I noticed a rare advert for Ibiza in Ibiza’s airport baggage hall last week. How funny, I thought, we are here already, job done, who you trying to persuade? Shouldn’t that be the opportunity for the competition to sweep in, to make you wonder if you should have gone to Corfu as you try and identify your black suitcase amongst a sea of black suitcases, or contemplate Croatia while you lean on your trolley, Mallorca subliminally messing with your head as you wait in the car hire queue? In fact, as soon as the opening parties are on the horizon the closing party posters go up, to remind those poor people who can’t stay the whole Summer to come back three months later. Seeing that advert reminded of the myth that used to circulate, that the Balearics’ tourist board allocated zero budget for Ibiza. No marketing budget was needed because so many products, mainly music albums, bore the island’s name giving Ibiza endless free advertising. Besides the island’s incredible and pioneering music output, some other cool stuff was born in Ibiza and one that you think is from Ibiza but is actually not…
1. Pacha – complete with its cherry motif, the empire that is Pacha actually started in trendy gay Sitges outside of Barcelona but whenever we encounter that logo, everyone thinks of Ibiza. Us insiders know that the cherry season in Ibiza lasts for about three weeks and by cherry season I mean the period of time during which they are imported from the peninsular, they are never actually grown in Ibiza. Total give-away. Pacha Ibiza: born in Sitges, grew up in Ibiza.
2. Desigual – I first saw this store in London’s Westfield about 10 years ago. I’ve got to be honest, when your wardrobe consists of black, many shades of grey and the occasional daring splash of dark blue, entering a Desigual store is an assault on the senses. Now, much like a Chanel hounds tooth suit fabric, a Desigual wearer is instantly recognisable, in her (his? Is there even his now?) primary coloured, graphic, cubist art installation in a cotton- elastane mix. But here’s the ‘did you know?’ – the first Desigual store was in Ibiza! It makes a lot of sense really, started by a Swiss man, who found creativity not at home but in Ibiza, channelling a bit of Gaudi from across the water but above all, a receptive audience.
3. The day-time club – I do no disservice to all the other exotic, anonymous hideaways around the world but the concept of going out to a club in the daytime, while the sun still burns bright in the sky, surely started here in Ibiza. It is quintessentially Ibiza. Spend the day dancing by the sea at the Blue Marlin or on the beach at Ushuaia or watching the sunset at Café del Mar, stay all night or just make it your afternoon. I know for sure that you can’t do this in London or the Home Counties.
4. Hierbas/Ibizkus/Islena – It stands to reason that a place where people like to, shall we say, socialise, is going to turn its hand to some home brews. In Ibiza we have some real artisan activity, from our island chupito* liquor Hierbas, a syrupy aniseed flavour drink made for generations by a local family and offered in restaurants all over the island after a meal, to Islena, our own designer beer, with its funky label and bottle shaped can. Then there are the island rosés (my area of expertise) like Ibizkus, a good dry wine, a stylish design etched on the bottle in place of a label and a cute re-usable stopper. Also available in a litre bottle. How handy.
5. Endangered species – Ibiza is home to a special seaweed called Posidonia and the endangered Balearic Shearwater bird. Not the Galapagos but plenty to protect and learn from. The Ibiza Preservation Fund has some suitably fabulous celeb type donors and holds open (if you’re in the know) cocktail parties to champion their causes and does some fantastic campaigning and preservation work. These kinds of issues didn’t matter to me 10 years ago but when you live here, it’s impossible not to care.
Perhaps that billboard in the airport was to congratulate you on your choice.
*chupito = a shot! You will be offered this after every meal. Try Hierbas but if only Bailey’s will do it for you, ask your waiter.
Pacha – on the edge of town. Go for dinner and a drink or arrive at 1am for a full on dance. I pay special mention to Flower Power, which is every Monday night, drive past if only to see the famous Sgt. Pepper’s Beatles’ installation out front.