Known for its legendary party scene as well as its relaxed bohemian vibe, there are other sights and sides to Ibiza, a destination firmly rooted on the travel circuit of global nomads. Firstly, the island is steeped in history—it is home to a civilisation that predates the Phoenicians, has a UNESCO-recognised walled citadel town, as well as pristine white beaches fringed by cliffs and caves rich with tales of ancient gods and goddesses. Ibiza also has a home-grown fashion style known as "Ab Lib", a look that's a hybrid of luxury and boho-chic popular with the well-heeled set who spend long summer days in cheerful chiringuitos (beach clubs) along Ibizan shores. The more tranquil and bucolic northern and eastern parts attract families and an artistic crowd who draws inspirations from the natural vegetation of the island for their work.
There's also always something new to discover. The opening of Nobu Ibiza Bay Hotel this summer plugs a demand in Ibiza’s luxury hotel scene, its arrival is right on time given that flights into Ibiza by private jet increased by 90 per cent in 2017. The hotel's design concept embraces the island's carefree spirit; it also brings the world-famous (and jetset favourite) Nobu restaurants into La Isla Blanca . Here’s the scoop on what the regulars do on this established—and enduring—holiday destination:
(Related: Tatler Checks Into... Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay)
Experience the Finca life
Besides the Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay’s, the latest gamechanger in Ibiza’s hotel scene in terms of design and upping the luxe factor, there are also farmhouses for rental. Whitewashed stone estates called fincas—some possibly centuries old—can be found outside the city centre of Eivissa. Some have been gloriously restored with 21st century mod cons. Surrounded by olive groves, almond and fig trees, many of these fincas are immensely popular with the jetset, proffering a bohemian shabby-chic feel that just spells relaxation.
Book a finca here.
All about lounging
Chiringuitos (bar/restaurant) are where many in Ibiza while away their days. You can find plenty along the beaches like at Las Salinas beach, which is always buzzing. Start at Sa Trinxa, a hippy, happy place before moving on to do some stargazing at the Jockey Club, where the party set knocks back pop magnums just as the sun sets. If you take a while to warm up, get to know friendly owner Oliver Lanzoni for an induction into the scene.
Learn about island style
To look like an Ibiza regular, shop at Las Noches Ibiza. While the French expat owners, known only as Eric and Jack are not the most friendly (but the sales assistants are), they understand the feminine form very well. A flamenco-inspired maxi dress cinched at the waist and ruffled at the hem with layers of froufrou underneath may sound weird and look rather OTT, it flatters the figure and also makes you stand out.
For a twist on traditional Ibizan jewellery, check out Elisa Pomar, a fourth generation local designer. While Pomar is not internationally known, she is a familiar name in the Spanish and Italian high society circles (Note: Dolce & Gabbana has collaborated with her for a show). Pomar takes apart the traditional emprendada—a set of jewellery including 24 rings to mark a milestones in an Ibizan woman’s life—and updates them in such a way that they retain their unique look and are wearable at the same time.
Dine and dance the night away
For grub that fires your imagination, dine at Sa Brisa, a gastro bar that gives a quirky twist on classics like the American hot dog served on a toy dog. Except it’s not a frankfurter but squid with kimchi and lime mayonnaise. It’s one of the hottest tables in town right now, so get your hotel concierge to book ahead. If late night dining is your thing, book a table at Lio, a restaurant and cabaret that provides entertainment that sometimes borders on cheeky and erotic but always in good humour. It keeps a rather posh crowd (many stay at their super yachts moored at super-luxe Marina Botafoch) happy and have them kicking off their heels to dance and sing along as the night wears on.
Relax and recharge
Es Cucons is a 17th-century Provencal-styled agrotourismo (farmhouse turned hotel) tucked further inland towards the west of the island. While the rustic 16-room finca surrounded by almond trees and wild flowers is well-maintained and oozing with charm, the biggest draw here is the in-house spa, which is highly rated by most A-listers. The therapists are some of the best on the island, offering myriad treatments running the gamut from Ayurvedic to Thai style. Meditation and yoga classes are also available.
Soak in the spirituality
For travellers who enjoy folklore or just want a respite from high octane partying, a trip to Es Vedra, a limestone outcrop on the secluded side of the south coast is recommended. Due to the wealth of mineral deposits here, many visitors have reported a strong magnetic pull. The more sensitive (or imaginative) type attribute it to something spiritual—a link they may be quick to make due to a local legend. It’s believed that Tanit, a Carthaginian love and fertility goddess resides there and still grants wishes to the faithful. It’s also said that Es Vedra is the “Island of Sirens” where Odysseus of Homer’s Iliad was lured from his ship.
Directly opposite to it is the cove, Atlantis on Cala d’Hort. Here you can see a labyrinth of caves with rock carvings and paintings, including one of Shiva, which no one knows when it was made. The allure of Atlantis is probably enhanced by its inaccessibility—you can only get there by boat, and then you have to make your way down a steep and treacherous slope.
Besides the myths, the formations on the sandstone cliffs caused by man who used chunks of them for building Dalt Vila, the Unesco world heritage site of Old Town of Ibiza in the city centre, are a sight to behold.