The GQ Ibiza Travel Guide | GQ
Published by GQ.co.uk, June 2018
Celestial sunsets, scintillating beaches and shameless hedonism, Ibiza is an island where halcyon days melt seamlessly into heady nights – it’s no wonder our love affair with this Balearic paradise continues to flourish. Last summer, over 7m visitors touched down on the white isle; some in search of up-all-night raving at one of the island’s many superclubs, others seeking solace in the bosom of its spiritual heartland. Regardless of motive, Ibiza offers something for everyone – here’s our insider’s guide on how to get the best from this sparkling gem in the Med.
Where to stay
For utter relaxation, head for Pure House Ibiza, an agroturismo found up a dusty camino only 10 minutes from the centre of Ibiza town. With just four rooms and an adults-only ethos, this chilled-out oasis is a little slice of unspoilt Ibicenco heaven ideal for shutting out the rest of the world. Further north is Los Enamorados, a quirky hotel owned by a former fashion editor and basketball player. Hangout of the uber-hip, this is where off duty models come during downtime, drawn by its Insta-worthy backdrop, eccentric décor and covet-inducing boutique stocked with curious knick knacks and one-of-a-kind sneakers – we dare you to leave empty handed. For a more epicurean sojourn, it has to be Pikes, the famed hotel once frequented by Freddie Mercury and George Michael. The labyrinth-like layout of this place was designed with mischief making in mind, and of that, there is plenty – don’t be surprised to find yourself singing karaoke in a bathtub, it’s all part of the experience. Finally, for a dusting of metropolitan magic, it has to be Sir Joan, the newest addition to the famed Sir Hotels family, hailing from Amsterdam. Home to sophisticated design, hot young things and the best breakfast in town, it’s a favourite among Europe’s well-connected creatives. Dress to impress or be left out in the hot, humid night.
Where to eat
Nurse yourself back to life post head-splitting hangover at Passion Café in San Antonio, where the menu is chock full of hearty delights, including the standard filthy fry up or more saintly protein pancakes. Racó Verd on a roadside in San José also does a great range of Mexican-inspired fare perfect for revival purposes. In the afternoon, embrace that most appealing of Spanish traditions, the long, lazy, lunch. Yemanja on Cala Jondal and Beachouse in Playa d’en Bossa both excel at this. Order a jug of sangria, sink your feet into the sand and watch the hours pass by in a dream-like haze – there’s no point rushing when the rest of the island is taking siesta anyway. For dinner, don the fresh threads and head to Nobu in Talamanca for some deservedly famous black miso cod; check out newly-opened Izakaya for Japanese fusion cuisine served with a dollop of Dutch cool; or keep it low-key at El Chiringuito by Night on Es Cavallet, where a starlit sky and the sound of tumbling waves create the ambience for a romantic feast.
Where to drink
No trip to Ibiza is complete without ticking off a quintessential sunset, and nowhere does that better than La Torre in Cap Negret, where nature’s finest moment is soundtracked by the hypnotic purr of Balearic beats. In Ibiza town you’re spoilt for choice with an abundance of first-rate bars. Montesol on Vara de Rey actually claims the title of Ibiza’s first hotel, opened back in the 30s, but it’s the Art Deco-inspired bar that really pulls a crowd, particularly on Friday nights, when speakeasy vibes and classic cocktails make it a must-visit for seeing in the weekend. Elsewhere there’s rooftop favourite Tira Palla, which demands a precarious climb up several flights of stairs but leads you to arguably the island’s best mojitos and unbeatable views of the bustling town below. Then there’s Can Terra, where a glass of wine and a pintxo (small bite to eat) cost as little as 1€. Note: this can result in quite speedy inebriation. In neighbouring Figueretes, cocktail connoisseurs make a beeline for Baboon, a bar that houses expert mixologists who’ve honed their skills all across the globe.
Where to dance
A mecca for the musically minded, on Ibiza there are no shortage of venues for the techno-loving, dance music enthusiasts among you. As the oldest club on the island, Pacha still draws a massive crowd, and much praise has been heaped on the all new layout that was wheeled out after a winter in hibernation. Elsewhere, Amnesia ushers in a new era on Monday nights with a Pyramid, and in-house party which with regular appearances from Ricardo Villalobos and Nina Kraviz looks set to be a winner. You can also start the week with Circoloco at DC10, which remains one of the island’s most respected underground parties, and where the crème de la crème of electronic music talent convene. Get there early to soak up the raucous mood in the garden; this is a clubbing rite of passage. For an alfresco festival vibe and the biggest EDM stars head to Ushuaïa in Playa d’en Bossa, while over the road HÏ is continuing to build on the success of its inaugural year but securing Black Coffee and Eric Prydz for second seasons. If daytime partying and champagne popping is your thing, you can’t go wrong with Blue Marlin, playground of the ostentatious rich and famous.
Where to unwind
There are over 50 beaches hugging Ibiza’s coastline, so it’s well worth setting aside time to hunt out your favourite collision of sea and sand. One way is to hire a private boat (try smartcharteribiza.com), so you can reach some of the more isolated coves while simultaneously fulfilling your ultimate baller fantasies; another is to embark on a hike with Walking Ibiza (walkingibiza.com), where guided tours give you a new perspective of the island’s rugged beauty. If spa treatments and sun loungers are more your thing, try Atzaró, where you’re pampered amid the zesty smell of orange orchards, or head north to Haçienda Na Xamena, which boasts the kind of jaw-dropping vistas and infinity pools guaranteed to leave people at home sick with envy. To experience the ‘other side’ of Ibiza, head to Benirràs on a Sunday evening, where the relentless pulse of tribal drumming may well rouse your soul, or potentially just your desire for another drink.