Natalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, July 22, 2013
If last year’s dress code in Ibiza was neon, this summer’s is white. Not least at the opening party for Nikki Beach ( nikkibeach.com ), the Miami-born beach club, known for its extravagant themed events and slick seafront bars. The White Party, held last weekend, celebrated Nikki’s arrival in Ibiza. A bronzed crowd dressed all in white danced underneath airborne acrobats to live music from saxophonists and drummers. Magnums of Cristal, at €25,000 (£21,500) a pop, were ferried about in miniature wheelbarrows by athletic male waiters. When fireworks closed the party, Jack Penrod, who founded the original club in 1998, was himself dancing on the mahogany tables.
The White Party was a fitting tribute to the White Isle – an island that embraced the beach club long ago and sold its dreamy cabanas-by-the-poolside concept to the rest of Europe. This year, more than ever, beach clubs are big news. Nikki has based itself just outside Santa Eulalia, on the east coast, away from the rowdier resorts of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa. The location fits with the club’s exclusive, more intimate style. The DJs are in-house, rather than big names, with parties and signature cocktails reflecting the South Beach import’s international status, drawing on influences everywhere from Brazil to St Tropez.
By day, the atmosphere is invitingly laid-back, though you can still watch women in studded two-pieces perform sultry dances while you swim. The neat, turquoise pool sparkles between day beds angled around champagne coolers, while cabanas hung with drapes look out to sea across the slim beach below.
The pool sparkles between day beds angled around champagne coolers
The food is not to be missed – huge wooden boats, decked with mouth-watering sushi, salads, mini wagyu burgers and other appetisers – are great for sharing while you watch yachts moor up in the bay. Soon there will be somewhere fittingly chic to sleep in close to Nikki Beach, too: the hotel next door – currently rather retro – is to be refurbished by the Melia hotel group next year.
Elsewhere on the island, the beach club that made other club owners sit up and listen, Ushuaïa ( ushuaiaibiza.com ), has opened a cheeky but ultra-luxurious hotel attracting the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio. Ushuaïa Tower ( see review, here ) has balconies that overlook its pool parties, giving guests space to dance above bikini-wearing crowds that, on an average Friday night, can splash around to the DJs Idris Elba, Pete Tong and Fatboy Slim.
Ushuaïa’s laser and firework-primed stage, already benefiting from superb sound, was made more technically dazzling this year, with shards that mirror the main screen incorporated into the roof. Now, the visuals shoot out from behind the decks like rays from the sun. When the beach club ends, the music continues at the Pan-Am themed Sky Lounge bar on top of Ushuaïa Tower. After midnight, you can expect sets from DJs including David Morales.
Should you need a further reason to visit Ushuaïa, the upmarket Montauk Steakhouse opened in the tower a few weeks ago, offering Spanish and American cuts of beef, an oyster and caviar menu and fine wines. In a novel touch, diners are offered a choice of steak knives at the start of the meal – from a Spanish knife for a soft cut, to a Japanese steel blade for precision.
Not to be outdone by Ushuaïa, the Ibiza stalwart Pacha has just opened a new resort, Destino ( destinoibiza.com ), on the cliffs at Cap Martinet, with views towards Ibiza old town. There’s space for greenery at this low-rise luxury hotel, with palm trees, lawns and garden suites. The all-white rooms have driftwood-style furniture, while the VIP suites have a butler service and private plunge pools.
The cocktail bar at Destino
In the lobby and restaurant, natural materials have been used for a sophisticated look; the latter is flooded with light. Diners can watch Japanese chefs at work in an open sushi bar, or tuck into a fusion of Asian, Mediterranean and Central American flavours. There’s a nightly live show of art, dance and acrobatics by the pool with DJs from 5pm.
Another hotel worth checking out is Santos Ibiza Suites ( santosibizacoastsuites.com ), well located on Playa d’en Bossa, and a short walk from the popular nightclubs Space and Sankeys. It has a spacious pool adjacent to a stylish stack of white mini-apartments, with bright pastel furnishings and blonde wood. Junior suites sleep up to four and have built-in kitchens.
The island’s newest nightclub, Booom! ( booomibiza.com ), exploded on to the scene last Monday in the marina in Ibiza Town. It’s run by the experienced Cipriani hospitality group and promises a high-spec experience “from the dance floor up”, with residencies from the British record label Defected on Fridays and the DJ Luciano on Saturdays.
On the Rocks ( ontherocksibiza.com ), near Ibiza Town, is a buzzy newcomer to Ibiza’s already vibrant dining scene. It serves Italian and international cuisine and has a terrace and an outdoor lounge area with more than 80 beds. It also has a delicatessen.
Finally, bringing a low-key, bohemian feel back to the island, Experimental Beach ( eccbeach.com ), at Las Salinas, opened in May and focuses on the basics: great cocktails, tasty fresh food and music while you watch the sun go down. This simple but stylish restaurant is set right on the sand at Playa d’es Codolar, with drinks courtesy of the mixologists behind London’s Experimental Cocktail Club. It has a beach barbecue on Wednesdays and DJs to accompany Ibiza’s famous sunsets every evening.
Telegraph Travel guide to Ibiza