Laid Back Ibiza

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by Leila Stocker

Amongst the Balearics, Ibiza is perhaps known best for its partying; however there is another side to the island, famous for its laid-back beach culture, rugged scenery and tranquil bars. As one of a group, who were far past our heady early twenties clubbing days, and with a 40th birthday to celebrate, we embarked on a few days of laid back sun on the white isle.

We booked flights through search site Momondo- where we found the cheapest tickets, and simple to use. Thankfully the flight from Stansted to Ibiza is short – at just over two hours – so check-in to beach time, is minimal. Arriving at around 8pm, our group was desperate to soak up the setting sun, so promptly dropped luggage and headed to Amante Beach Club – an all-encompassing venue in Santa Eulalia that caters for breakfast, drinks, sunbathing, meals, snacks and even yoga – day and night.

Amante Beach Club Ibiza

On arrival, we were blown away by the layout – the bar is set on several levels built into a cliff, which finishes at a pure white beach. Amante is run by David Piccioni, a Yorkshireman  who previously ran dance label Azuli and some of the most popular house nights in the lower east side of New York through the 80’s. The hand chosen, neutral soft furnishings blend effortlessly to the landscape around – and as we looked out, we also spotted the Amante logo impressively projected on to one of the cliffs. Chill-out music floated about, as gorgeous bods lazily sipped long cocktails on large white beanbags. Several cocktails down, I could safely say that Amante’s mojito was one of the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a few.

Next day, we were in the mood for an adventure, and had heard an urban myth about a hotel that sits in the clouds. With a bad map, a hire car -with limited air con, and few road signs, we persevered, until we found Hacienda Na Xemena – but boy was it worth the wait. Right at the top of the island in San Miguel, with vistas straight out of a James Bond flick, Hacienda was the first five-star hotel on the island. Built by a local architect, the property’s organic layout fits snugly into the mountain – making you wonder if it was always meant to be there.

A cool entrance awaited us, overlooking an atrium with rooms and bars leading off of it. A maze of winding spiral stairways and what appeared to be hidden doorways lead us to the pool area, where we promptly camped out. Then, the silence said it all – the whole group was mesmerized by the awe-inspiring view, as the sheer drop from two rugged mountains, to the right and left of the hotel, lead our eyes down to stunning azure waters. Yachts ferried to and fro, as we enjoyed tapas and sangria lazily from our daybeds. Laid back this certainly was.

Hacienda na Xamena – sunset

The hotel has taken the cloud concept literally into its design – little touches, such as the curved sun loungers which fit exactly 1.5 people to encourage intimacy, and the hotel’s fabulous Suspended Cascades – a series of seven saltwater pools set at different temperatures that bubble white foam, can’t fail to relax even the most stressed urbanite. Even the Hacienda’s new concept of eating they call ‘Fooding’- food with feeling, at restaurant Eden encourages connection with the senses. The hotel’s spa – La Posidonia – named after the seaweed found around Ibiza and neighboring island Formentera, also reflected the hotel – with winding corridors, Buddhas and oversized steam rooms, all designed to guarantee relaxation.

So feeling tranquil we left and headed south, to one of Ibiza’s newest gastronomic hot spots at Hotel Es Vive, close to Ibiza Town. The hotel is impressive – straight from South Beach; its Miami-inspired architecture is easy to spot on a relatively hidden of apartments and older hotels. In true vintage style guests need to ring the doorbell to gain access, but thankfully we had a reservation at Deco – the hotel’s ultra-cool restaurant. We chose to sit outside due to the heat, and we certainly weren’t disappointed with the cuisine (their chef is Argentinian). Delights included giant tiger prawns, gazpacho, faultlessly grilled sea bass, and a starter of foie gras crème Brule – which my friend assured me worked well, despite her initial reservations. The highlight of the meal however came as a recommendation from the lovely Cat Milton from Ibiza Spotlight – the Espresso Martini, shaken and frothed to perfection; this cocktail is so good it appears on Deco’s desert menu.

Deco at Es Vive

Deco at Es Vive

Day two involved a trip in the car to Blue Marlin – the famous beach bar and restaurant at Cala Jondal. During the day, Ibiza’s finest lounge on white day beds at this stunning venue – positioned in a cove where we spot several super-yachts moored up. However, the real reason holidaymakers flock here is the music. Laid back and ambient during the day and up-tempo in the evenings – Blue Marlin gets it just right for those who aren’t interested in the banging terraces of Space or Es Paradis anymore. CDs are on sale too, for those who want to take a taste of Blue Marlin back home with them. People-watching is key here – so with that in mind we ordered some Prosecco and settled on the beach. We learned we had dropped by on their busiest day – Sundays, which is useful to bear in mind if you are not a fan of crowds. We liked it so much though, we booked it again for dinner on our last night, which turned out to be a glamorous, delicious, drawn-out affair.

After the beach, and some much needed showers, we drove to the inland oasis that is KM5. Another ideal fab hang out for 30-somethings wanting a laid-back vibe, walking into KM5 feels like entering another world. Set inside high walls, KM5 boasts a bar shaped like a killer whale (sounds strange I know, but it works…), a restaurant, boutique and art gallery. Whilst there we dined on sumptuous Caprese Salads with pillow soft, fresh Burrata Pugliese – which we all agreed was a tastier version of mozzarella, Argentine Flank Steaks and Grilled Duck Confit – all impeccably cooked and presented. The homemade tiramisu we all chose for afters was so rich, creamy and fulfilling, it made us truly soporific – the way a good pud should.


Post dinner we relaxed on low sofas, whilst a DJ mixed chill-out beats, at just the right volume to chat. Ibiza Angels descended as if from heaven – the massage troupe founded in 2005 by former professional golfer Jonathan Thorpegood, who can now be found in the chicest bars both sides of the Atlantic. And Angels don’t charge – a clever marketing strategy – instead diners pay what they think the massage is worth. However the shoulder massage I had was so relaxing that needless to say, we paid generously…

KM5 is the sort of place that can be universally enjoyed – I’d be comfortable taking my younger, party-mad cousins here, or my parents – knowing full well that either would be enthralled. An Ibiza secret garden, I’m secretly hoping doesn’t become too popular…



Without a doubt, the coolest shop of island is Sluiz. Part art-gallery, part boutique, Sluiz blends a mix of high-end, retro and the slightly obscure, amidst art sculptures – such as an eight-foot wall of teddy bears, or a pillar made solely of books. There is a spa and the café’s not half bad too. You won’t miss the flagship store either – it sits in front of a field of life-size model black & white cows.


Set in a luxury villa in the stunning countryside of Ibiza, over a week the No 1 Boot Camp- Ibiza teaches an all-round balance in health, lifestyle, nutrition and fitness to maintain a healthy lifestyle for life. Leave lighter, happier and in optimum health.


PURE FORM is a collection of creative jewellers, who share the same passion for Ibiza. Pieces feature shimmering golds, brightly hued gems, hand-beaten silver and sparkling diamonds.


Watch the sun go down at Sunset Ashram at Cala Conta, a restaurant and bar with panoramic vistas. If you are lucky, you’ll bump into the lovely Jonny Lee, who plays a Balearic set there. Jonny’s UK Government-backed charity foundation Last night A DJ Saved My Life, helps humanitarian and environmental causes, through events which bring the music community together.

Flights to Ibiza in September 2012 start from just £80 return and hotels start from just £31 per night for room-only accommodation, for travel in September 2012 on Momondo (

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