Ibiza has a special place in so many people's heart. It means something different and unique to everyone. My love affair with the White Isle began 22 years ago...and as I found on my latest visit, things may change across the years, but the magic still remains...
My latest tour of duty was partly fact finding and partly pleasure. I was out there primarily to relax and celebrate two years of MEaT. But I was also reconnecting with people and venues I have known and worked with for a number of years to see what the island now has to offer.
From what I experienced, I believe the time has now come for the younger element who are looking for somewhere hot, bar crawls and a week or two of fun to give consideration to other resorts...it's not cheap...there are no real deals to be had, unless you know people...and you probably don't!
So is it now a VIP hotspot and a playground for the wealthy to enjoy Yes...and No...
To really enjoy Ibiza you can't have a limited budget. Everywhere is pricey, especially if you want actual drinks not syrup. But then for the more mature group or couple, if you have experience of nights out in London or other major cities, it's not really going to shock you too much. Hospitality tends to come at a range of prices, so again if you plan and are aware you can get something that makes it worth while, not that makes you feel you've paid off the third world deficit!!
First port of call was my favourite place in the world...the legendary Cafe Del Mar. Here I booked my group in for the sunset in the Theatre Lounge. It gives great views of the sunset without people walking by. You are right by the DJ booth so you get first hand the amazing music style that is CDM! You also get comfortable lounge area to chill out properly with. The minimum spend for this area (minimum spend something you need to be careful of when booking) was just 50 euros per person. When you think that we were there for about 3 hours chilling out. Cocktails and food across this time easily makes that spend. The reason I mention minimum spend is that most hospitality now has that in place. So be sure you book your level of hospitality accordingly, and ensure that it is for the right amount of people for your group. We found a couple looking to book front row by the sea seats for sunset at 70 euros per person minimum. But what they didn't say was it was for a minimum of 4 people. So that couple nearly paid double without even realising....always check before booking!!
Our tips for the sunset strip...Start with Savannah, move onto Cafe Del Mar for the original style sunset and then onto Mambo's for the pre party after the sun sets. Mint a bit further on is great, but you feel a tad isolated from the rest. Maybe one to consider as a couple looking to chill in one spot for the night?
Daytime in Ibiza...for those looking for something other than the pool or the beach, there are a number of beach clubs on the island. Or get out and explore some of the beach coves to find some real gems in location, views and venues. For those looking for hospitality, we would recommend Bali Beach Club, Nassau / Tanit Beach Club, Nikki Beach up near Santa Eulauia, the legendary Blue Marlin and of course the people's favourite...Ocean Beach Club in San Antonio.
Each of these are great daytime locations, all offer spectacular service, views and a chilled party vibe. Once again, look at levels of hospitality and choose accordingly...do you really need that luxury cabana when a couple of loungers offer the same for less? Go big when your group is big...otherwise don't take unnecessary packages.
Eating Out....those that have been to the island a few times will have their preferred restaurants. For those looking for good meal, atmosphere and to set your evening up in proper way, we would recommend the following...
KM5, Cova Santa, STK Ibiza, Pikes (especially for an amazing Sunday Roast #recommended). all of these add a wow factor and are just great places to eat.
Excursions...Most excursions on the island will probably involve a boat. One major thing you have to take into account when booking a boat excursion is the company you book with. You will see many reps for companies offering a plethora of day trips, sunset cruises or design your own packages. What many people don't realise is most are either not licensed or insured putting you and your money at risk.
We have worked for several years now and booked many groups in with a fully insured and licensed charter company based in San Antonio. They offer a range of trips and we had the fortune to try out the sunset cruise on this beast - Nautique G25 is voted the worlds No1 water sports boat. It gives you your own personal sunset spot (as seen from my picture at the top..!). These are amazing experiences and for larger groups 6-10 people more cost effective. But I cannot stress enough for luxury and experience regardless of group size, if you can fit it in your budget...it's a must! Other trips include a daytime cruise to Formentera or Blue Marlin Beach Club, taking in the magical Es Vedra and some amazing coves. You may even see dolphins along the way!
Partying...I wont go on too much about this as most people come to Ibiza with this part pretty much planned. However, those looking for VIP tables or hospitality at the club..."Please Check First!!". Yes again another mine field for some people and one you can easily be taken on a ride for.
Some now offer for a bit more on your ticket price access to the VIP levels. But this really gets you nothing other than more spend. Ok, so you are in the area but you will have no table, no drinks package etc. It's just a viewing spot onto the dancefloor...like a crazy middle ground where you're not in and around the ravers, and not enjoying all the trimmings of VIP?
Always, always...ask what it is EXACTLY you are getting, before buying.
Other Tips...look at busses from the airport rather than taxis. If you can work the timings right and you are a small group or couple, this could save you a lot of queuing time at the taxi rank, and 20-30 euros potentially.
Make sure you make full use of free wi-fi at every venue you go...your data package wont last long out there!
Ibiza still holds the magic and the mystery, it still has the best sunsets you will ever see and will always have the biggest and best parties to go to. It really can be anything you want it to be. So many different ways to party day or night, and so many beautiful spots to relax in.
Go prepared, be aware and you won't go wrong. But if you want to take all the hassle away and have the most amazing experience... #wearemeat we've got Ibiza covered for you..!