There’s nothing I love more than to visit a new place which challenges my preconceptions.
Say the words ‘Ibiza’ and ‘holiday’ in the same sentence and the mind conjures up a plethora of obvious cliches and images, such as all-night raves and alcohol-fuelled partygoers on stag and hen parties.
And while you can still certainly enjoy a lost weekend of alcohol and music nirvana in some of the biggest and wildest clubs on the continent, this Balearic Island is now as much about culture, history, architecture, food and relaxation as it is about creating your own ‘The Hangover’-style film experience.
Ibiza is now rightfully a destination for all ages and sensibilities, full of charm, elegance and most importantly glorious sunshine and idyllic beaches, with a few surprises around every corner.
After boarding the inaugural British Airways flight from Manchester Airport we soon land on the historic island, and a 20-minute taxi ride later we arrive at the Palladium Hotel in Cala Llonga.
Set in the rocky cliffs overlooking the pristine Cala Llonga bay with its glacier clear waters, this adults-only four-star hotel is the perfect place from which to begin your island adventure.
Situated just outside the hustle and bustle of Ibiza Town, the hotel offers everything you could need after a long days exploration or indeed to keep yourself pampered and entertained on a lazy hot day.
Our first excursion was to the top of Ibiza’s ‘Old Town’ UNESCO World Heritage site which offers stunning panoramic views of the harbour, Mediterranean Sea and Ibiza’s breathtaking landscape – an essential spot for snapping your next social media profile or cover picture.
After navigating our way down through the maze of narrow, winding, cobbled streets (sensible shoes are recommended) we arrive at the centre of Ibiza Town itself.
This is a Mecca for shopping with everything from international brands and talented young designers to unique handcrafted pieces and markets with stalls that are like small trend laboratories.
If the stunning scenery is a feast for the eyes then the fantastic mixed aromas of sumptuous local cuisine, the fresh sea air and the perennial smell of pine trees will have your other senses tingling.
Those who love to ‘people watch’ will also be in their element here with dozens of bars and restaurants and little hideaways along the sea front to watch the world slowly go by.
One of Ibiza’s hottest new attractions is Europe’s first Hard Rock Hotel.
The five-star resort, set on the pale sands of Playa d’en Bossa beach, has become a hotspot for celebrities and worldwide personalities and boasts an impressive array of rock star touches, hallmarks and iconic memorabilia.
The hotel is also home to Ibiza’s highest rooftop terrace – The Ninth – which is a classy, chic sky lounge with spectacular views of the coastline and is the perfect vantage point from which to take in the magnetic sunsets and burning skylines. Standing in The Ninth, so high off the ground and surrounded by flawless blue sea and skies, really makes you feel like you are flying through the air or floating in the middle of the ocean.
If you want to taste the best Spanish cuisine that the island has to offer then get suited and booted and head to the new Tatel restaurant on the ground floor of the Hard Rock Hotel.
Tatel has the atmosphere and decor of a 1920s speakeasy, but with the eclectic charm and lively buzz of a Spanish restaurant.
The food is absolutely to die for with unparalleled levels of service and attention to detail. This is an absolute ‘must see’ destination and worthwhile treat for any holidaymaker. After an evening of wining and dining, what better way to help the body revitalize than a relaxing massage and spa treatment at the Hard Rock Hotel’s very own lavish Rock Spa?
Starting off with a heavenly hour-long ‘Synchronicity’ full-body massage, visitors can then immerse themselves in the indulgent and healing offerings of the Spa’s aqua circuit featuring various thermal pools, saunas and spa tubs.
If you are wanting to sample the world-renowned party atmosphere that Ibiza has to offer before heading back to the UK then right next door to the Hard Rocket Hotel is the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel – home to some of the worlds biggest DJs. This is the place to be seen for the fashionista crowd and is the ultimate hedonistic party venue pit stop for revellers.
Situated by the sea is the Ushuaïa Beach Club, which is part of the hotel and is an A-list hangout featuring some of the most beautiful men and women on the island. However, the attraction isn’t only skin deep with the club offering a tantalizing menu of food and drink to while away your day.
How to book
Standard rooms at the four-star adults-only Palladium Hotel Cala Llonga (palladiumhotelgroup.com) are priced from €127 per night all-inclusive based on two people sharing.
Deluxe silver rooms at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza are priced from €228 per night bed and breakfast based on two people sharing.
The Ninth, located on the rooftop of Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, is open every day from 7pm to 2am during the summer season.
The thermal water and relaxation area at the Rock Spa (hrhibiza.com/spa.htm) is priced at €20 for guests and €40 for non-guests. Tatel Ibiza (tatelrestaurants.com/ibiza) at the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza and is open daily from 7pm to 3am.