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Long Weekend review: How to get some rest and relaxation on Europe's most notorious party island

Melissa York
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A slatted hut and infinity pool on the roof of ME Ibiza

The weekend:

For many years, Ibiza was defined by its drugs and decadent party scene, the capital of banging clubs and, well, banging. While its hedonistic days are far from over, pockets of the island are settling down with a degree of refined elegance. Decent restaurants and the arrival of all the big name hotel brands mean it’s even safe for total squares now, like me and Ed Miliband.

Where?

ME Ibiza is on the cusp of Santa Eulalia and Es Canar on the east coast. It’s about eight miles from Ibiza town (a €30 taxi ride on average) so you have to make a concerted effort to enter the thick of it. The hotel can arrange flashy white Range Rovers to ferry you around in style, though, or you can just bask in the hotel’s laid back luxury. It’s nice to have the option to sleep, you know? Guests also get complimentary access to Nikki Beach next door, which hosts parties throughout the summer.

The stay:

It’s all about sleek modernity at ME Ibiza. Most things are white and reflective and it’s a bit like living in a big ol’ Apple store. And if that doesn’t get you in the mood, there’s a “sexy light” included in every room that turns everything purple. These aubergine boudoirs are clever in their compactness, but if it’s a personal party pad you’re after, you can shell out for one of the suites with hydromassage tubs. Craig David stays in one every weekend, presumably because he’s too busy chasing ladies during the week.

The food:

...is not spectacular. The only thing worth ordering at the poolside restaurant, Salt and Sea, is the stone-baked pizza because everything else is the sort of Mediterranean mish-mash you’d expect to find at Zizzi. Upstairs on the fancy rooftop terrace, there’s more of a focus on pricey, yet pedestrian, seafood. Bizarrely, there are also pop-up oyster carts casually dotted about and a table of full-on cream-stuffed gateaux at breakfast – although, the morning buffet did also star a bucket of iced champagne, which I must confess I was not averse to.

But where’s the culture, darling?

Photographer Alberto Van Stokkum, who has shot for Spanish Vogue and Rolling Stone, is touring his evocative portrait photography around ME’s hotels worldwide. If a big night on the town has sapped your glamour, just imagine you’re one of his sultry models draped over a rusty Jeep (pictured above).

And after that?

Parties! And ME Ibiza throws its own on the rooftop terrace. Locals are invited to its ‘Come with Me’ event series, too, which is themed around cities where other ME hotels reside and features live music from up-and-coming bands from those destinations. It’s both a cheeky hotel marketing strategy and a way to party without having to travel anywhere.

Need to know:

Room rates at ME Ibiza start at £250 in low season. For reservations visit melia.com

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