I’d never been to Ibiza before this trip. Why? Because it terrified me. Back in my heyday, I’d be that person that did an Irish goodbye in a super club after one too many vodka-riddled Blue Lagoon’s and end up passed out on the beach with a mouthful of sand, or failing that I wouldn’t even make it into the club because I’d lose at ring of fire several times at pre-drinks, forgetting that seven means heaven after my 90th tequila shot. Ibiza was never on the cards for me, thank goodness. However, finding myself in my mid-twenties, and a little more clued-up, (I use the word ‘little’ lightly), I, sheepishly, decided to give it a bash and see what all the fuss was about.
Bottle of tequila in hand and a ‘L’ sign on my back, I headed to the airport… I’m kidding, I had some decorum…
The hedonistic, yet heavenly island that is Ibiza has a swell of CV-worthy accolades that venture away from the garish lights and club beats of Ushuaia Beach Club and Pacha’s post-party pavement pukers. This island in fact oozes a myriad of attractions, as a haven for rhapsodic hedonists that boasts a tapestry of secluded coves and isolated beaches, sun-drenched shores, sleepy villages and gastronomic greatness, and I delved into its rich, pink-hued sky greatness on one sunny September weekend.
Our sanctuary for the 72-hours was the adults-only Barceló Portinatx, sitting on the northernmost point of Ibiza, a chic and incommunicado-esque area that swaps the thuds of Ibiza’s electronic music scene with the soothing whistles of waiting staff as they rustle you up a green smoothie. Pulling up at Barceló Portinatx doesn’t get more “I’m on holiday.” The Tetris like buildings glisten in white and the hotel lobby is punctuated with smiling staff and Prosecco-holding concierges. Like being in a snow globe, (‘cept it’s hot), Barceló Portinatx exists in a tranquil spot, enveloped by mountainous terrain that makes for idyllic sunset watching, and an ominous black and white lighthouse stands proudly nearby, a great place to hike to before you sink, slowly into your food-coma during a hearty buffet piling sesh.
Barceló Portinatx is part of a hugely successful Spanish hotel chain, of which I’d visited the Madrid outpost, 5-star Barceló Torre de Madrid. Whilst Madrid’s Jaime Hayón designed treasure trove flaunted statement pieces, contemporary tones of powder pinks, sage greens and slate greys, Barceló Portinatx is more subdued with chic beachy undertones and bohemian vibes, like an Ibiza take on Scandi. Santorini-esuqe white, blues and woods make up the common areas and, overall, the hotel delights with its luxurious simplicity. There are two pools, set on different levels, which flirtatious, inviting sun beds wrap around and, of course, there’s a bar to top up your passionfruit mojitos. Feel like going all Marbella pool-party? Position yourself on a Balinese sunbed and get ‘gramming!
The hotel also flaunts with a full-service, open-air spa in which I had one of the best massages like, ever, named Bronze Skin. Top it off with one of the spa’s flash tattoo offerings and you’ll be in full blown out-of-office mode. For the yogi’s, there’s also free hatha yoga to enjoy in the morning, na’mastaying in bed! Or, take part in a mindfulness meditation session. I did, and I started snoring on my mat mid-way through, an experience I believe I’ll never live down. Alas, I highly recommend. If sundowner drinks and a bit of live entertainment is more your bag then fear not, Barceló Portinatx wows with its eclectic roster of musical talent, performing most evenings and acting as a sure fire way of persuading you to buy “just one more” drink…
Somewhat labyrinth-like, Portinatx has 134-rooms in various parts of the property. My room was divine. It was so “OMG” that I mulled over whiling away my Ibiza hours without leaving its four walls. The attention-to-detail is undeniable, we’re talking Haribo-like sweets adorning the pillows (the perfect treat for party goers returning to rooms).
Rainfall showers with Bulgari amenities are rife and there’s a cosy sofa which I sat on for all of two-minutes, just to say I had! Muted colours meet linen, cotton and wicker, but you want for little else when you’ve got a bed that looks like a tub of Marshmallow Fluff. The balcony allows you to take in some of the sexiest sunsets going, as the blood reds of the fiery sun ball melt away to tie-dye the sky with pastel pinks and yellows. And, if you’re thinking of going extra-boujee, then you can opt for the room with a whirlpool tub and seaviews. Casual.
If all this is building up your appetite for a vacay, then how about the addition of a buffet to-die-for? Barceló Portinatx is a place you’ll never go hungry. The breakfast and dinner buffet intertwines quality with fervent variation with fresh salads, meats and cheese, fish in all flavours, wholesome hearty favourites and sugar-heavy desserts all available at the clink of your cutlery. Breakfast too gives you the health kick-up-the-butt you need before heading out to flash your new bikini in San Antonio. We’re talking smoothies bursting with five-a-day delights, moreish breads, hot food and Prosecco… you’re in Ibiza after all, darling!
Vodka shots and table dancing to one side, Ibiza has so much going on. Head to EMOVE and sit astride a chunky quad bike for a three-hour drive that’ll leave you slightly out of breath, full of adrenaline and with quite a bit of dust in your face. It’s epic – the EMOVE experience allows you to drive (or at least try to) to hidden nooks and crannies across the island, bumping and ricocheting across mounds and road twists to arrive at beach coves, coveted cliff edges and spots for sea dips.
Or move from land to sea and rent a rib, boat, lilo or whatever gets those sea legs a’wobbling. Barceló Portinatx resides just a hop, skip and a drink away from a pretty harbour where boat hire is the order of the day. We zoomed off on a speed boat-cum-rib like contraption that saw us flying across glistening waves to various coves, taking in the Ibizan coastline in all of its leafy glory. I even took a dip in the sea, something I never thought I’d do, but Ibiza has a funny way of making you footloose and fancy-free.
Fear not, our younger sides did break out at the mention of a beach club. Amante Ibiza is utterly stunning, dreamlike and fiery and a sensational spot for a glass of wine by the sea. The restaurant and wedding venue above the Sol Den Serra beach was a palm-tree laden Bohemian dream with cliffs illuminated by golden-hued lights, kinda like a pad James Bond would woo one of his Bond girls in…
And, on the subject of spellbinding cuisine spots, gastro garden bar Shamarkanda is a gem. I probably spent more time snapping photos than eating but I can highly recommend both. Just a quick taxi ride away from Barceló Portinatx, it’s a charming spot for date night or a gastronomic journey in which east and west come together to pamper all your senses. Food is presented exquisitely, with vibrant colours, edible flowers and punchy flavours making it an experience extraordinaire, all of which is rustled up in the Moon’s Kitchen where creativity blends with local product and a mindful selection of classic international dishes.
Leaving Ibiza hangover-free was one of my biggest triumphs to date… which probably says a lot about my triumphs to date. However, it’s now a dreamscape I hold dear, made especially special by the dear staff at Barceló Portinatx who were utterly amazing in every sense of the word, and the hotel itself which was flippin’ fantastic. And, whilst Mike Posner wouldn’t be proud of me, I’m proud of the incredible time I spent on the white isle. Until next time Ibiza…