Back to the Island – Hotel OD Talamanca, Ibiza
Nostradamus predicted that ‘Ibiza will be the Earth’s final refuge’, because apparently even a small thing like Armageddon can’t stop the fun. And if you’re looking for an escape from the real world, Ibiza has it all: sunset sundowners and disco sunrises, lairy bar crawls and every kind of nightclub. The communal fungasm on the White Isle never ends. That is, until October when the crowds vaporise and the loudest sing-a-long you’ll hear is from the sparrows in Nikki Beach’s palm trees.
But in a few moments, the evening air here on Ibiza’s Southern coast will turn a fiery orange, the techno beats will build and scores of women wearing almost identical vagina-length dresses will emerge mysteriously from the yacht-loaded waters surrounding Blue Marlin’s jetty. They weave through the bikini-clad day-crowd, while hot males in pressed white shirts and eye-wateringly tight shorts puff their chests and pop €150-bottles of Moet. Blue Marlin is (if you like this sort of thing) the definition of how to live it up Ibiza-VIP-style, and the fun barometer is about to go sky-high.
The buzz that surrounds Blue Marlin is legitimate. The beach bar has been firing on all cylinders from it’s fashionable spot at Cala Jondal Bay for ten years, providing day and night dining for Ibiza’s yacht owners and glitterati. As the daiquiris flow and the Euro music gets under your skin there’s a certain magic to being in a giant open-air, bottle-serviced prime sliver of beach real-estate. Celebrities can kick back without being bothered which could explain why Prince William, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Moss and Lewis Hamilton have all chosen to party here.
We make it back to our hotel by sunrise. Despite the deluge of three-star, self-catering high-rises in San Antonio, Ibiza is mostly expensive and well-stocked with boutique villas and luxury hotels. In a bid to dissuade the package-tours, Ibiza’s government has ruled that all new hotels must be five star. Concepts that are deemed permissible include the ‘agrotourismos’ (revamped farmhouses), the chic rural retreats and the glitzy beach hotels where the serious revelers are off their heads all day, every day. We’re testing out the island’s newcomer: Hotel OD Talamanca. Modern, unostentatious and chic, the place is close to the clubs in Ibiza Town (Pacha is about a ten minute stroll/stagger) but is refreshingly quiet – an elegant refuge from the craziness simultaneously taking place elsewhere on the island.
OD Talamanca is the third luxury hotel to come from island entrepreneur Marc Rahola Matutes. It’s got that slight business-feel, in a world where important business partners may or may not wind up in a gyrating throng under a forty-foot LED screen a few hours later. Billing itself as a hub of ‘state of the art’ technology we don’t see much evidence of this but there are other perks: book a loft room and a Smart Cabrio car is included. Book a duplex suite – with a vast terrace and private pool – and you get a Smart ForFour car and a kitchen with a service door for your private chef.
The hotel is decked out with expensive furnishings and textiles in a retro style that still connects with its Ibizan roots: simple lines, smooth surfaces and geometric shapes. The two pools, one dark and one light, are uncrowded, perhaps because of the hotels proximity to Talamanca beach, perhaps because it’s the first week the hotel has been open, but we relish the solitude. Breakfasts are relaxed and plentiful. Caviar, fresh fruits, and eggs done any way you want them. The dinner menu is a health-conscious crossover of European and Asian cuisine, a welcome antidote to the week’s excesses.
If fresh and inventive cuisine is what you’re after then the ‘Japeruvian’ menu at La Gaia is worth experiencing. Installed off the lobby of the five-star Gran Hotel, the restaurant is modern and tranquil. La Gaia’s food is skilfully prepared and impeccably flavoured. We try the taster menu and each dish could be mistaken for one of the hotel’s modern art installations. Japanese and Peruvian flavours are an inspiring fusion; highlights include the honey-glazed black cod tamal and octopus anticucho with creamy mashed sweet potato. Gran Hotel itself is home to Ibiza’s Casino but despite its Vegas-esque proportions it pulls off a cool avant-garde style. Even the Casino is subtly muted – no mean feet.
Ibiza is trying to clean up its image. A visit to San Antonio might expose the island’s sleazier side: strips of naff bars typically attracting brawling Brits and groups of hen parties sucking on cock-and-balls lollipops; a bit more Vengaboys than Café del Mar. But that’s a small part. Away from the resorts you can wander bohemian markets and cycle among the hills that inspired Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd and can still glimpse what the island once was: a balmy paradise where hippies and beatniks gathered to listen to music and muse on the world’s wrongs. And get high on copious amounts of drugs. But however which way you want to cut loose, you might as well get a head start before the prices really rocket. Or the End of the World crashes the party.
Standard rooms range from 230€ to 450€ per room per night depending on season including WiFi access, soft drinks minibar, services charges and tax. For more information and to book, visit www.odtalamanca.com.
To book a table at La Gaia, visit www.ibizagranhotel.com or call the Ibiza Gran Hotel on T +34 971 806 806.