IBIZA, SPAIN | UNBRIDLED TYPE
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Even though I planned the whole trip, I still wasn't sure what to expect on a bachelorette weekend to Ibiza. The itinerary consisted of legit activities bookended by drinks and brunches. Calvin Harris concert, sunset party cruise, and a 'mega-club' with the night's theme as 'Down the Rabbit Hole'. Nothing could be more ominous or fitting.
I booked the cheapest flight, meaning I would get there at 7:30 AM and five hours before anyone else. This didn't bother me, as passing time alone in an unfamiliar place is one of my favorite ways to pass time. A couple of Canadian bros on a Spanish vacation graciously agreed to let me split their airport cab, and we were dropped off at the part of the island called San Antonio. San Antonio is a little city situated around a bay, and unfortunately for me, my hotel was an hour walk from the hostel they were staying at. With hours yet to kill, I enjoyed a nice Spanish breakfast outdoors with my book and meandered along the coastline.
Right away I was struck by how serene it all was. It's a tropical oasis, with palm trees, cacti, and sun bathers claiming their ground at 8 AM. If this was the crazy party island I had heard about, it wasn't here or now. The buildings were stamped with marks of creativity: huge murals, whimsical typefaces, hand painted signs. The vibes were relaxed and appreciative of imperfect beauty (interpret that as you will). This is somewhere I could hang out for a while.
Aside from the creative signs and beachy colors, the architecture was also something that kept me interested. A lot of clean, white lines which contrasted with the flora and bright blue sky. One of our favorite places to lounge was an art hotel down the street from our hotel, called Paradiso. While our hotel was somehow a cheaper version of a Motel 6, Paradiso was where we would have stayed if we were 20 years older with rich husbands and I imagine membership cards to country clubs or spas. Our hotel pool's ambiance was lacking, which was partly our own doing. While it was filled with screaming children, no one complained that we played the song "We're Going to Ibiza" on repeat from a JBL speaker for the better half of an afternoon. At Paradiso, the DJ played cool techno beats while we sipped mojitos and lay on daybeds. Their poolside 'snack bar' is called Andy's, and is loosely Andy Warhol themed.
Ibiza is a contradictory place. People go to party, or they go to enjoy nature and have a sort of yogi-retreat. The locals stay away from the party scene for the most part, and reminisce about the pre-Euro days when everything was a lot slower and a lot cheaper. There are granola hippies walking down the street, right next to party girls in their leather fringe skirts and neon bikini tops. Some people are high on life and some are high on Molly and Red Bull. Sometimes it's hard to spot the difference. After the sun sets, the streets become crowded and everyone who was awake until 10 AM emerges for round 2.
If you're not well prepared, you could actually have a pretty tame night. The Calvin Harris concert began at 6 PM and ended at 10 PM. While we tried to pregame, we were on a schedule and needed to primp. Upon entering the venue, we found that beers were 9 Euros and the mixed drink 'special' was six drinks for 50 Euros. I admired their understanding of supply and demand, and retaliated with my power as a consumer. Yes I sipped on a bottle of water for four hours, but I didn't need the alcohol. The concert was perfect.
Saturday was spent getting brunch at the Cool Cafe and lazing around the pool. In the afternoon, we booked it to the docks to catch our Float Your Boat Party Cruise. While we were told to meet at the kiosk, the boat crew was 100 meters away at a restaurant called Palapa. The more chill people in our group ordered a nice spread and hung out, while I paced around worried that we would miss the yacht. When I asked the bartender if the cruise usually leaves on time, he laughed in my face. At that moment I remembered I was in Spain. When we boarded the ship (on time) we passed by a group of sun bathers. A 200 year old man stood watching us, wearing what I would describe as a piece of string around his waist as a bathing suit. A prude American like me could be offended, but I just laughed. Hey, it's Spain.
The last highlight of the weekend would be our 1 AM 'early bird' entrance to the Mega Club, Amnesia. We grabbed dinner at the seaside Tulp, and rushed to get ready to go out again. After a quick Beyonce inspired pregame, we barely made it to the doors in time. Surprisingly (to me anyways) the club was empty. Like, five other people were in there. As the bachelorette party that we were, no one was complaining about having the dance floor to ourselves. I did complain about the obscene price of drinks. At around 3 AM things picked up, and it felt like we were in a proper club. Along with a typical techno DJ, there was a side room playing Hip Hop and Top 40. We found our way there and settled in for the next few hours. As the sun began to rise, Amnesia closed its doors. We grabbed a piece of pizza and sat by the ocean. Our check out time was 10 AM.
The next day, we somehow got ourselves together and trudged down the street to say goodbye to Paradiso Hotel. After brunch and some pool time, we went to lunch and enjoyed the best meal of the weekend. Relish was actually affordable, and we hydrated with fresh Sangria and loaded up on the Tapas: patatas bravas, feta and olive bruschetta, mac and cheese, firecracker okra, Asian style pork belly, and mussels.
In order to buy the cheapest flight, I convinced myself that paying for another night in a hotel made sense. Four other girls and I spent the night at Marino Hostal, in a part of San Antonio we hadn't seen before. This part was ritzy along the water, with yachts and "four money sign" Google rated restaurants. Once you got a little inland, it became a bit different. It looked like a Little Ireland and Little Britain were competing to exist, and people hounded us on the street trying to get us to go into their club. That was in fact the last thing we wanted. We were on the hunt for pasta, and oh we found it at an unassuming corner shop, Can Flow. Ignoring the flashing lights and music, we took our full bellies to bed.
Referencing the above, 'Faces': I love clubs with one noun as their name. It's so vague. I have an idea for a club named 'Closets'. If you know me I've probably already described it to you.
Ibiza surprised me a little bit. It was a lot bigger than I thought, with three small cities spread across the island. There is a ton of hiking there, and beautiful cliffs and landscapes. The mega-club energy is only present in condensed areas, and it usually doesn't happen until midnight (or 3 AM). The old Ibiza Town near the airport has beautiful 13th century architecture and would be a great place to explore. There are huge, cheap Air Bnb's with private pools up for rent. The vibe helped me remember to relax. Everyone was there having a good time, whatever that meant to them. Between Calvin Harris, tapas, party boats and 7 AM pizza, I would say we had a good time.