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Expensive fun in the sun
Member Name: clumsy1974
Date: 01/11/01, updated on 01/11/01 (3045 review reads)
Advantages: Plenty to do , Warm, Good fun
Disadvantages: Bit dirty, Bad image
I am getting on in years now. I am a bit long in the tooth I suppose, at 27, but I do like a good night out. I love the dance scene, and can spend hour’s bopping away in a sweaty nightclub to the right music. To top all that, endless Ibiza fly on the walls had really whet my appetite for a big old Balearic blow out. My girlfriend and I decided to get it out of the way this year while we had it in us to spend all night out and still have enough energy for sun bathing.
So was it worth it? Did Ibiza really live up to its hedonistic reputation? Would we go again? What should you do to make your Ibiza experience on to remember, and is there more to the White Isle than big name DJ’s and boozy Brits? Hopefully this review will give you an idea of what we thought of Ibiza, and maybe what you can do to make the most of your stay out there next year. I’ve tried to break it up into nice manageable sections for you, with all the interesting bits of our holiday covered. All prices I might quote in this rather long review were at the rate of 253 pesetas to the pound.
We decided back in January to go on a group holiday at the start of September, in an attempt to catch a few of the big club closing parties, and avoid most of the younger “beer monsters” (they all go back to school around 3rd September). It is possible to get late deals to Ibiza, and you’ll save yourself a few pounds if you opt for one, but the island does get booked up quite heavily through July and August (Both Radio 1 and MTV have their big events in mid August). We noticed quite a steady stream of arrivals throughout our two-week stay, so it would be best to book early if you are really keen on an Ibiza outing next year. We went with Thompson’s Club Freestyle (more about them later) and the Club Pariaso Hotel in San Antonio. Six of us each paid £285 for two self-catering apartments for 14 nights.
The last week of o
ur stay (ending on the 18th September) we noticed more and more families arriving. Our hotel was essentially a clubbers retreat throughout the whole season, but seemed to switch from a Club Freestyle location to just a normal Thompson’s hotel on the day we departed.
This was my biggest worry when I booked the holiday. I know that many hotels in the San Antonio area are quite well used, and expected, for the price to get a fairly basic place with resident insects as roommates. How wrong I was! The Club Paraiso is fairly new (built in ’98) and is a very clean, modern looking place. It is a bit of a maze, but you get used to that. There are two main pool areas, three bars, plenty of sun loungers, pool tables and games machines, an onsite supermarket and 24 hour security. The studio apartments we had are bright and airy with two sofa beds and a pull out bed, a balcony, bathroom and kitchenette. You can choose a 1-bedroom apartment in the complex, but these seem to get snaffled up quite quickly.
The pool is rather cold (colder than the sea in fact) and the prices for extras such as food and drink are a bit steep. We used the local supermarkets; just few minutes walk away for provisions and had all our meals and drinking sessions outside of the hotel. The staff at reception are friendly enough, and the maid service is excellent. The hotel is situated a short walk from the “Sunset Café’s” Mambo, Café Del Mar and the ultra cool Coastline Café. It’s an ideal base for a holiday in San Antonio.
The only complaints we had with the accommodation were due to the neighbouring hotel being a home for drunken idiots – making noise 24 hours a day 7 days a week. A lovely Scottish guy offering us cut price donkeys while his mate tried in vain to rouse “Gaareey” serenaded us one night, for several hours. Not a problem if you are out till 8 in the morning. Unfortunately, on that par
ticular night we decided to go to bed at 2am.
Club Freestyle reps –
These guys really do leave you alone. Freestyle has a policy of letting you get on with your holiday. You won’t have much to do with your rep at all, which is not always a good thing. We chose to book our club tickets through them, and take a boat trip to the island of Formenterra as well. The total cost of this little package was £120, which we thought, at the time, was very good. What we found, later on it the holiday, was that the nights selected were not the best on offer, and that the prices were not the lowest possible. As an example of this - we found that a trip to Amnesia, where Cream were playing on Tuesday nights this year, was 1000 Pesetas (£4) cheaper from the pre club bar. The coach we had thought was included in the price was in fact a freebie coach, running on the hour after 1am from Coastline bar. As you can imagine it got rather busy and when the heavens opened for the biggest downpour of the season we soon lost interest in the clubbing. We saved the ticket for another day.
Our advice would be to choose your own nights and ask other people how much they paid for their tickets on previous nights.
That brings me onto the clubs. Most of your will go to Ibiza with your dancing shoes, so what are the clubs like?
Well, I have to say I was a little let down by Cream. Amnesia is a great looking club, but its location is a bit of pain, out there on the “Death Road” between San An and Ibiza Town. Cream itself threw a good party, with some cool décor. Sadly the night we went along it seemed to be a single thudding beat that none of us could get into at all. Maybe one to leave out if the DJ list is not jewelled with a good name (The downpour night would have been better – but alas we opted to go the next week)
Es Paradise, on the front in San Antonio is a great looking club. It is t
hemed like a lavish garden and includes comfy cushions, lots of dance floors and bars and an open-air area. We went to the Water Party, and it was a fairly good night out. The music was OK, and the atmosphere is quite relaxed. If you plan to go in the water make sure you don’t wear those expensive Acupuncture’s.
Manumission, at Privilege is spectacular. This year the club was themed in a nautical style in the main room, with a huge ship stage for the various performances. Another one on the nasty San An – Ibiza Town road – use the Disco bus and you can get there for just 250 Pesetas. This night maybe needs no explanation, but bear in mind it’s the biggest club in the world, so it gets busy. The music is fantastic – trance and house, and the 7 rooms are all brilliant. My favourite was the chill-out area under the Privilege dome. The main arena went from a few hundred to at least 5,000 in about 30 minutes and we had an excellent night in the rather sweaty climate this massive crowd created.
The best night by far though was had at Eden. This club is situated next door to Es Paradise, and is quite distinctive – it the one with the dome. We went along to the “Biggest night on the island” according to Ibiza uncovered, Judgement Sunday. Judge Jules was in residence for 4 hours, two in each room and he really got us going. However, we also got treated to a wicked set by trance master Ferry Corsten. Lisa Lashes took over from Jules, and sadly it all went down hill from there, but by then it was 6am and we’d had an amazing night. The whole club was entertained by a crowd of odd balls – from midgets in bags to a mad gang with a huge Lycra sheet they dragged over half the crowd. This night is one not to be missed if it runs in 2002.
A word on drinks prices. Yes, its true, they do charge £4 for a bottle of water – AT LEAST! Manumission takes the most expensive drink award at 100
0 Pesetas for a 50cl bottle. This was the largest on sale, as the others charge 800 for a poxy 30cl mouthful. They all have toilet attendants asking for tips on the door, and if you need loo roll you’d better cough up!
San Antonio –
It’s Blackpool in the Sun. I could leave it at that, but you’d all give me a NU. Enjoy it for its bars, shops and a little bit of sand. Treat it as a base for good holiday and you won’t go far wrong. It’s a bit of a building site, and does look really bad at 4am.
Best bits – The sea front area where all the café’s and boat trip operators can be found. The sunset café’s are a must. Mambo is great, the classic Café Del Mar is worth a look, but my favourite by had to be the brand new coastline. This place is so cool, and even offers swimming pools for you to cool off in. A great place to watch the sun go down. Joe Spoons, in the West End, was a firm favourite for us. Cheerful staff and cheap drinks make it a good starting point.
San An has plenty of places to eat too. Our money went to the Mexican Cantena (near the West End) where we had several meals. The staff is excellent, the portions are huge and the restaurant is great with an open-air balcony for those warm evenings. However, my girlfriend, brother and I decided to blow a whole chunk of cash on one excellent meal in the Villa Mercedes. This amazing restaurant is right by the night bus stop and is the coolest place I have ever eaten in. We had an interesting meal including dishes such as kangaroo; chocolate soup and pan fired gilt head (a fish) obviously not all on the same plate. The total bill for the three of us, including wine was £70 – not too bad but still one to mull over if you are trying to watch the pennies.
The one annoying thing about San Antonio is the lookie lookie men. These are African street traders who train in the art of selling crap jewellery and hash by watc
hing Only Fools and Horses. When you first get called Dell Boy and offered “any hash, any blow?” it’s quite funny. After the first few hours it becomes irritating. By the end of a fortnight you’ll hate the sight of Dell and Rodney.
Other things to do in Ibiza –
Scuba diving is a must if you feel adventurous. You can get a try dive from several operators on the sea front in San An. We chose the Serina Dive School. For 7500 Pesetas you get a whole day out on the boat, with a 30-minute dive and all the time you want to snorkel or sunbathe. Photos will be taken, and you can buy the for 1000 Pesetas each.
Take a boat trip out to the aquarium, for just 1500 Pesetas, and you get a great tour of the coastline. We really enjoyed this as a chilled afternoon activity and it didn’t exactly break the bank. The aquarium is set in a cave and is not that impressive, but the boat trip made up for it.
Formenterra is a smaller island off the coast of Ibiza. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Med and is a bit of a millionaire’s playground. We took a catamaran trip out to spend the day soaking up the sun, swimming in the blue and enviously eyeing up massive yachts. At the end of the day we got to dive off the boat before watching an amazing sunset.
Don’t forget to take a bus trip to Ibiza Town. It has a real variation of modern and old with the Dalt Villa dominating the skyline and its trendy shops, bars and marina drawing the jet set. Take plenty of water though, as it’s a bit of a trek up to the top of the old town.
Aquamar is also a good diversion from the hardcore clubbing. It offers a few good water slides, and is right by Space and Playa den Bosa beach.
Would I do it again? –
Yes! I would only take a week, and I would stay else where, maybe Playa den Bosa. You can blow a huge amount of cash and not have much to show for it, and you
can also get the feeling that you’ve been had when you look at the rather tatty view that is San Antonio. But if you look under the mounds of beer bottles and hamburger wrappers there is a lot more to Ibiza than the three S’s