The White Island goes Luxe. Judith Baker explores
Away from the clubs, the music and the frenetic party scene that defines modern-day Ibiza, this beautiful Spanish Island is developing a reputation as a sophisticated luxurious destination. Top end hotels, an interesting food offering and cultural and nature activities mean the island is reinventing itself for a new audience.
Discovered by the Phoenicians, invaded by Moors and Byzantines, and not to mention hippies and ravers, Ibiza has for a long time been one of the Brits favourite party and package destinations. But a recent visit uncovered a new side to the island.
First stop was the charming Atzaro Agroturismo housed in a 300 year old finca, a white plastered 24 room hotel set in ten hectares of lush gardens and orange groves. Family owned for centuries, the property has old black and white photographs of the Gusch family on its walls and is furnished throughout with pieces from its own design company. With influences from Morocco, Indonesia and further afield everything is made to order in an understated fashion which the hotel calls ‘natural luxury’
It was difficult to prise myself away from my huge room with its oversized four poster and outdoor bath but a walk around the grounds found secret corners for curling up on giant day beds or soaking up the sun next to the 48 metre fresh water pool.
By contrast, the newly opened 7 Pines resort is unashamedly modern with the sleek lines of a luxury yacht. Positioned between the Cala Cont and secluded Cala Codar beaches. One of The Leading Hotels of The World, it has 186 spacious suites spread over an area of 56,000 square metres. The resort has its own Pershing yacht on hand for guest transfers and charter.
Dining on Ibiza is a real pleasure. From eating fresh seafood overlooking the sea at Atzuro Beach with its beach club atmosphere and bright turquoise furnishings reflecting the hue of the sea to eating farm to table fare at rural garden restaurant Aubergine. The mood is away from fine dining to a more relaxed, healthy experience with sharing plates and fresh ingredients. Vegan dining establishment Wild Beets is run by long-time Ibiza resident American Cliff Rubin who started the original Sejuiced in Benniras Beach 10 years ago and also is the creator of iJuiced his own range of takeaway cold-pressed Juice cleanses.
Ibiza is also set to host the The Amorevore Food & Arts Festival (26-28 October) with stands of street food, wild food walks, and long table banquets, pop up dining, cookery demonstrations and photography exhibitions.
The festival highlights Ibiza’s growing status as an artisanal food destination and offers insights into global food issues.
“Amorevore is about celebrating what comes from the heart – the love of food, the love of creating in community and the love of shared knowledge and experience” says founder Jenna Ansell.
Amorevore will be hosted at the Casa Maca hotel, Can Palau De Dalt, Ibiza
September also saw Ibiza’s first Literary Festival at Pikes Ibiza where author Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and John Niven were among the writers leading the event which included readings, suppers and writing workshops
Retail therapy Ibiza style can be enjoyed at the distinctive historic village of Santa Gertrudis in the heart of the island. Here among the bohemian galleries and bars Victoria Durrer-Gasse has filled eleven rooms with an eclectic mix of vintage style clothing, jewellery, bags and homewares in her amazing shop Galeria Elefante. Many of the products on sale have been made by NGOS and charities around the world which empower women.
And with some of the best nature walks and cycling routes in Europe, Ibiza is a year-round destination that offers a world of possibilities just a two hour flight from the UK.The party crowd may have moved on, but the energy and creativity of Ibiza remain in its cuisine, festivals and beautiful places to stay.