When it’s all gone Pete Tong, why not lift your spirits with the all-essential clubbing weekend in Ibiza?
Either I am in the throes of a mid-life crisis or I’m having a flashback to my first parent-free holiday back in the Eighties. Whichever it is, I seem to have found myself on a 6am flight to Ibiza with a hundred clubbers plus a handful of silver-haired ladies who have no idea what they’ve let themselves in for.
Ibiza, known to the hedonistic youth as the White Isle, has been popular with visitors for more than three decades. From the 18-30s crowd who frequent the karaoke bars of Playa d’en Bossa and San Antonio to those with a touch more style (and plenty more cash) who come for the world-famous mega-clubs, the glorious beaches and the oh-so glamorous lifestyle, it seems no-one is immune to Ibiza’s decadent charm.
I take a 15-minute cab ride from Ibiza airport to one of the island's quieter and more unassuming resorts, Talamanca Bay. Cool, umbrella-d restaurants flank a crescent of perfectly beige beach; some boast lounging facilities (calico sofas, freshly-mixed cocktails and soft, sweet chill-out music) whereas others flog huge pans of saffron-fragranced paella and pints of ice-cold San Miguel to the theme of the Alphabeat party mix.
The Victoria Hotel sits with a cluster of similar hotels at the far end of the beach and offers remarkable value for a three-star hotel on this notoriously expensive island. My third-floor room is both spick and span and has fantastic views overlooking the bay. The crumbling fort of Ibiza Town shimmies with heat in the distance and looks even more angelic in the moonlight.
Although cabs are fairly reasonable and quick, the exclusive Marina Botafoch is a 10-minute walk from Talamanca Beach and is filled to the brim with shiny white cruisers (both the sea-bound and the two-legged kind). From here it’s a short hop to Ibiza Town on a €3 taxi-boat.
So far, this is all quite civilised, and far from the pounding bass of Ibiza that I was expecting. A fresh seafood lunch by the shore and a few glasses of sangria are taken in preparation for this evening’s clubbing in the more riotous resort of Playa d’en Bossa. As well as boasting the longest beach on the island, the resort is home to officially the best club in the world, Space.
The ‘We Love Space on Sunday’ party is the island’s biggest weekly club night. At €60 each, the tickets are not cheap, but you certainly get your money’s worth. Doors open at 4.30 in the afternoon and the world’s top DJ’s play until dawn. With seven rooms in all, there is plenty for every musical taste; if the heavy bass of the Terraza gets too much, check out Alfredo in El Salon (the granddaddy of the Balearic club scene) and he’ll play you some 80s classics to shake your tail feather to.
Ibiza Town has a whole host of crumbly-walled history but there is no getting away from the island's main attraction, clubbing. An abundance of disco regalia is on offer so there’s no need to bring your whistles and glow sticks from home. Bars are aplenty, most of them shuttered by day, yet heaving and lively at night. It's also great for shopping. Spanish chains such as Zara and Mango have outlets here as well as the more exclusive Pacha shop, where guilt-ridden mothers (like me) can buy their offspring extortionately priced Pacha T-shirts and cherry-emblazoned hoodies to make up for the fact their parents have gone clubbing for the weekend.
Despite its hedonistic reputation, Ibiza is not all about the clubbing, although it is a large part of the island’s attraction. If you are looking for something a little bit different, book a table at Bambuddha Grove just outside Santa Eulalia. This exotic, tantric-inspired MediterrAsian restaurant has a secret, saucier side. The onsite shop, The Tantra Boutique, offers an array of sensual (in a battery-operated kind of way) products, illustrations and underwear, all of which the staff are more than happy to demonstrate and advise on. Of course, I went for the fabulous food and innovative cocktail!
Ibiza has an exclusive charm that is very appealing, and it’s easy to see why people return year after year. As for the silver-haired ladies, I’m sure I saw them dance their way on to the plane with huge grins and Tantra Boutique bags...