The draw of the white island of Ibiza is well-documented. Holidaymakers have been flocking in their droves since the early 60s, and the island has evolved into an oasis for wellness and pleasure seekers alike. In recent years, however, Ibiza has been on a re-branding mission to shake off the more unsavoury vestiges from its 90s and 00s nightlife culture. Now, in 2023, it is well and truly a mix of both worlds. Once a footnote on travel guides, the island’s golden sands, crystal clear waters, and heady sunsets take centre stage — and of course, there’s always San Antonio and its dizzying array of world-class clubs. Some may say it has it all…
Read on for HUNGER’s tried and tested recommendations.
Where to stay… Pikes Ibiza, San Antonio, from around £420 per night
Few institutions take on legendary status, and even fewer can maintain that for almost half a century; but Pikes Ibiza lives up to its larger-than-life reputation. The hotel, better known as a hedonistic playground for stars like George Michael (who filmed Wham’s iconic Club Tropicana video on its grounds) remains an exclusive, bohemian hideaway for those who want a taste of the Ibiza of yore. Seemingly everyone has stayed at Pikes, including Freddie Mercury, who hosted his infamous 41st birthday party there (the room has since been converted into the venue’s resident club ‘Freddie’s’), as well as Grace Jones, Tony Curtis, Spandau Ballet… The list goes on. And sure, as you’re navigating its winding paths, cubby holes, its bubblegum pink tennis court, in all of its eccentric glory, it almost does seem untouched by time, save for some tasteful refurbishments for modern-day sensibilities.
The rooms themselves are a talking point. Each of the 25 boasts some quirk; like a sunken bathtub, a hobbit hole door, or when it came to HUNGER’s Garden Suite, a giant painting of Grace Jones. Earlier this year, Pikes announced a major refurb, which saw eight of the hotel’s original bedrooms and external spaces undergo refurbishment. It was likely a concern for many of the hotel’s loyal clientele, but interior designer Lucinda Swayne did a fine job with ensuring that the refurb stayed true to Pikes’ identity. In any case, you won’t be spending lots of time in your room — soak up the atmosphere and down some cocktails at the Club Tropicana pool, before heading to Freddie’s at night. Pink and boasting many disco balls, it’s sweaty, and a gloriously good time. The likes of Jamie XX and Fatboy Slim have DJd here, and it’s true that every day at the hotel, be it a Monday or a Sunday, erupts into a party. The next day, recover from your thumping headache at the on-site restaurant Pamela’s, which serves up fry ups and sausage rolls (Pikes’ founder, Tony, who passed away in 2019, was a Brit, and nearly every bit as famous as his clientele). Check out Pamela’s for dinner too for good food and excellent service. This is a hotel that seems imbued with the same magic that created a buzz around it in the 70s, but caters effortlessly to needs, and whims, of modern travellers — it’s a 10/10 from us.
INNSiDE by Meliá Ibiza, San Antonio, from around £200 per night
INNSiDE by Meliá Ibiza has become quite the tourist haunt, and for good reason; it has everything you could want at hand. Large, spacious rooms with modern amenities? Tick. A rooftop bar and pool with an array of resident DJs? Tick. Dining options for hungover mornings and pre-sesh drinks? Tick. The hotel is located in the heart of San Antonio, making it perfect for those wanting to make the most of the island’s nightlife, but where other hotels skimp on the extras, this location doesn’t. The rooms provide extra touches of luxury such as free mini bar offerings, king-sized beds, bath and waterfall shower combos, and there are also brilliant breakfast and lunch offerings. After taking a dip in the pool or the sea, enjoy some rotisserie chicken or BBQ burgers from La Chickeria, the island’s concept chicken restaurant. While it may seem a little on the nose, the food is great, and the perfect way to line your stomach before what will inevitably transpire to be a Big Night on the town.
Hotel Riomar, Santa Eulalia, from around £330 per night
This stunning beachfront hotel, set on the white sands of Santa Eulalia bay, offers a relaxing odyssey for those who are looking to discover the calmer side of the island. The boutique hotel, which is the oldest in the town, recently had a revamp upon joining Marriot’s Tribute Portfolio and now features 116 rooms — a handful of which boast the best sea-view in the Santa Eulalia. Ideal for couples and small groups of friends, the Riomar will be a sure draw to tastemakers with its elegant decor and nods to mid-century design; think of it as Ibiza’s laid-back aesthetic meets Soho House. Notable amenities include the bar, which serves up a fantastic Negroni, and the bar terrace, which offers an ample sized continental breakfast until 11:30 AM each morning. If you’re tapping into the island’s focus on wellness, make sure you earn your first meal by attending one of their complimentary yoga or Bootcamp classes.
Of course, no hotel would be complete without a pool, and the Hotel Riomar’s is one to write home about. With attentive waiting staff and a revolving door of resident DJs, park yourself on one of the giant daybeds (or their shaded teepees) with a book and a cocktail. And if you’re after a dip in the sea, then you can be rest assured that there will be no tussle for sunbeds on the Riomar’s private stretch of beach. Finally, wrap up the day with dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Ocean Brasserie, which serves up simple yet delicious, local-sourced fare. Equal parts chic and luxurious, our verdict is that the Hotel Riomar is the perfect base if you’re after a relaxing stay on the Balearic island, away from the height of the revelry.
Casa Maca, Ibiza Old Town, from around £299 per night
Casa Maca is a truly unique restaurant with rooms in a stunning rural location that looks across Ibiza’s picturesque Old Town and the sea beyond. Set in a 300-year-old farmhouse, the hotel welcomes diners and guests like a family home. If you’re looking for fine cuisine you must experience the open-air grill restaurant where you’ll find fresh meat from the world’s best suppliers, alongside fish and farm-grown vegetables hanging over an open fire.
All 10 newly redesigned suites are dotted around the tranquil garden and share the stunning Old Town views. The new design sees a neutral palette that combines natural materials with design touches like polished concrete floors and bespoke carpentry to create a cool, calm space in which to relax. Guests can also unwind with glorious in-suite massages, treatments and private yoga classes within the grounds or if you’re on the more adventurous side why not go on a guided hike in the rugged Ibizan countryside?
Where to party… Ibiza Rocks‘ 2023 offering
If you want to go full throttle into the island’s nightlife scene, there’s no quicker route than with one of Ibiza Rocks’ infamous pool parties. Seemingly the bedrock of what was going to become Love Island culture, the venue has been churning out great nights for everyone since 2005. This year, they will be opening their doors to some of the biggest names in rap, grime, house, garage, bass and techno, including Ardee, Digga D, Aitch, Headie One, and Becky Hill. We, of course, had to attend one of Craig David’s TS5 sessions, but make sure to check out the brand new Fire in The Pool residency, which will give UK rap a permanent home on the island, as well Nathan Dawes’ slot for all your bass, garage and house needs. View the full lineup for summer ‘23 here.
Where to eat… La Torre, San Antonio
Nestled up on the rocks, overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Hostal La Torre is almost cinematic in its beauty. We paid a visit at sunset, overlooking the waves as the famous island sunset came down over our candlelit dinner. The food is your typical Ibizan fare — expect Spanish classics done well, but the real winner here is the view. If you bring the right company, you might just end up having one of the most romantic nights of your year.
For some of the most beautiful views across the island and unbeatable luxury service, you can’t go wrong with Cotton Beach Club. While prices may be steep, it’s most definitely worth it for the chic, white furnishings, and the quality of food and hospitality. It’s Ibiza, of course, so there’s often live music in the form of a DJ or a saxophone player, but what really takes centre stage after two visits to Cotton Beach Club is the food and the ambience created by the beautiful scenery below. Two years in a row, we dined on the burrata salad and the octopus, which was divine, as well as the chef’s sushi selection, which you really cannot go wrong with. Gaze down on the beach-goers below with a crisp glass of Rosé, then jump straight into the sea afterwards. Pure bliss.
Vé Cafe: In recent years, Ibiza has been shedding some of its partying reputation for a more wellness-based approach. The result is a slew of eateries with a similar ethos to Vé Cafe. The plant-based restaurant is the town’s destination for community lifestyle, what with their focus on sustainable, and seasonal produce-driven food. Perch on their sprawling Mediterranean-inspired patio to mop up the excesses of the night before with meat-free burgers and salad bowls. But don’t leave without sampling their standout hummus and warm pitta — it may just be the best we’ve ever had…
La Paloma has rightly earned is title as the island’s most popular restaurant. Based in San Lorenzo, a small village in the middle of the island, diners are invited to feast on locally-sourced food in a lush candlelit garden, surrounded by the scent of citrus trees and Ibiza’s native vegetation. The menu changes weekly, and is brought out to diners on a giant easel. Inspired by the cuisine of Italy, the staples include at least two pasta dishes, one meat-based and the other vegetarian. We loved the pappardelle with a ragu of beef and duck.
One of the Santa Eulalia’s buzziest offerings, Chiringuito Blue encapsulates the Balearic island’s luxurious side to a tee. Overlooking the bay, there’s a DJ (inevitably playing some variation of tropical house), and a menu that is a “journey of flavours” around the Mediterranean, courtesy of Tel Aviv chef, Haim Cohen. Our highlights included very decadent ‘Joselito’ ham croquettes, Cantabrian anchovy fillets, and for mains: the seabass shawarma, josper roasted aubergine, tomato and radish.
If you fancy pushing the boat out, you’re guaranteed to impress with a reservation to the W hotel’s La Llama. The immersive gastronomic experience offers all your fine dining stalwarts with an Israeli twist, thanks to head chef, Eitan Doron, who commands his expert team from the open kitchen. Start with a cocktail (or three) and work your way through the excellent starters and mains. The real standout here is their excellent selection of meat cuts; we recommend the Tomahawk Buey, if you really want to treat your date… Afterwards, if you fancy it, pop down to the W’s club, below, for a late-night boogie. The town’s finest fixers are putting on weekly events at the location in a bid to shake up Santa Eulalia’s sleepy reputation.