Head for Ibiza this year to uncover one of the most popular chilled-out beach holiday destinations
The Spanish island’s reputation has changed considerably over the past decade – from a teenager’s party destination to one of the most upmarket places to holiday in Europe – and nowhere is this more evident than at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay.
Our room, one of 152 beautiful rooms and suites here, had equally spectacular sea views from the balcony, while inside the decor was based on a palette of soft teal, cream and hints of gold.
We loved the marble en suite, with its amazing rain shower, too.
Our first stop, after settling in, was the pool, where we reclined on daybeds and sipped welcome champagne. It was hard to believe we were on Europe’s most famous party island, just a mile from where hedonists gather in Ibiza Town.
Ibiza has apparently come a long way from its party holiday reputation
But it’s easy to avoid the crowds if you’re looking for a relaxed break away from it all. We climbed the steps that rose above the harbour and into the old quarter, Dalt Vila (meaning ‘high town’), and explored the narrow, winding cobbled streets.
The views from here were magnificent and we found an outside table for a leisurely dinner, watching the Ibiza nightlife buzz below us.
The next morning, we rose early and, with some difficulty, tore ourselves away from the beautiful morning views to explore the rest of Talamanca Bay by kayak, with a small group.
Our guide, Pau, put us in a two-man kayak and took us into a cave, where he taught us how to paddle and enthusiastically pointed out rare birds and beautiful rock formations. We also visited secluded beaches, which popped up around each rocky corner, where we could relax and swim in the clear shallow waters.
Having had a small taste of the White Isle (so called because of the predominance of its white houses), we headed to the north of the island, to Cala Nova.
As we emerged from the trees, we gasped again at the views over the turquoise, sparkling sea.
It’s a hidden gem with a relaxed vibe, where you’re unlikely to see any wild party animals from Ibiza Town. Lunch spots have popped up here on the cliff tops and we spent a glorious, wind-swept afternoon dining at Aiyanna.
Its barefoot, beach club feel and endless ocean views, warm sea breeze and stylish decor bowled us over, as did the food – traditional Spanish black rice and local caught cuttlefish.
Ibiza’s Cala Nova has a relaxed and hidden feel to it
On the way back, we stumbled upon the little town of Santa Eulalia des Riu, where, on the main square of Plaza Espanya, we sat watching the locals go about their daily life.
Here, you can dine on traditional tapas and wine for a mere €15.
Back at Nobu, food comes into its own, though, which shouldn’t be a surprise as the luxury, fine-dining chain is famous for its Japanese fusion restaurants. But before our last night began at their wonderful restaurant, we decided to indulge at the hotel’s Six Senses spa, which offers everything from anti-ageing treatments to personalised massages.
I chose the latter, which sent me into a Zen-like state, before popping into the on-site John
Frieda salon, where stylist Jeffrey Elie gave me beach-like waves.
It was the perfect hairstyle for the chic Japanese restaurant, undeniably one of the main draws of the hotel, which has a more Mediterranean-influenced menu than its London sister hotel, to suit the destination.
We chose the famous black cod miso and yellowtail sashimi while sitting on the open terrace, and afterwards headed for the pool bar – the perfect people-watching spot – where we tried cocktails from the endless drinks menu.
Ibiza may still have its super clubs, but there’s another side to the island for those looking for a peaceful break. We left feeling relaxed and recharged.
Ibiza’s other side is a stark contrast to its clubbing exterior
EeasyJet flies from Bristol, Belfast International, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Southend and London Stansted to Ibiza, up to seven days per week, with prices starting from £22.68 per person (one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking).
All flights can be booked at easyjet.com.
Rates at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay – a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World – start from €490 (approximately £425) per night, based on double occupancy.
Visit nobuhotel ibizabay.com.
Kayak Ibiza (kayak-ibiza.com) offers kayaking tours from €45 per person
(€25 for children) for a three-hour tour. Kayak Ibiza also offers romantic Sunset and family tours.
Go kayaking in Ibiza for a new perspective
10 things to do in Ibiza
1 Head to Cala Nova in the north of the island for turquoise waters and undiscovered beaches.
2 Eat at Aiyanna Ibiza, overlooking Cala Nova, for the best traditional Spanish black rice dish and spicy mussels this side of the island.
3 Experience the Can Curreu Spa at Hotel Rural, nestled in the north and providing a peaceful retreat.
4 Eat at local hotspot Can Terra in Ibiza Town and fill up with classic pinchos and a glass of the finest local wine for a very reasonable €2. Get there before 8pm to avoid queuing.
5 A lavish dinner at Nobu (pictured right) can’t be missed while you’re staying at the hotel. Try the famous black cod miso.
6 While away an afternoon listening to chilled house music with a view over the ever-sparkling sea at The Jockey Club on Salinas beach.
7 Try the drink of Ibiza, hierbas, an aniseed-flavoured liqueur made from herb and plant extracts. It was first developed by the monks of the island and is still made here.
8 Head to the town of Santa Eulalia des Riu on the east coast. The main square, Plaza Espanya, is where you’ll find Restaurante Royale, where three delicious tapas dishes and a glass of wine costs just €15.
9 Kayak around the island to find secluded beaches and caves under the cliffs.
10 For a night out, Pacha is just stumbling distance from Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay.