eight people to try.
- Prices for Pacha vary, see pachaibiza.com/en for more information.
- Yoga sessions can be booked through Chic Ibiza Villas. A session for six people for 1.5 hours costs €180.
- Stansted Express trains run every 15 minutes through most of the day, and include free wi-fi. For information on times and ticket offers, visit stanstedexpress.com.
WHERE TO EAT
This is one of the best known – and best – of the beach-bar/restaurants on the island. It specialises in seafood, with excellent lobster bisque, king crab salad and fried prawns. It’s immaculately presented and just light enough to enjoy in the baking sun. Of course, you can always skip down to the beach for a dip if you’re too hot. nassaubeachclub.com
This is probably the most extravagant, over-the-top restaurant in Ibiza, filled with giant statues of Buddha, fountains and lots of bamboo. Thankfully, the food is as loud and exciting as the décor, with black cod that’s to die for and excellent ceviche. The perfect place for some pre-night out nosh. bambuddha.com
As typical an Ibiza beach bar as they come, the Jockey Club has a laid-back vibe with loungers on Salinas beach and an open bar/restaurant. The food does the staples very well – I went for squid ink risotto – and it also serves a mean pizza. This place is ideal for some R&R after a big night at one of the clubs. jockeyclubibiza.com