Ibiza: Where to Eat and Play, Then Take a Break

by  Lane Nieset | Aug 27, 2015
Consell Insular d'Eivissa
Consell Insular d'Eivissa

The jetset island got its rep for a reason -- this is the spot where the rich and famous flock once June rolls around. With a club scene that's turned global, Ibiza attracts world renowned DJs and celebrities to its shores. But beyond the house music and electro there's a whole other side to the Spanish island. The Old Town is teeming with tucked-away tapas bars; rock climbers scale the sides of 16th century fort-like towers; and untouched beaches draw snorkelers to their crystal clear water. Sure, you could spend your entire trip soaking up the party scene, but Ibiza also boasts incredible food and beachside resorts perfect for more low-key island retreats.

Eat Your Way Around the Island

After opening the colorful Lebanese restaurant Patchwork last year on the Sa Punta rooftop in Talamanca Bay, Rita and Rodolphe, the duo behind the culinary concept, launched a third venture this season. Set in the garden next to Sa Punta, Asian food bar Ginger looks out at the water and Ibiza's old town, the UNESCO site Dalt Vila, from its chic perch that looks just as Asian as its menu, with Chinese-inspired furniture, colorful tasseled parasols, and a bamboo bar that still keeps its boho-beach vibes going strong. (Entrees are €10-€13, or around $11-$14.)

Opening for its first season, La Belle Ibiza in San Rafael serves up a menu of French fare with Spanish and Asian influences crafted by Chef Gilles Escaffre, who has worked with other culinary stars like Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. Share plates of maki foie gras or Iberian bellota ham while people watching in the self-deemed "hippy-chic" setting that blends touches of Spanish hacienda architecture with mid-century modern décor and bohemian textiles. (Entrees range between €26 and €34.)

At Heart Ibiza in the Ibiza Gran Hotel, which opened in June, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté created three spaces combining music, cabaret, and cuisine. The Club features DJs, live music and Cirque du Soleil performances and light shows, while the Supper Club offers a similar experience, throwing in elements of art and gastronomy. Stroll through the third space, the Terrace, and you'll find a combination of cultures and cuisines served from the street food-style trolleys spread throughout the 16,000-square-foot space.

Sample the Nightlife

Whether or not you typically stay out all night, there's no denying that the party scene is part of the Ibiza experience. Days of the week don't matter, particularly in summer or in the nightlife centers of San Antonio and Playa d'en Bossa -- you're guaranteed a full-blown fête anywhere you go. If you're not big into nightlife, let Amnesia, built around a house dating back to the 18th century, be your "when in Rome" spot. The venue is now celebrating its 25th season on the club circuit, with its famous weekly parties like Cocoon on Mondays and Foam & Diamonds on Saturdays with Paris Hilton playing host (€45).

Want to go all out? Another favorite, though pricey, is Pacha, opening its doors here in 1973 and now featuring five rooms with music ranging from house to soul and lounge on the rooftop terrace. You can even turn your Pacha experience into a daytime event onboard the club's Turkish schooner, which sails around Ibiza and the nearby island of Formentera to the sound of house music (€130). Also part of the Pacha group, Lio in the Marina Botafoch is equal parts cabaret and restaurant, and shows off views of Ibiza Town lit up in the distance while guests sip their Champagne (set menu is €135).

Chill Out Near the Sea

One of the best ways to unwind and take part in an Ibiza ritual is by catching the sunset from "Sunset Strip" near San Antonio. Follow the music to one of the beach bars like Café Mambo (€12-€16 cocktails) or head up to Kumharas in the nearby Cala de Bou that still maintains the hippie vibe from the community that started the spot in the 80s (dishes from €15). Catch live percussion performances, African dance, or DJs as the sun goes down over Conejera Island in the distance.

There's also relaxing resort-style. The new four-star adults-only Sol Beach House by Melia next to Santa Eulalia and the hippie markets of Las Dalias and Es Canar features 239 rooms with pops of color from Desigual Living décor. Near a slew of beaches like Cala Nova and Cala Boix, the hotel also has two pools with seaside views and sunbeds scattered around. Rates start from €342 per night in summer for a beach house sea-front view, breakfast and WiFi included -- but drop to €250 in September and €155 in June. (The island more or less shuts down for tourism between October and early May.)

If you want to be close to the clubs but still have the comforts (and quiet) of a resort, the five-star Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa is another addition to the island, which opened this summer with 430 rooms. Even from a standard room you can catch sea views, but the best spot in the house is the master suite, with direct views of the water from the private roof terrace with its own Jacuzzi. Rates start from €356 per night in summer, dropping closer to €300 in September and June.

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