What makes Ibiza more than just a party Island?

I first visited Ibiza as a nipper so don’t really remember much of it and didn’t go back again until I was in my early twenties, which was an entirely different kind of holiday, as you can imagine. It was full of parties, booze cruises and dancing until the wee hours in some of the Island’s big clubs.

We spent a little bit of time in Ibiza Town but the days were all about lazing around on the beaches and the hot hazy nights were for bar hopping and midnight swimming in the ocean. Even though it’s a blur of sun and booze filled shenanigans, I still remember the absolutely jaw dropping sunsets and the spiritual nature of the Island, which I’ve always wanted to go back and get to know better.

Some years later when looking for inspiration for where to go for a quick dash for some sun that was no more than a couple of hours flight away and that would give us a laid back beach vibe but also somewhere that we could have cocktails on the beach, Ibiza was just the ticket. We decided to stay in Playa D’en Bossa, which is an emerging hot spot away from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio and has many new luxury resorts springing up.

We arrived to a lovely dry heat in the mid-twenties and checked into the 5* Grand Palladium Hotel Resort, which had very recently undergone a facelift. It did not go unnoticed as every inch of the complex, including the foyer, impressed us, with a striking centrepiece in the form of a tree swing and a couple of glitzy bars. Through the cool and airy reception we were directed to our suite with a view overlooking the ocean. I would recommend this rather than overlooking the pool if you want to guarantee getting some peace and quiet.

The suite was very contemporary with cool white walls, brightly coloured interiors and high end fittings. The bed was king size and comfortable with an all -inclusive mini bar containing water, alcoholic drinks and snacks which were replenished every day. Some of the suites had their own Jacuzzis on the balcony, which unfortunately were all taken otherwise we’d have paid for the upgrade when we arrived.

After a quick change and freshen up we went down to explore the resort. The pool nearest our suite was was every inch the Ibizan dream with mosaic tiled double sunbeds in the shallows and contemporary white lounge chairs and tables around the outside. There were a smattering of uber cool Balinese style daybeds for draping yourself over and looking stylish or taking a nap when the midday sun became too much.

There are 4 other pools around the large resort, each with a different vibe, for when you want to change things up. There's also a private beach right outside of the resort for when you need to see the expanse of ocean and sit, beer in hand, to watch the sunset put on its dazzling display.

After a quick paddle we decided to see what the all-inclusive offer was like and were impressed to find that all drinks were included in the package, including champagne, which is usually considered a premium drink. With our glasses of fizz in hand, we sat watching the world go by feeling like the cats that got the cream.

Soon we were feeling peckish and eager to try one of the five restaurants on site. Usually we prefer to go out and explore the country we’re staying in rather than spend all of our time in the resort but we wanted to see what was on offer and take the opportunity to relax after a very hectic few months.

The choices were an a la carte restaurant, an upmarket buffet cafeteria space with cool picnic tables for families to gather around, Mexican, Italian and a BBQ meat restaurant. After some deliberation and spotting some rather delicious looking pasta emerging from the kitchen we settled on Italian and a bottle of prosecco.

Each of the dishes were delicious and the vibe was romantic, with swinging snuggle seats for lovers to cosy up on or for families to cajole each other with jokes and familiar nudges in the ribs.
During our stay, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, we got to try most of the restaurants and always found the food to be lovely, although some elements were the same throughout such as the salad bar and it might have been nice for there to have been a unique twist on it.

We certainly felt that we’d eaten like kings during our stay and especially enjoyed the fresh cooking stations were you saw your eggs, waffles or burittos being cooked from scratch.

Staying on all inclusive basis meant that it was easy to eat early, rather than our usual three hour ramble and deliberation over each menu before even sitting down to supper. It meant that we had time to go out along the beach and sample some of the beach bars along the sands, which come sunset, all turned into sultry bars with cool cocktails and chilled out classic dance music. The infamous Bora Bora beach bar lured us in  a few times with its hypnotic beats.

Listening to the roar of the waves and the tunes was the most relaxing way to spend an evening. The major nightclubs of Ibiza would once have lured me in but this was much more our scene.

The next day we rose bright and early for more sun and splashing around in the pools but I also wanted to try out some of the all inclusive activities on offer, namely Yoga. Whilst it wasn’t on the white sandy beach, it was in the pretty gardens of the resort overlooking the blue pool and surrounded by trees, which was a lovely way to unwind. The Carnivore had various activity choices too, like diving or archery but was quite happy chilling.

There are resident DJ’s and lively bars in Playa D’En Bossa but that’s not all there is. In fact it’s nice to get away from that sometimes and the resorts lend themselves to a more upmarket and chic vibe.

All the way down the beach right outside Grand Palladium are cool beach bars with Balinese day beds for lounging on attached to hotels like the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza and Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, which is a playful and luxe resort where the trendsetters go to when the sun comes up again.

After a couple of days of being pampered in our all inclusive haven, we were ready to see some of the outside world and went into Ibiza Town for sight seeing and a bite to eat. Still as lovely as I remembered, Ibiza town has historical sights, culture as well as the usual boozy bars.

We went to El Farro for a bite to eat as it's view over the new marina and its warmth and charm drew us in. After our meal we headed to the lovely 14th century Gothic Ibiza cathedral for a nosey around and there seemed to be a big festival going on. Crowds teemed up the walkway trying to get inside but whatever was happening was too busy for us and so we sadly retreated back down to watch from the street.

We found a lovely historic square with outdoor bars to sit and enjoy the ambience and not long after a medieval parade came past us from the Cathedral. Before the night gave way to the club 18-30 revellers, we caught a cab and headed back to the Grand Palladium.

During our stay at this resort we were invited to try out the upmarket spa on site, Zentropia. It felt very luxurious inside with various plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas indoors and out. Each pool had jet streams, water umbrellas and bubble pools to help ease every last bit of stress away.

Outdoors there were plenty of beds to lay and enjoy the Ibizan sun and when it got too hot, there were waterfall sensation showers, with different themes ranging from a full on bucket of cold water (eeek) to my favourite Scottish mist, which was like that fine cold rain that soaks you right through in the UK. Familiar and so much more pleasant in a 30 degree heat for some reason!

Later that day it was time to pack up and head for home. All in all we loved this hotel, Playa D en Bossa was a fab location and we got an absolutely amazing tan in Ibiza. It was also exceptionally good value during opening season for a 5* hotel but this area is very upcoming so it may not stay like that for long.

The change of pace over this side of the island was welcome to us but we had the option for livelier bars if we wanted it. Being able to enjoy so many facilities in one complex really made us rethink or usual phobia to all inclusive hotels and now we would definitely consider one again but maybe only for a shorter break, although I've no doubt there was enough choice to keep families entertained for two weeks.

Ibiza we love you and we can't wait for our next visit. Have you been? Are you a spa and beach goer, or a clubbing aficionado?

Image credit: Grand Palladium Beach Resort 

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