New decade, new rules, new hopes, new dreams! In these changing times Ibiza is constantly evolving and right at the forefront is San Antonio. Here’s 9 reasons why San An is going to be massive in 2020.

1. New Hotels – WOW! San An was always under served when it came to good hotels but not any more as the town and bay now have more quality places to lay your head than ever before. From the fantastic Wiki-Woo with its eclectic trippy design to Cubanito via Axel Beach and the Beach Star, the rock n roll heritage of Pikes, Ocean Beach to Mambo’s Sa Clau, Hostal La Torre and Las Mimosas and all the way back to Casa Cook via Blau Park, Sol Bahia and the reformed Hotel Abrat. Take your pick!

2. Entrepreneurs – Ibiza is forever changing and San An is blessed with charismatic forward thinkers always looking for new ways to trade, bringing new ideas to the town. This is why Ibiza is the envy of European tourism with San An right at the heart of it. No wonder the guys from Es Vive have bought a new hotel right in the heart of San Antonio, they see the potential where others don’t.

3. O Beach Lagoon – Those crafty O(cean) Beach Boys have taken over the Surf House next door and have added it to their already impressive list of businesses. They are promising to make it very different while continuing to be family friendly so we can expect to be wow-ed with amazing food and drink and their trademark tip-top service, all whilst overlooking the sea.

4. Sunset Strip – The jewel in the crown that drags 1000’s to San Antonio and the West Coast every evening . The best sunset in the world? Probably but with all those well oiled sunset bars offering great service plus the genuinely famous names that Mambo have playing most nights adds up to one of THE Ibiza experiences. Sunset on the sunset strip continues to be like no other.

5. New Mayor – Marcos Serra has gone from IT office worker to San An Mayor in 5 short years but he has already shown his intent by getting tough with the towns bars that aren’t playing by the rules while also trying to extend the opening hours a little. His energy levels are impressive and he has a real will to change the town, a much needed breath of fresh air who’s door is always open.

6. Ibiza Rocks Hotel – Rocks Hotel has gone from edgy evening venue to day time pool party heaven showcasing new acts and old school showstoppers on a daily basis. The swing to daytime has seen them redefine their product with a newly designed outdoor space and arguably the best bar on the whole island, the immersive hotel experience they give is like no other. Pure hedonism.

7. VIP Heaven: There’s a popular misconception with ‘VIP’ that it’s full of snobby millionaires looking down on the poor people. That may be the case at other venues but not in San Antonio where the VIP experience is all about large groups of friends having their own space to enjoy a special experience. When it comes to VIP, San Antonio does it better than most.

8. West End: Now before you start spitting out your morning coffee hear me out. The Mayor has already shown his passion for this part of town and is determined to make it better. The West End offers a fun, inexpensive night out that’s a million miles away from ultra-expensive super clubs. Stay away from the stupid drinks offers and have a walk around and experience all that it has to offer including the boutiques 2 streets back and the vast array of restaurants near the fountains. It’s an eye-opener in more ways than one.

9. Fine Food: The recent announcement that Ibiza’s first ever Michelin star has been awarded to Es Tragon restaurant in San Antonio sent shockwaves through the Ibiza culinary world. This restaurant is about to go stratospheric but when it comes to all types of food San An and the bay are very well served on all fronts, if you are a foodie then you won’t be disappointed (food blog on it’s way soon).

Note: This is my BLOG NO. 300 – thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and send feedback (good and bad).

Hï Ibiza Win Confines Space to Memory

In 2016 when it was announced that Space Ibiza was closing for good there was an outpouring of grief similar to the death of a revered head of state. To many Space wasn’t just a club, it was a beacon, a way of life, a shining light of how it used to be when life wasn’t so serious although in truth it had become a slick commercial operation still marketed as a no-holds barred escapist paradise.

When Space finally closed its doors for the very last time at midday on Monday 3rd October 2016 not only did the mourning start but also the rumour mill of what would happen next to this famous site owned by the Matutes family who also owned Ushuaïa Beach Hotel.

While the chatter circulated and many old school ravers declared that Ibiza would never be the same again, Yann Pissenem the creator of Ushuaïa got to work creating another marquee brand, a new kind of club for a new kind of Ibiza.

Construction work on the site started straight away and the first hint was when the exterior became a large patio, giving it a grand Vegas-style entrance. The rumour mill went into overdrive especially about the new name, (what could possibly replace Space?) so when a very slick video dropped on 01 Feb 2017 announcing the name ‘Hï Ibiza’ the world had its first glimpse of Yann’s vision and what would become the future of Ibiza clubbing.

What no one realised back then was that this wasn’t a continuation of the Space ethos, this was a whole new concept in clubbing. Pissenem had done the air miles and his homework and knew exactly what he wanted to deliver. A new experience in clubbing run by a professional team creating a brand new experience. He wasn’t going to equal Space, he was going to better it for the next generation of clubbers, many who would be experiencing Ibiza for the first time.

Space was a time and place in Ibiza history, it was the heart and soul of hedonistic clubbing on the island long before it got hijacked by certain DJ’s. Although the outpouring of grief for its demise was genuine there was also a real need to up the ante in the new era for an Ibiza that was being compared to Las Vegas, Dubai and other emerging clubbing destinations on a daily basis.

When Hï Ibiza finally opened its doors on 28 May 2017 there was a mixed reaction, of course there was. It wasn’t Space any more, in fact it was a million miles away from Space and for some that was never going to be acceptable but Hï hit the ground running with its own identity and it was slick, very slick. No rough edges, more VIP, no more terrace but introducing new funky elements which the worlds clubbing fraternity would soon be talking about and adopting.

Hï was doing it their way and even though some were (and still are) dismissive of the shiny decor and new vibe you couldn’t argue with the talent on show. The music policy was on point introducing new acts and combining them with the iconic showstoppers that Ibiza had become famous for.

It’s hard to believe that Hï Ibiza has only been open for 3 summer seasons (in real terms little more than 12 months) yet it has taken the clubbing world by the scruff of the neck and propelled Ibiza to a new level. Even the most ardent Space-lovers have begrudgingly acknowledged that Hï has carried on where Space left off. Meanwhile other Ibiza clubs have followed suit and raised their game meaning that it’s been a win/win for the Island while other destinations throw money at their product in a vain attempt to compete with the White Isle.

Last week Hï Ibiza won Best Club in the World for the 2nd year in succession to keep Ibiza firmly at the top of the clubbing tree. Operations Manager Charlie Tatman accepted the prize on behalf of all the people that made it possible. In the list of TOP 100 CLUBS Ibiza has 4 entries in the top 8 and 9 in total, more than any other destination and although the list is highly objective, it can only be a good thing for Ibiza on the world stage.

It’s been an incredible journey in a very short space of time (pun intended) and it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the biggest compliment you can give to Hï Ibiza is that it doesn’t get compared to Space anymore. It just happens to be located at the same place but it has it’s own identity and the clubbing world loves it.

Ibiza clubbing constantly evolves, it never stops and you either change or die. Space was amazing for many years and will never be forgotten but l, nostalgia aside, the King is dead, long live the King.

Blog Post no. 299

From Ibiza to Tokyo (and back again)

It was always my intention to visit Japan one day so when the England Rugby team qualified for the World Cup final in Tokyo and I found reasonably priced last minute flights the excitement got the better of me. I love the nervous excitement of discovering a new country and a new city, the people, the smells, the sounds. It’s a sensory overload and the land of the rising sun didn’t disappoint.

Flying to any long haul destination from Ibiza is always a hassle but I didn’t realise just how far away Japan is, a mere 10700 kms. So after a 27 hour journey I found myself in Tokyo.

The first thing you notice is how calm everyone and everything is. Trains have constant reminders to not talk loudly, to keep your phone on silent. No public displays of emotion, everything is kept under check, eye contact kept to a minimum. A calmness that I hadn’t seen anywhere before and a million miles away from the always overly dramatic Ibiza.

Japanese are friendly and polite in the extreme, it’s an important part of their culture, pleasantries are exchanged at all times. Everything is orderly and organised for convenience with the minimum amount of fuss. This is a very focussed country, built on rules and regulations.

Uniforms are everywhere, from parking attendants to bus drivers to road sweepers to the guy who holds up the sign that says ‘end of queue here’. If builders are working in the street then there’s several uniformed personnel hovering around with illuminated batons making sure that nobody is under any doubt about it.

The public transport system in and around Tokyo is superb if slightly baffling although every major city is confusing at first. If there is a problem there’s always a uniformed officer on hand to help, with friendly politeness of course.

One thing you can’t help notice is that fashion is taken very seriously in Japan, it that thrives on it, embraces it, loves it. It’s edgy in a way I’ve never seen before in Asia. They may not display their emotions publicly but in their fashion a freedom of expression is shown, it’s also androgynous at times with some blurred lines.

Food is everywhere. All convenience stores sell hot, delicious offerings and there’s more restaurant choice than you could ever need and it doesn’t have to be expensive either, a delicious bowl of noodles costing around 800 Yen, less than 7 euros.

What is abundantly clear is that Japan takes its collective personal hygiene very seriously. Faces masks are always in sight especially on public transport, this is a country that has a germ phobia. Public toilets are easy to find at all times with soap and tissues always on display. Inside the toilets cubicle the wonderful lavatories offer you a wide range of ‘services’ including shooting a jet of water to clean your behind.

Technology is an obsession. Robots clean floors, machines take your restaurant order. Mundane human chores have been alleviated in so many ways.

One thing I couldn’t get used to and was like a step back in time is that Japan still allowed smoking in bars and restaurants. As a vehement anti smoker it was like a horrible memory being revisited when the person on the next table lights up while you were still finishing off your meal. Very strange for a country so serious about its hygiene.

The Rugby World Cup in Japan was an amazing success and it was a pleasure to see it first hand (even though my team didn’t win). Japan has been on my to do list for many years and it was great to finally see it. It’s no wonder that everyone I spoke to raves about the county. It’s one of the safest in the world, the people are friendly and polite, the food is delicious, transport is easy and accesible and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Recommended!