The Best Of Ibiza Isn’t Where You Think It Is
Head for the northern stretches of the island — and the stylish villa of an acclaimed Spanish designer.
Much like the brutish British actor Tom Hardy, Ibiza has lived a few lives. Not familiar with the thespian’s backstory? Look it up. As for the famed Spanish island, the veritable king (queen?) of the Balearics has danced a meandering journey to here, to a place where a mythical glint informs any mention of the White Isle’s name.
It was in the ’50s that this stunning outpost first welcomed the international jet set, newcomers divided along lines of wealth and art. Recreational travel was again a symbol of status, while for various continental arts communities Ibiza offered a sense of the new and the free, their ranks adding to the mainland Spanish artists who’d forged their own path here during the ’30s based on a collective desire (and need) to escape General Franco’s reign.
Hippies followed in the ’60s, the first disco clubs bounced open in the ’70s, before the proliferation of dance music super clubs from the ’90s onwards.
To this day, Ibiza very much remains an international lure to a broad brush of nationalities wanting to play and to party. But there’s also another side to the island—secluded, stunning and chilled. And it’s to the north.
It’s here you’ll find the welcoming villa The Apricot Tree, an unobtrusive and relaxed abode offering an immediate hug on arrival. Whitewashed and expansive—a total of five bedrooms, each with a bathroom as well as an additional WC—the house is a calming oasis wrapped around a dreamy set of communal areas and outdoor patios, all anchored by a brilliant pool and towering palm tree.
The play here is to share—be that as a singular family or with a collection of friends—and become lost to the simplicity of life on offer; to slink into one of the poolside daybeds or in-set lounges and repose, with drink in hand (and may we suggest Spanish vermouth on ice with a slice of orange).
The interiors are airy and open and alluring in their arrangement of colour and verve and texture and form. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the villa belongs to acclaimed Spanish interior designer Virginia Nieto, known for a vibrancy that marries old and new, framed by a freshness that is also playful and which certainly elevates The Apricot Tree and aligns it to its enviable coastal setting. There’s an ease to what Nieto delivers here, an immediate sense of homeliness grafted to an indisputable sense of bohemian Ibizan spirit.
The upstairs master suite comes with its own private terrace and views that reach out to the nearby Med. The remaining downstairs bedrooms (doubles and aligned singles) all open to the pool and terraces—so too gardens of fragrance, colour and welcome afternoon shade.
While it would be easy to simply laze here, lost to the warmth and appeal of the pool and the general sounds of silence, the beaches to the north are often what pulls others to the region. Both Cala Llenya and Cala Nova rest two minutes from the villa’s front door, and we must insist an afternoon is lost to the local haunt that is Aguas Blancas beach. Ten or so minutes by car, this is the postcard view of the island that arguably doesn’t exist elsewhere, certainly anywhere in the vicinity of Ibiza town proper (itself a 45-minute drive) and the hordes who dominate the stretches of southern sands.
Set into crumbling cliffs that colour and fade as the sun dips, with translucent and striking waters, head south (to the right) of the main beach to discover a favoured Robb Report chiringuito. Elevated from the beach below, it’s a low-key and sandy-floored affair that does all it needs to: cocktails that include jugs of minty mojito and some solid bocadillos (sandwiches), all set against a pristine outlook.
Nearby to the villa (five minutes) is the main town of Sant Carles de Peralta (yes, Catalan spelling), where important needs can be met—food, banking, shopping, churching. It’s also home to Ibiza’s oldest bar, the shaded Bar Ca n’Anneta, better known as Bar Anita. Here you can sit and literally drink in its 250 years of being and what was its central position (as bar, market, sole telephone) to the hippie communities that set up around the town during the ’60s and ’70s.
Exploring this area is straightforward and rewarding, given the deep and varied history that comes with tremendous sides of natural beauty. There’s enjoyment to be had in avoiding a set itinerary and simply discovering—a throwback to travelling ways long since lost.
Hiring a car for such laid-back excursions is ideal, though taxis and private transfers also operate up this way and can be called (allow some time, though) to cover most trips.
Ultimately, what this part of Ibiza—and specifically The Apricot Tree—offers is a chance to indulge a sense of ease, wonder and escape, the same building blocks that have had people trekking to Ibiza for a century now.
The Apricot Tree is available through Plum Guide; plumguide.com
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