Tell anyone you’re going to Ibiza, and you’ll invariably get one of four reactions: surprise (as in, “we didn’t know you liked partying until 6am”), nostalgia (as in, “I remember when I was there in the ‘70s”), envy (white sand, warm Mediterranean waters…) or a blank stare (“Ibi-huh?”).
The third largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Ibiza measures only 40km across but is well-known for packing it with hedonistic summer parties. I’ve seen this side of the island before, having spent two days on my first trip there in 2009 battling the hangover of the century. The culprit? The Space opening, a party for 25,000 that marks the start of the summer club season.
But on my most recent visit, I did the island up classy, the way Ibiza regulars like Jade Jagger, Sienna Miller or Kate Moss might (okay, maybe not Kate).
First stop: The Hotel Aguas de Ibiza, arguably the island’s most swish property. Located in Santa Eulària, a 20-minute drive north of San Antonio (read: far away from thumping house beats), the hotel is understated on the outside; immaculate, well-kept, and undeniably stylish inside. The highlight of my room: blackout blinds that open to amazing views of the pool and the harbor beyond.
After a quick scan of the BBC news on the Bang & Olufsen TV, I head out to visit a few of my favorite Ibiza spots. First up: Sluiz, an interior design store that recently consolidated its two stores into one gigantic space in Santa Gertrudis. It’s hard to resist splurging on colorful, hand-embroidered ottomans, crocheted bikinis, and all variety of tchotchkes, but the thought of trying to fit them into my carry-on deters me.
Next, I head to Es Cavallet, my favorite beach in Ibiza. It’s officially a nudist beach, but then again, what beach in Spain isn’t at least topless? In May, Ibiza isn’t yet the furnace it’ll become in August, but the Spanish do love their sun, and the beach is already dotted with golden hardbodies.
It only takes me a day to relax into the Ibicencan pace of life. Even at Zara—hey, when in Spain—the salespeople are more relaxed. I also love the fact that dinner is hardly ever before 9:30pm (my favorite place: SA Botiga in Ibiza Town), which means after that a day spent shopping and sunning, you can still head home to freshen up before going out for the night. La vida es buena, no?