Trouble at San Antonio Town Hall

There’s trouble brewing at San Antonio Town Hall after socialist Mayor Jose Tur signed a decree removing all powers from Councillor Juan Jose Ferrer who was responsible for town planning.

Rumours of a rift within the coalition government team first surfaced last week with reports of a stand up public row between Ferrer and Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes.

The row was about the implementation of the new laws regarding the removal of terraces in San Antonio with Ferrer in favour of a phased in approach while Valdes and Aida Alcaraz, (Councillor for security) wanted a hardline approach.

Now that Sr. Ferrer has been removed from the government team it remains to be seen whether the other 2 members of his own PI political party will stay in their jobs. If they don’t then there could be a crisis as the 2 remaining political parties, PSOE and Reinicia, would only have 10 seats between them on the 21 seat council. Watch this space!

Ibiza 2017: Don’t Mention the ‘T-Word’

August in Ibiza is always testing. Traffic is backed up and every bar, restaurant and corner of the island is full. For those living and working on the White Isle it's a tough time of the summer but even though the island relies exclusively on tourism it's become fashionable to bite the hand that feeds.

As other destinations such as Barcelona and Mallorca have also found out, there's now a residents backlash against the very commodity that has made the island rich beyond its wildest dreams.

The keyboard warriors, for so long a lone, bitter voice in some faraway local bar are becoming more and more venomous in their denoucements of the travellers who fill the islands pockets. Many locals can't even be bothered to form a counter argument because they will be shot down by those fanning the anti-tourist flames.

Here's the key question: Which industry in Ibiza doesn't rely on tourism? All roads lead back to the T-Word so let's put the 3 main cyber-bully myths to bed.

1. WE WANT BETTER TOURISTS

Better is what exactly? Wealthier? Families? Calmer? As anyone who has worked in the VIP section of a club will tell you, wealth doesn't necessarily bring class, so a wealthier clientele doesn't guarantee anything (apart from more complaints) and have you seen the hotels in San An? As for families, they only come over for 10 weeks a year so what about the other 4 months? Calmer: Have you been to Lanzarote?

2. TOURISTS SHOULD BEHAVE THEMSELVES

Yes they should but when youngsters barely out of school are encouraged to drink by airports and airlines then left to their own devices on arrival with little to zero police presence you can't blame them for pushing the boundaries more than they should. No control equals exactly that. Other tourist destinations enforce laws which would be a novelty to some parts of the island where town halls are more focussed on fining local businesses than law and order on the streets. A young shirtless British tourist isn't the symbol of everything that is wrong with the island (its 40 degrees after all) and we should be thankful that Ibiza still manages to attract mass tourism. By the way have you seen the rowdy young locals on Saturday nights drinking and littering the town's car parks. Not every problem lies at the door of the tourist.

3. THE ISLAND IS FULL, WHY ARE THEY LETTING IN MORE PEOPLE?

It's a free county and freedom of movement is one of the key principals of the European Union. The amount of private properties available for rental (illegal or not) has driven demand for the low cost airlines to put on more capacity plus the island council aren't going to limit numbers as this goes against the very ethos of tourism and let's face facts: The peak season only lasts for 4 weeks (22 Jul-19 Aug) then it's back to relative normality, whatever that may be.

So let's try and be more tolerant to our visitors even if they don't always appear to deserve it. Give them the benefit of the doubt as they might surprise you plus they are spending their hard earned cash on an island we are lucky enough to call home.

Tourists and tourism aren't dirty words and next time you feel yourself scowling at a tourist who had the audacity to choose Ibiza as his or her summer destination try and turn it into a smile. It's the islands privilege to welcome them and as other destinations have found to their cost, there is no guarantee that they will always be there.

Ibiza Beach Club Bedlam

Ibiza Beach clubs continue to divide opinion amongst residents and tourists. Many play by the rules but some like to push the boundaries.

Last week Cathy Guetta's new 'Bagatelle Beach Club' at Cala Moli hit the headlines when her lawyer threatened to file a complaint to the French consulate after San Jose local police had the audacity to shut off the music for an hour on Bastille day whilst they performed acoustic tests.

This was after they had received a complaint from a neighbour about the excessive noise coming from the beach venue as French VIPs celebrated their national day on 14 July.  San Jose council have opened a file on the complaint and the beach club is now looking at a 12000 euros fine. A French farce indeed.

Deeva Beach at Port d'es Torrent, another San Jose establishment has also been in the news this week when a resident complained of the growing number of beach beds limiting space on the sand for those not wanting to pay large sums of money to be on a publich beach. The complainant counted 220 sun beds and 60 umbrellas even though the beach concession has a licence for 68 and 34 respectively.

Deeva Beach replaced Imagine Restaurant which was very popular with locals and is owned and operated by the Cala Bassa Beach Club Group. Local residents are feeling more and more marginalised by beach clubs taking over the sand.

The pressure is on San Jose council to clean up its act with regards to beach clubs as the local population (and therefore voters) are growing more and more restless with blatant law breaking on a daily basis.

The council recently announced a new law that will be in place for summer 2018 limiting music to 65 decibels which is comparable to a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer. Let's see how that goes……

NOTE: On 01 August 2017 (after this article was written) it was reported in the local press that DEEVA Beach had been inspected and that it complied with all the appropriate licences.

Source: Periódico de Ibiza/Diario de Ibiza

The New Ibiza – No Kids Allowed

The Ibiza press has been full of stories and opinions this week about high hotel prices, the lack of tourists in local bars/restaurants and all while the airport is continually posting record figures. It's hard to see how the the 3 things aren't related.

The profile of a 'holiday' has dramatically changed over the last few years. Low cost carriers like Ryanair (which is Spains biggest airline btw) plus the big hotel booking websites means that travel agents are no longer required for a quick weekend away on the White Isle and your credit card is burning a hole in your pocket. The results are clear to see: Busy weekends and little else. Fine if you live in a 52 week resort but not so good if you have 100 days to make your money and survive until next May.

As Ibiza prices continue to rise to ludicrous levels many hotels have changed their strategy by becoming 'Adults-Only' targeting the 'Dinkys'. DINK stands for Double Income No Kids (obviously), these are the people who have a decent annual income and love to flash the cash on expensive weekends away where their social media timeline will get as much a hammering as their wallet.

This type of tourism led to Playa d'en Bossa sounding the death knell for the traditional Ibiza family holiday when 'Fiestalandia' gradually became 'Ushuaia-landia' transforming from a paradise resort for families to a paradise playground for adults. It's 2 mile strip full of beach clubs, hotels, bars and a couple of world class clubs means its now referred to in the same breath as Las Vegas and the analogy isn't far wrong with only the creaking waterpark left as a monument to a bygone family-friendly era.

Even Portinatx, that bastion of family values and for many years a Thomson Holidays (remember them?) stronghold will soon have only 1 hotel offering places for kids, the others have changed into yellow-toweled hotel/clubs offering beach beds and mojitos to those who want to experience the real Ibiza (i.e. not go to San An or Bossa).

The new Ibiza only allows for kids in certain areas such as Port des Torrent or Cala Tarida or Cala San Vicente, well out of the way in all-inclusive hotels where they can be controlled and drink sugary refreshments to the their hearts content. Ibiza's towns and ports are now reserved exclusively for those that can afford a weekend away and the inflated prices that comes with it.

With Spain's most expensive hotel rooms Ibiza now has a reputation for its prices rather than its beauty and with this short term, purely profit driven strategy its difficult to see the bubble not bursting. History has shown that what goes up must come down but in the meantime lets hope that the next 2 generations of potential Ibiza lovers haven't been disenfranchised so much that they decide to permanently take their valuable business elsewhere. Children tend to have long memories.

No long term strategy to respect and retain your core market can only lead to big problems and as Abraham Lincoln famously said: You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Or as one experienced commentator recently summed up the Ibiza of 2017: Caviar today, hard bread tomorrow.

 

THE 7 NATURAL WONDERS OF IBIZA

You may arrive on the island because of its hedonistic reputation but you will leave in awe of its natural beauty and splendour.

Here are 7 NATURAL WONDER OF IBIZA that shouldn't be missed whilst on the White Isle no matter what time of the year you visit.

1. ATLANTIS
This cove on the south west coast can only be accessed by boat or a white knuckle walk down the mountainside. The large M-shapedarches, the cut rock (quarried in past times) and the azure blue pools means it wasn't a wasted journey, relax and enjoy the ambience and get your energy levels up for the return walk uphill. MYTHICAL

2. BEACHES

Ibiza's white sandy 'playas' leave an indelible mark on the soul especially during winter time when you will probably be the only person there. The clubs are where you find the fun but it's the beaches where you will fall in love. BEAUTIFUL

3. BENIRRAS FINGEROn an island full of symbolism this large rock emerging from the sea at the entrance of one of the island's iconic bays is in many ways a monument to Ibiza of a bygone era, a place full of hippies and free love, as far away from the VIP wannabes as you could possibly be. Sunday sunsets with drums and dancing is when the real action goes down and needs to be seen at least once in your lifetime. AUTHENTIC

4. ES VEDRA
The rocky island of Es Vedra (and its smaller sibling Es Vedranell) is arguably Ibiza's most famous landmark.  Stretching a quarter of a mile in to the sky it's an inspiring place with its sheer size and distinctive colourings and formation. Unfortunately the goats are gone but the magic is still there. Known to move adults to a blubbering mess this is the place to go to find the inner you.  SPIRITUAL

5. LAS SALINAS SALT FLATSLas Salinas is now associated solely with the famous beach but only a short time ago it was the industrial hub of the island, gathering and preparing salt for export. The salt flats have been in constant use for over 2000 years and you can still see the mountains of white sodium chloride from the roadside.  A little further down the road is the old train station previously used for transporting the white gold. NATURAL

6. SA TALAIA
Ibiza's highest point is a special and serene place. Follow the signposts from San Jose and after a steep walk the whole island will open in front of you. Whilst those below scurry around like hyperactive ants you can discover for yourself the true meaning of the White Isle. Also look out for the memorial to the 1972 plane crash where 104 souls lost their lives. BREATHTAKING

7. SUNSETS
The list wouldn't be complete without mentioning this iconic west coast daily ritual. 300 days of sunshine every year means that the sun will disappear 'into' the sea more than 80% of the time and that's a decent average. Whether it's the best sunset in the world is open to debate but there's no doubting it's the most famous and every single one is different. WONDERFUL

All pics my own except Salt Flats (unknown) and Sa Talaia courtesy of Anthony McDowell. Underwater header taken just south of Atlantis.

2nd August – D-Day for San Antonio Terraces

After all the hearsay and speculation it has been confirmed that the West End bars of San Antonio will have to remove their terraces by midnight starting from 2 August 2017.

The new law was recently passed by San Antonio's coalition council who view this as a major step to reducing noise in the area.

It will undoubtedly change the dynamic of the famous West End which is the entry point for many youngsters coming to the White Isle for the first time but is also never far from headlines and is viewed by many residents as the epicentre of the town's problems.

NOTE: D-Day in this instance is short for Deadline Day

Cathy Guetta Opens New Ibiza Beach Club 

F**K ME I’m opening a beach club
 
Cathy Guetta has finally thrown off the shadow of her famous ex-husband and entered into the busy Ibiza daytime market by opening ‘Bagatelle Beach Ibiza’ an über-exclusive beach club located at Cala Moli, a small cove on the west coast of the island.

Last Friday’s official opening party saw a mixed crowd of 500 being wined, dined and entertained marking a new era for a beach that once hosted Club 18-30 beach parties. How times change!

The ex-wife of DJ David Guetta has always been credited with having a sharp business brain and has been an Ibiza summer resident for many years (see my previous blog). She started one of the island’s most iconic parties – F**k Me I’m Famous – with her husband but has now gone it alone and brought the ‘Bagatelle’ brand to the White Isle. The upmarket brand already has clubs open in places such as St Tropez, Miami and Punto del Este (so you get the idea). 

Whilst some rejoice at the new addition to the Ibiza exclusive market some residents are unhappy that another quiet retreat has been taken over by a noisy beach club. Social media, the new voice of the ‘little’ people, came alive with residents complaining about the levels of noise coming from Ms Guettas opening party. ‘Prou’ (a local residents action group) uploaded videos showing high decibels into the early hours which goes against strict local laws on noise however no official complaints were received. 

Over recents years there’s been a backlash by Ibiza residents against beach clubs as public spaces to lay down your towel and relax have been superseded by big day beds with a ‘minimum spend’ of several hundred euros and security guards ordering people not to sit in certain places on a public beach. 

Time will tell if ‘Bagatelle Beach Ibiza’ will become popular in an already saturated market but for now the thirst for high end beach clubs seems to know no bounds.