Adiós Club 18-30, it was FUN

Thomas Cook announced this week that it’s looking to offload the infamous Club 18-30 brand and focus on ‘cooler’ holidays.

This announcement won’t mean much to anyone under the age of 25 but for many over the age of 40 and especially those that have worked in the holiday industry, it would have brought about some misty eyed nostalgia.

When it comes to holiday branding Club 18-30 was the forerunner of the ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ brigade. A club for youngsters who just wanted to party but ‘Club’ as it was affectionately known was more than just a brand, at it’s peak it was an ethos and a movement.

It was the stuff of legends and not always for the right reasons. The 80’s and 90’s were it’s heyday when hundreds of thousand of youngsters were herded around on excursions that mainly included sausages, sangria and sex.

‘Club’ was the living embodiment of the saucy seaside postcard in the Mediterranean sunshine with a perpetual nod and a wink but the real difference were the ‘reps’ that worked for the company. Probably the most dedicated and hard working overseas people you could ever wish to meet. They were almost brainwashed to wear their heart and soul on their sleeves along with that iconic badge on their chests. Many left good jobs to earn peanuts but living and working abroad was too good an opportunity to turn down.

In reality the job wasn’t what they expected, it was a hard slog, propped up by caffeine, junk food and other substances and many reps couldn’t hack it and left within weeks but there were always more willing youngsters ready to step into the theatre of excess.

Before reality TV and social media gave away all the secrets, Club 18-30 could pretty much do what it wanted without any bother. Beach parties, bar crawls, party nights, BBQ’s: You name it, they did it. Large groups of youngsters being shepherded about by reps of similar age but with one major difference: A loud booming voice. The loud voice was always the most important pre-requisite for Club Reps, he or she who shouted loudest usually got the job.

At it’s 90’s peak, Club 18-30 were taking hundreds of thousands of youngsters overseas for the first time to destinations such as Mallorca, Benidorm, Corfu, Rhodes, Turkey and many more. But one destination always took prime position: San Antonio, Ibiza.

San Antonio in the 80’s and 90’s was perfect for Club 18-30, a marriage made in hormone heaven. Lots of small family hotels that were created from the 70’s boom of British demand for cheap holidays in the sunshine. Basic hostelries with little more than a bed, a bog and a window. Club clients didn’t need anymore as they wouldn’t get too much time to sleep. The whole holiday was designed around being out and about, drinking and partying.

Meet in the bar, straight to an excursion, drop off at a bar then straight to a club. The Star Club in San An became Club 18-30’s spiritual late night home, the back bar full of reps on any given night. In bed by 4am, up at 9am. 5 hours sleeps was more than enough for Club Reps.

Then ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ happened. This was the myth buster of all myth busters and suddenly the Island was exposed to the outside world. The clamour for more Ibiza based reality TV brought about ‘Club Reps’ which followed new recruits and ran for 3 years and 36 episodes.

Club 18-30 had always worked on the policy of ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ so it probably seemed like a good idea at the time but it also signalled the beginning of the end.

By the mid-noughties tastes and perceptions were changing and after an initial spike in demand due to the TV exposure the brand began to wane. Low cost airlines were now in full flow and independent holidays were easier to come by. Being herded around wasn’t acceptable any more and camera phones delivered truths rather than myths.

The social media age brought about a sea of change and the hard truth is that the insta-generation wants to be perceived as cool and Club 18-30 isn’t part of the plan for now. Who’s to say that it won’t stage a remarkable comeback but it’s doubtful in a market that decides with its feet and it’s smartphone.

Now it’s all about niche festivals for like minded individuals, beach clubs for the gym-hardened groups of preening wannabes and most importantly the endless search for that perfect profile pic. Sombreros, bucking broncos and as much sangria during the meal simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

After the demise of other ‘yoof’ brands such as Twenty’s, Freestyle and Escapades it looks like it’s also ‘adiós’ to Club 18-30, and with it goes a million memories from a million youngsters who were introduced to the Med by a company that revelled in notoriety and excess. Hedonism has changed to Instagramism but ‘Club’ rightfully deserves its place in the holiday hall of fame, or maybe that should be infamy.

Balearic Cricket Comes to Ibiza

This weekend will see the Balearic Cricket Championship played in Ibiza at San Agustin stadium with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year will also be special as it’s the 30th anniversary of the very first tournament, played in Ibiza in 1988.

To add even more spice, the 2018 tournament will be unique after Mallorca Cricket Club pulled out at the last minute so Ibiza have entered 2 teams for the very first time. Mallorca CC lost their ground a few years ago and have struggled to keep the momentum without it. Their withdrawal at the 11th hour sent shockwaves through Balearic Cricket but a contingency was quickly put into place to safeguard the popular round-robin format.

Sam Gooda will lead Ibiza Cricket Club into his 2nd Balearic Cup and his team will start as favourites on home soil. Sam has worked tirelessly for the club and has put together a fine team with Paul Cruttwell from Fusion Satellite as his right hand man. Cruttwell will open the bowling along with Jim Harvey, the owner of Dalt Vila’s quirky Paradise Lost cocktail bar. Gooda was Ibiza’s leading run scorer last year but will hope that temperamental overseas player Johnno Gordon can chip in with a decent knock.

Menorca CC will also be quietly confident of taking home the trophy and will travel with an experienced side with a couple of standout youngsters who can make the difference on the day. Menorca’s captain Simon Cotton, a real estate agent from Stoke, will be hoping to do better than his football club when leading out his side against Ibiza on Friday, aided and abetted by wily Mackem Jeffrey Barker with stalwarts Roy Sturgeon and Andy Tysoe at his side.

Menorca has a beautiful vast grass ground back on their own island, probably the best in Spanish cricket, so will have to quickly adjust to the tight conditions on the artificial pitch at San Agustin.

Finally, the IBZ Renegades has been put together (with myself as Captain) especially for this tournament and will reunite many Ibiza players who no longer live on the island but still retain a great affinity with the club.

Ibiza CC legend Bob ‘the Vicar’ Short will be one to watch out for as he becomes a Renegade and competes in the competition for the first time since 2013. The sexagenarian will be looking to add to his fine record in the tournament which includes 2 victories in 2007 and 2013. In fact the Renegades side will field 6 players from the famous 2007 cup winning side meaning that it’s very much old v new with regards to Ibiza cricket. All rounder Jolyon Swinburn is flying in from New Zealand while the prolific Adam Johnston will open the batting with enigmatic Sam Feasey.

It promises to be a veritable feast of cricket over 3 days, the weather forecast is excellent and although competition on the pitch will be fierce, old friendships will be rekindled and new friendships will be made in the bar after the games over a cold beer. The Balearic Cricket Cup has had some amazing weekends over the last 30 years and this year’s promises to be right up there with the best of them!

Fri 11 May: Ibiza CC v Menorca CC

Sat 12 May: Menorca CC v IBZ Renegades

Sun 13 May: IBZ Renegades v Ibiza CC

All matches will start at 12pm midday at San Agustin Stadium – https://goo.gl/maps/ppUBEKvmRTJ2

SUPPORTERS WELCOME – CHEAP BAR PRICES!

http://www.ibizacricketclub.com

http://www.menorcacricketclub.com

Cricket in Ibiza

Santa Eulalia: Ibiza’s Next BIG Thing

Ibiza is constantly evolving and the island has seen dramatic changes over the last 5 years that many thought were impossible.  Only 10 years ago the White Isle was still considered a small summer holiday island with a few big clubs yet in 2018 it’s now a bonafide world destination along with the likes of New York, Monte Carlo and Dubai.

One of the biggest changes is the type of hotels and hostelries that are now available to the more discerning traveller. As the jet-set has discovered the island the needs of the travellers have changed and the island has changed with it.

20 years ago the island was made up of small family hotels along with local chains catering for families in high season and couples in low season. These very same hotels have now been transformed into cutting edge brands offering weekend breaks at eye watering prices focussing on the ‘Dinkys’ – double income no kids.

To back up my point, here’s a little quiz: What are these 2008 hotels now called? Answers at bottom of page – no cheating!

1 Hotel Playa d’en Bossa – Family Hotel
2 Hotel Don Toni, Playa d’en Bossa – Family Hotel
3 Hotel Sol Pinet, San Antonio Bay – Family Hotel
4 Sol Sargamassa- Family Hotel
5 Playa Real, Talamanca – Family Hotel
6 El Paraiso, San Antonio – Thomson young fun
7 Club Med, Playa d’en Bossa – All inclusive family hotel
8 Hotel Bahia, San Antonio
9 The One Hotel, Talamanca

Now another change is about to happen and with it will see the emergence of Santa Eulalia as the next big Ibiza destination. Following on from the Hotels Fenecia, Aguas de Ibiza and ME Ibiza, the Orquídea Hotel in Ibiza’s 3rd largest town is about to have a massive makeover and become the ‘W Hotel’ for summer 2019. This chain has over 50 hotels worldwide and is part of the world class Marriott group of hotels. Their press release says “W Ibiza will embrace the destination’s eclectic roots through bold and innovative design, capturing the free spirit of Ibiza whilst elevating the experience to a new level”.

What’s interesting is the choice of location for such a world leading hotel.  Santa Eulalia is the epitome of middle class Ibiza with a strict town hall who has clearly stated that beach clubs aren’t welcome and who continue to tightly control what happens in their municipality.  It’s a peaceful part of the island and the big hotel chains obviously view this as a positive for their upwardly mobile client base who want luxurious peace and quiet and are prepared to pay a premium for the privilege but also have access to other things on an island that measures just 220 square miles.

Only a few years ago it would have been unthinkable that these large brands would be investing tens of millions of euros on hotels on a small island in the Med but as Ibiza has risen up the rankings it has become big business and hotel chains view the ‘cool factor’ as important when it comes to managing their portfolios, not to mention the big yields. 150 euros per person per night in May is now a small price to pay for a weekend getaway on the White Isle.

The W Hotel opening will be another watershed moment for an island that has now become accustomed to these moments. The Ibiza of 2018 is a totally different animal to that of 2008 and how far the island can continue to rise remains to be seen but when it comes to a choice of world class hotels then Ibiza has never had it so good and Santa Eulalia is right at the forefront. Who’d have thought!

Answers: 1. Ushuaia Beach Hotel 2. Hard Rock Hotel 3. Sol House 4. ME Ibiza/Nikki Beach 5. Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay 6. Ibiza Rocks Hotel 7. Palladium 8. Ocean Beach Hotel 9. El Destino

Santa Eulalia to Suspend New Tourist Licences for Villas

Santa Eulalia council plans to implement a suspension on all future tourist rental licences for single-use properties (in other words villas) throughout the municipality that will come into effect until a final decision is made whether or not to allow this type of economic activity.

Mayor Vicent Marí, has already indicated which way he would like to see the town going commenting that “you cannot ‘touristify’ the countryside indefinitely” and advocates country houses being used for residential use only.

The decision to suspend new licences was agreed unanimously by Santa Eulalia councillors in their February meeting and has now been passed on to the Island Council for approval later this month.  Ibiza Town has already announced a similar suspension of tourist licences for houses although there aren’t many of this type in that municipality.

Santa Eulalia will delay the final decision on new licences until a full study has been carried out although the Mayor has been very clear with his thoughts on the matter: “The tourist use of houses must be controlled, you cannot create unlimited places, holiday homes must have some limits”,  he also acknowledged the connection with Ibiza’s lack of affordable housing.

Although the suspension of new licences will be ‘provisional’, Santa Eulalia’s Mayor admitted that it “could last for years” given the pace of the administrative procedures necessary to modify planning laws and introduce changes that are deemed appropriate.

In recent months, Ibiza’s 5 separate municipalities (San Antonio, San Jose, Ibiza Town, Santa Eulalia and Sant Joan) have sent their proposals to the Island Council for formal approval later this month so that the new rental laws will comes into force for this summer. Subsequently, the municipalities will have to adapt their planning laws to reflect the new limitations imposed on tourist rentals.

Sant Joan has also confirmed that they will prohibit tourist rentals in private residential apartments from being rented to tourists after there was an initial outcry when Mayor Antoni Marí Marí, ‘Carraca’ said they were considering allowing this type of activity.  After pressure from the island council they have fallen into line with the rest of the island so  now it will be illegal to rent a private apartment in a communal block for less than 30 nights anywhere on the island.

Source: Diario de Ibiza

Amnesia and Privilege Opening Parties Affected by New San An Laws

San Antonio council has denied Amnesia and Privilege’s requests for an extension of hours for their opening parties, scheduled for May.

The reason given is that San Antonio Council is working to promote different sectors of nightlife as per the Strategic Plan 2016-2030, which highlights the need to diversify the profile of tourists visiting the municipality. Both establishments must close their doors at 6am on the days they celebrate their opening.

The coalition council also consider that the high accumulation of people on these occasions especially as residents are going about their daily tasks generate discomfort to the local population and can also cause situations of unnecessary risk.

The written decision denying the extension of hours also points out that given the pre-eminence of the nightlife sector, it is not considered adequate to provide differential and favorable treatment to public institutions, such as the extension of timetables above the regulated.

MANINSANAN COMMENT: Yet another example of petty mindedness from San Antonio’s 3-Party coalition council. The town only has a few world class venues and instead of embracing these events (that happen only twice a year) and allowing them to become festivals of celebration bringing thousands of extra people into the town they decide to go for restrictions citing public safety issues.

The Problem with San Antonio…….

San Antonio has a big problem and the problem is called the ‘West End’. A small lawless area full of excitable young tourists, professional thieves, street-wise prostitutes and a few unscrupulous business people who stop at nothing to earn extra money whilst watching their surroundings go downhill rapidly, not wanting to do anything about it.

The irony is that it was these same unscrupulous business people who went to last Wednesday’s stormy council meeting and hogged all the headlines with their uneducated shoutings towards the democratically elected council who are making good on their promises to ‘clean up’ the town. Whether you agree with the council or not (I don’t but many do) they are only doing what they said they were going to do. No surprises here.

Lost in all the headlines and the hyperbole is the innocent ‘victims’ (I use this term loosely) who have done nothing wrong but find themselves on the sharp end of a new drastic closing time law that will greatly affect their and their families livelihoods for the foreseeable future.

I’m talking about those bar owner/operators who always try to play by the rules hoping this might curry favour with a council administration focussed only on targeting the legal businesses rather than the illegal people ruining the area. Ridiculous fines, over the top laws. In other words attrition by stealth.

As the petty fines are being handed out the elephant in the room is largely being ignored. The elephant of course is the profesional criminals and gangs that go unhindered on most nights with the council consistently hiding behind laws and blaming everyone else apart from themselves for not being on top of the problem, yet they change other laws to suit their election manifestoes. Double standards don’t come much higher than in San Antonio, Ibiza.

Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdes Cardona of the left wing Reinicia Party (an off-shoot of Podemos) has assumed the role of the pantomime villain in many peoples eyes during this whole sorry episode but is only doing what he set out to do: Close down the West End bit by bit in the vain hope that it regenerates itself and becomes a mini Marbella or preferably (for him) the new Santa Eulalia. If you were in any doubt as to his intentions then just look at the writing on the t-shirts he loves to wear in the public eye, it’s usually a good indication of where his head’s at.

The only glitch in Pablo’s masterplan is that there is no actual plan apart from shutting down, prohibiting and taking away. The so-called ‘strategic plan’ for San Antonio is a generic document that could apply to any Spanish seaside town: Better tourists, more spending power, blah blah blah. Many people would be less critical if the council took away with one hand then gave back with the other but so far we haven’t seen anything except for markets displaced, drinking bans in place, opening hours cut, licences suspended, terraces removed.

Where’s the incentives? Where’s the hope? Where’s the confidence in your own town? When a council and its native population perversely enjoy telling the world that San Antonio is a dirty place full of drunk British tourists then don’t blame the outside world for standing up and taking notice.

But the reality is completely different. San Antonio is a wonderful place full of life and ambition with entrepreneurs trying to change things step by step but coming up against obstacles on a daily basis. So many great things about San Antonio yet a few renegade businesses garner all the negative headlines and fashion people’s perceptions.

With elections only a year away expect plenty more council negativity as the coalition tries to paint it black and deliver it grey as a way of justifying their actions, appealing to their core voters who want revolution now not evolution over the next 10 years. San Antonio could be the best place in the world if a forward thinking local government was in place who chose to focus on the positives whilst dealing effectively with the negatives.

A coalition council with a ‘retired’ socialist mayor, an idealist radical left wing deputy mayor and a minority centre right party who don’t seem to have any influence doesn’t instil the tourist industry (our only commodity) with confidence. History has proven that coalitions rarely work and this appears to be the case in San Antonio’s town hall and it’s the innocent ‘victims’ of radical decisions who have my sympathy right now, not the loudmouths in the back row of a council meeting.

An Extraordinary Day for San Antonio

San Antonio has always been a complicated town but even by its own standards yesterday (Wed 28 Mar 2018) was an extraordinary day.

This was the day the left wing coalition council were voting to reduce the opening hours for the town’s famous West End with more than 200 of those affected converging on the small meeting room to try and watch the events unfold.

Extra police and guardia civil were called in to control the crowd (more officers than you will see in the West End during the whole summer) after only 50 people managed to access the council chambers, the rest were bundled back outside into the morning sunshine for ‘security reasons’.

Inside the chamber the atmosphere was electric with a sinister undertone. The pantomime villain here was Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdés of the left wing ‘Reinicia Party’, the town’s self appointed messiah. Starting his speech to justify the decision to close all establishments in the West End at 3am you could see the sweat glistening on his tattooed neck.

After a nervy start and plenty of heckling he soon found his confidence even through loud shouts of “liar” and “dictator” from the animated audience, mostly bar owners and operators exasperated and disgusted that the town, world famous for it’s nightlife and liberal attitude, had come to this.

Mayor Pep Tur (PSOE party) was reduced to a bit part only hissing “Silence!” at regular intervals as the audience listened to Sr Valdes’ long monologue and became more unsettled as the vote came closer. Marcos Serra on behalf of the centre right PP party spoke emotionally and clearly with counter arguments gathering sporadic rounds of applause from the baying crowd alas it wasn’t going to change the outcome as the deal had already been done behind closed doors, even though some were still hoping for a last minute rebellion on the council benches.

When the vote came, the coalition council winning 12-8, it was quick and cutting and there was an eerie shocked silence in the room before everyone started filing out with heads bowed. The show of strength by the San An nightlife community in reality was too little, too late to make a difference. Where were they all in the previous meetings when the plans were being hatched?

The socialist coalition council who seem to detest the tourism that San Antonio attracts won this battle but still so many questions remained unanswered.

Is there an actual plan to change the touristic model? How many people are actually affected by the noise? Why did the Calle del Mar road get removed from the protected zone at the last minute? What about all those who have done nothing wrong and have spent thousands on their business? Why not get rid of the few bad eggs rather than throw out the omelette?

Smokescreens and mirrors, this was not only incredible theatre but high stakes politics mixed in with some old scores to settle. As always there are winners and losers but with no actual tangible replacement plan in place let’s hope that San Antonio isn’t the biggest loser in a competitive market.