What comes to mind when you think of Ibiza? Party capital of Europe and a clubbers paradise are surely two descriptions that are instantly recalled.
True, the island is home to some of the best clubs in the world where top international DJs appear through the summer season, more of which we will discover later. Look a little deeper and there is plenty more to discover from secluded coves with turquoise sea, small unspoiled villages to one of the Mediterranean’s most scenic small capitals – Ibiza town.
The walled upper town – Dalt Vila, first settled by the Phoenicians and today topped by a sturdy Gothic cathedral and castle provides a fantastic view over the lower town and harbour. The climb up to the old town is quite steep so sensible shoes with a good grip are recommended, there are plenty of bars and restaurants on the way up to the summit for refreshments.
Parking in Ibiza town is not easy, with too many cars and not enough parking spaces it is better to visit on one of the many boat trips that serve the town from most of the main resorts dotted around the island. Many cruise ships also visit the Capital, making it very busy with their passengers- far better to visit when no cruise liners are in dock.
Stepping into the huge Hi nightclub in Playa D’en Bossa reminded me of the huge super-clubs that dominated the house music scene back in the nineties, anyone who remembers Gatecrasher in Sheffield, Tall Trees at Yarm or Sankay Soaps in Manchester will know what I mean. It all felt like returning home to the spiritual house of dance music.
Arriving at Ibiza airport you cannot fail to see the huge billboards proclaiming that Hi has been voted the best club in the world. Whether you agree or not, you cannot fail to be impressed by the superb sound system that the club has.
One thing you might not be too impressed by is the steep bar prices which prevail in all the big clubs in Ibiza, think €13 for a bottle of water or a soft drink, €19 for a local Gin or €22 for a Vodka.
Besides the main room there is an outdoor area, a secret garden and an inside toilet area where DJ’s play between a connecting area!
Really though the music is the main attraction here with Glitterbox (Defected Records) on every Sunday evening until the end of September being one of the best nights. Their weekly residency still has The Shapeshifters, master’s At Work, Roger Sanchez, and Mousse T, amongst others still to appear. Anyone who appreciates the finer and more refined aspects of house music will not be disappointed. Starting at 11.30pm and running through to 6am, the sun will still be set to arrive on your taxi or bus journey back to your hotel after a night of pure escapism.
The club is the oldest one on the island and is synonymous with dance music- everyone from Pete Tong to David Morales has deejayed at Ibiza. Bringing this up to date Claptone has a weekly Saturday night residency at the club. His Masquerade event at Pacha is one where you might think you were at a Venetian ball!
Claptone’s signature plastic gold long nosed Venetian masks are placed on the table.
Expect a set from Claptone that comes with his regular tech House dose of music that comes with a bouncy and banging edge. Add to that some of the best moves that you will see from Pacha’s own dancers, plenty of masks being worn and you will find that Pacha is a club that you will want to return to over and over.
Yes, the drinks are very expensive but I feel that you go to these places for the music and not for the drinks.
The hype that surrounds Cafe Mambo in San Antonio is more than justified. Set on a terrace in San Antonio overlooking the Mediterranean the cafe is renowned for being one of the best places to watch the sunset as it slowly goes down over an azure sea.
As you and your fellow diners clap as the sun finally disappears, it all might sound rather naff but in reality one of nature’s wonders is putting on a brilliant show as one day ends and night time begins and some of the world’s most famous DJ’s take to the decks to spin the soundtrack to your evening.
The food and drink may not be cheap, (there is a minimum spend per person at certain parts of the day and evening) what you will receive in return though is excellent service, tasty food where the portions are big ,with a drinks list that is to die for….and a ringside seat as the summer sun retires in style, at least until another day. A visit is a must with bookings advised for an early evening table.
The clientele here might be slightly older than you would find at the big clubs. A great atmosphere that will linger in your minds long after the sun has set.