British Bobbies on the Ibiza Beat


From 17 August 2015 – for 1 week only – Officers Sergeant Brett Williams and PC Martina Anderson of West Midlands Police are about to become ‘famous’ on the streets of San Antonio as they patrol in 2 shifts, from 7am until 10pm, and assist local law enforcers in investigations where British holidaymakers are offenders or victims. The officers will wear full British uniform in what is being described as a ‘trial operation’.

The 2 British ‘Bobbies’ (who will have already done a week in Magaluf, Mallorca) will be accompanied by 2 specially designated Guardia Civil officers and will be housed in 4 separate hotels donated by the San Antonio hotel association.
It’s an interesting and brave initiative that has been funded and planned with help from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth office that will see British and Spanish law enforcers join together for the first time in Ibiza’s 2nd largest town that has a far from untarnished reputation.

The British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, said: “The presence of UK police officers will help to remind British holidaymakers of the importance of respecting local laws and customs, ensuring that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday, free from trouble and crime.”

Andy Marshall for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Their presence will offer reassurance to both locals and UK citizens in areas that significantly increase in population during the busy summer holiday season and provide support to victims of crime during what can be a traumatic experience, especially when away from home.”

What will be interesting is the inevitable difference in approach from the Spanish and British officers on the streets to problems that can sometimes be controlled through clearer communication yet are often exacerbated by language and cultural barriers. It is hoped that the Spanish police might learn some techniques in quickly solving confrontations that just involve over zealous holiday makers.

In 2013 I accompanied a group of influential local San Antonio businessmen to Newcastle for an invited weekend and they were amazed how the local police force were high profile on the streets yet easily communicated with the party crowd often diffusing situations quickly and positively in the town centre adding to the atmosphere rather than taking away. Seeing that there are parts of San Antonio that have little or no police presence at crucial times of the day any help in this direction can only be positive.

San Antonio councillor Aida Alcaraz commented “This is a pilot project, we hope the ‘Bobbies’ take away a clear picture of the situation and return next year at the start of the season”.

Some parts of the British press have been critical calling it a ‘farce’ and a ‘paid holiday’ however only time will tell whether this is just a political PR exercise or a project that can grow and evolve into helping Ibiza and specifically San Antonio during the busy summer months.

Watch this space!

SANZ, DE LA SOUL, SPANDAU, ALBORÁN: A 10 DAY LIVE MUSIC BONANZA

  

Last night saw famous Spanish crooner Alejandro Sanz kick off an incredible 10 days of performance led live music on the White Isle as he played his 1st concert in Ibiza for 20 years as part of his ‘Sirope’ world tour. The Madrid born singer is famous for his flamenco based ballads – ‘Sirope’ is Spanish for ‘syrup’ – so this might give you an idea of his musical style

The concert took place at The Can Misses football stadium in front of 6500 noisy fans, 1500 tickets remained ‘unsold’ causing Sanz to comment at the start of his performance that ‘everyone was still on the beach’. Funny Guy. He played for 2 hours in high temperatures to an the audience made up of residents, tourists and few famous faces and formed the 1st part of a massive Latin double bill as 26 year old heartthrob Pablo Alborán will play the same venue on Thursday 20th August. The Malaga born singer will be sure to cause a stir especially with the local Spanish female population. 

On Wednesday 12 August Ibiza Rocks welcomes New York Hip Hop pioneers De La Soul for a much anticipated live show at their Hotel in San Antonio. The band have been together for nearly 30 years and are about to release their 9th album. This promises to be memorable in a streetwise, quirky lyric type of way.

Then the BIG one (for me anyway) is on Wednesday 19 August when the iconic 80s band Spandau Ballet perform at Ibiza Rocks Hotel in what promises to be one of the highlights of the summer for those New Romantics of a certain age. To Cut a Long Story Short this should be pure Gold, as after many years of infighting and all the band being a bit Highly Strung, they have literally gone Through the Barricades to reform and take on the world yet again. This really could be a new Lifeline for them. True Story!

Spandau have strong links to Ibiza: Steve Norman lived on the island for many years and all the ‘Boys’ have The White Isle firmly engraved on their memories from their glorious 80s and early 90s heyday. Tony Hadley even performed many solo shows here too back in the noughties.

So in the space of 10 days Ibiza Town and San Antonio play hosts to 4 massive concerts which will see plenty of arms in the air (like they just don’t care) waving from side to side with fans reliving their youth and singing at the top of their voices – the Nostalgia will be cranked right up. Ibiza isn’t about any one genre of music or entertainment and as it continues to reinvent itself every year, the White Isle truly has something for everyone! 

Ibiza Villas: Stick or Twist?

  

A little over 10 days ago local Ibiza villa retailer ‘International Villas’ went into liquidation just as we were heading into peak season. It seemed a strange time to go under and even though there were a few sinister rumours flying about when you consider that villa payments are due by the beginning of August it was possibly just a case of negative cash flow in difficult trading conditions?

The villa market in Ibiza is now an important part of island commerce with many investors buying a 2nd home to rent out and also many locals refurbishing their inheritances for a secondary income. The recent government initiative to simplify the legalization of holiday villas has also meant that it’s now become a viable money spinner rather than a cash in hand, nod and a wink extra. 

Never has there been so many villa companies, agents and middlemen, when I started renting villas in the mid 90s there were only 45 registered properties on the island (no wonder they were mostly fully booked). Any internet search will now reveal over 3000 villas online and that doesn’t include the ones that aren’t advertised. 

Airbnb is a recent phenomenon that has become popular however there is a fundamental flaw in their system; Because the owners/retailers don’t receive any money until after the client has arrived they reserve the right to cancel the booking right up until the last minute. This is OK for a short city mini-break but not very reassuring when you are responsible for a group of 10 people for 2 weeks in August. Your money may well be protected but that’s no consolation if your booking is cancelled the day before your arrival.

The entire villa market has also taken a PR bashing as internet shysters have been defrauding holiday makers on an industrial scale, UK’s Primetime TV show ‘Watchdog’ even ran a section on it putting the MD of Owners Direct under the spotlight and in the hot seat. Is it any wonder that tourists have decided to go back to town centre hotels especially as Ibiza is raising its game in this field. 

So taking all this into consideration the demise of International Villas isn’t too difficult to understand. 

So under these conditions is there a future for Ibiza’s villa market? Of course there is but it’s a competitive business and owners and agencies need to find a way to differentiate their product from the rest.

If you are a prospective villa client then do your homework, speak to the owner/agency in detail, ring their office, check their website and look for 1st person reviews. If you follow this advice then it will soon become clear if the person or business you are dealing with is reliable or not. If in doubt then don’t book with them as there are always plenty of other options. Don’t just take their word for it and don’t send any money to strange bank accounts in even stranger countries.

The good news is that with all the competition there are some amazing bargains to be had meaning that modern villas with private pools can sometimes be cheaper than 2 star hotels. So proceed with caution but with a little common sense you will soon be sipping cocktails in your own private pool watching the world’s most famous sunset with some extra money in your pocket and a great big smile on your face.

MTV’s ‘IBIZA SHORE’ CANCELLED!


In a surprising move the producers of the proposed MTV show ‘Ibiza Shore’ have announced the sudden cancellation of the reality TV show citing ‘circumstances beyond our control’.

The show was due to start filming in the coming weeks and the cancellation comes after Island President Vicent Torres stated that any establishment collaborating with the producers would be subject to rigorous inspections. Bora Bora swiftly renounced their links along with other Ibiza establishments.. There has also been a wave of hysteria from locals on the island annoyed that this type of show continually highlights the sex, drugs and club culture of the island.

The show is a Spanish version of the USA’s ‘Jersey Shore’ and UK’s ‘Geordie Shore’ and follows a group of good looking individuals documenting their ups and downs and personal relationships within the group. As much as the producers will try and say ‘it’s an emotional rollercoaster’ there’s no doubting that it’s shock value, car crash TV.

The question now is where do you draw the line. Does that mean that ALL reality TV is now persona non-grata or is it one rule for one and one rule for another. There’s no doubting that while some will be celebrating others will be concerned that this sets a dangerous new precedent against TV, the very thing that’s stimulates interest for many millions on a daily basis.

With more TV shows and also a feature film planned over the coming months let’s see what reaction they will be given before, during and after production. Is this a victory for common sense or a victoty for uncommon censorship. Only time will tell so watch this space but in the meantime its…

IBIZA 1 – 0 REALITY TV

Welcome to the IBIZA PREMIER LEAGUE

‘New season, new expectations’ , ‘the Big 6’, ‘pre-season transfers’, ‘management merry-go-round’ and ‘huge money contracts’…Welcome to the IBIZA PREMIER LEAGUE.

As the big kick off looms our guest blogger ‘STAN ANTONIO’ compares the English Premier League clubs to Ibiza’s premier establishments. Stan is a seasoned Ibiza veteran and describes himself as a ‘No Hit Wonder’ after his Ibiza Anthem “Sardines in Pacha” failed to trouble the record companies and chart compilers alike.

So here it is …….is your team the football equivalent of an Ibiza Superclub, bar, beach club, beach bar or swingers haunt?

Aston Villa = Any Boat Party
Enter the season knowing that their continued presence is threatened after a number of high profile players jumped ship.

Arsenal = Amnesia
Well established ever-present top-flight club with stable management. Playing staff feature strong British contingent in addition to some classy continental individuals. Smokers can be shown the door.

Bournemouth = Bora Bora
Excited seasiders, small capacity no barrier to a raucous atmosphere. Crowd not too concerned with result; just loving every moment of the ride.

Chelsea = Pacha
Stylish, cosmopolitan club who challenge for honours every year, owners probably on ‘Sunday Times’ Rich List. Midweek fixtures very busy with glory-hunting followers. Well-balanced playing staff comprised of trusty long-serving stalwarts and long-serving superstars, highest profile player somewhat divisive figure; both loved and reviled. Marquee signings sometimes flop (for Fernando Torres think ‘Wisdom of the Glove’).

Crystal Palace = Rock Bar
Small club in the capital, intimate ground with great atmosphere. Not Brendan Rodgers favourite place.

Everton = Plastik.
Proud institution, strong management who refuse to live in the shadow of their dominant (but shadow-of-their-former selves) neighbours just down the road.

Leicester = Beverly Swingers Club
Less said the better.

Liverpool = Es Paradis
Iconic ground but not the place it once was. Ineffective recruitment policy (and over-reliance on someone called Steve) has resulted in under achievement at the highest level. Home fixtures regularly played in downpours, but waterlogged pitches not a problem.

Man Utd = Privilege
The biggest club without a doubt but no longer the best. Recent glory closely linked to strong performance from big Dutch player who has since moved on. Recently showing signs of returning to former glories. Iconic building to which ‘home’ support travel hundreds of miles to attend. Enviable capacity but toilets smell bad.

Man City = Ushuaia
Early kick-off masters seemingly unrestrained by budget, have the pick of talent, but still regarded as noveau riche and although highly successful, perceived as lacking tradition.

Newcastle = Eden
Sleeping Giant suffering under often controversial ownership leading to a high turnover of management. Embark on the season with no big signings, but with a very clear PA system indeed.

Norwich = Heart
Famous chef’s hobby.

Southampton = Sankeys
Unparalleled youth policy, known for unearthing new talent who move on to bigger (but not necessarily better) clubs.Play their best game in sultry, humid conditions.

Stoke = Benimussa Park (The Zoo)
Partisan, animalistic home crowd, effective results (although can be messy at times in the middle of the park, Brian). No one enjoys going there on a wet Wednesday in late November.

Sunderland = The Highlander
Passionate and unpretentious community-based club under Irish and Dutch stewardship. Expect broad accents and even broader smiles.

Swansea =  Ocean Beach
Single-handedly flying the flag in an area not known for ‘the beautiful game’. Deliver a stylish and attractive game despite no household names playing for them.

Tottenham = DC10
Occasional flashes of brilliance after long periods of inactivity. Italian management held in high esteem for their vision. Somewhat insecure possessive tendency to regard their residents as “one of their own”.

Watford = La Torre by Mambo
New boys on the block. No expectations of silverwear, this season is all about establishing themselves in the top flight.

West Ham = Linekers
Semi-famous owners, celebrity supporters mixing with salt-of-the-Earth type geezers.Ambitious plans which don’t include Sam Allardyce or for that matter, foam parties – which is surprising, given their terrace anthem.

West Brom = Ibiza Rocks
Strong, uncompromising management guarantees perennial top flight presence, strong talent scouting. Even stronger replica shirt sales. Rightly applauded for introducing new style of playing. Exciting prospects in the ranks but strict wage ceiling limits World class signing.

Recently Relegated

Burnley = Gatecrasher
No one misses them.

Hull = Ket Cove
Recreational drug problem.

QPR = Booom!
Couldn’t remain in top flight despite high profile management and some big name transfers.

And finally the nearly men……

Derby County = San Antonio
Amazing history full of characters. Great crowds and incredible atmosphere, massive potential yet prone to disappointing even their most loyal and passionate supporters by making basic errors.

Nottingham Forest = Exodus
Manager and fans talk a great game, never gonna happen.

The crowd are on the pitch…..

My Top 5 AMAZING BOATS in IBIZA 

  

Ibiza has become the playground of the seriously wealthy who descend on the party capital of the world to have fun and also show off their amazing toys. 

Amongst them is the planet’s 2nd largest privately owned yacht appeared off the coast of San Antonio. “Eclipse” – owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich – measures 162.5m/533 ft, has 2 helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, 2 swimming pools and several hot tubs. It is also equipped with 3 launch boats and a mini-submarine that is capable of submerging to 50m. 70 crew members are needed to operate the yacht and serve the guests. WOW!!!!!

“Eclipse” isn’t even the biggest yacht out there!  In a mind-blowing display of one-upmanship Khlaifa Al Nahyan, the President of United Arab Emirates, launched the €500M “Azzam” in 2013 and at 180m/590 ft ‘dwarfs’ Eclipse by 18m/60 ft.

As a ‘celebration’ of obscene wealth here’s my 5 favourite completely excessive boats that I’ve seen in Ibiza waters over the last 12 months. All photos taken from my very own insignificantly small boat.

 Eclipse – see above, Roman’s €340M floating palace with bullet proof glass, 2 helicopters and 1 submarine among it’s toys. Say no more.

Wow Factor 10: It has a fully equipped nightclub

 RC – Roberto Cavalli’s 40m/133 ft yacht named after himself (naturally) cost a relatively cheap €30M and is proof that size isn’t everything. It’s uber-fashionable with animal print furniture ,15 staterooms, a spa and optional fur coats if the weather turns a little chilly.

Wow Factor 9: It changes colour as you approach it.

 “A” – when it comes to cutting edge design it doesn’t come any edgier than this tug. It was designed by Philippe Starck and Martin Francis and delivered in 2008 at a cost of around €250M. With a length of 119m/390 ft and weighing almost 6,000 tonnes it’s named after owners Andrey and Aleksandra Melnichenko. It’s provocative styling has made it a true marmite boat with comparisons to submarines and battleships. It’s known as the “most loved and loathed ship on the sea” and can accommodate 14 guests in the owner’s suite and 6 further guest suites – it has 37 crew.

Wow Factor 10: It costs over a €1M to fill it’s fuel tanks

 Main – Giorgio Armani’s 65m/213 ft mega yacht is sharp, fit, slim and is the water version of the famous Armani aesthetic. With angular lines and an unusual dark-green color the boat is more lean, mean war machine than fat and happy pleasure cruiser. “Main” has 6 spacious guest cabins, elevator, jacuzzi, indoor gym, cinema screen, multiple bars, a gigantic sundeck.

Wow Factor 9: It has 12 statement staircases

 Tiara – this amazing 55m/178 ft sailing yacht is not just a passing visitor but an island resident and is moored permanently off the coast of Cala Tarida right opposite its owner Guy Laliberte (Cirque du Soleil founder) huge hillside mansion. “Tiara” provides 5 luxurious staterooms for 10 guests. The owner’s ‘apartment’ is on 2 different levels and features a superb lobby and study. The master stretches the width of the boat and features a large marble bathroom and king sized bed. There are 4 further spacious staterooms plus accommodation for it’s crew of 12.

Wow Factor 8: Rental is a cool €180,000 per week (plus expenses of course)

For everyone else there is the euromillions draw every week……..
  

Todo Incluido: ¿Aquí para Siempre?

  

Todo incluido: Nunca 2 palabras han causado tanta consternación en los principales resorts turísticos del Mediterráneo. Ibiza, Tenerife, Mallorca, Benidorm, Costa Brava: Todos los grandes están “sufriendo”. Algunos resorts ya establecidos de antaño se han vuelto pueblos fantasma parcialmente ya que las una vez vibrantes zonas han sido abandonadas por turistas que prefieren quedarse en su hotel bebiendo y comiendo “gratis”.

Por mucho que denunciemos el producto, el problema es que el mercado decide y las familias y grupos han decidido que quieren saber exactamente por lo que están pagando y quieren que sus hijos puedan tomar snacks y helados a cualquier hora del día sin tener que constantemente meter la mano en el bolsillo.

No oirás mucho “Ibiza es caro” alrededor de algunos hoteles todo incluido mientras Mamá y Papá se relajan en un entorno seguro sabiendo que el 80% de su presupuesto está asegurado. Aun hay negocio a hacer ya que el otro 20% será gastado en viajes en barco, días fuera, alquiler de coches y actividades en la playa.

El reto para los resorts del Mediterráneo es posicionar correctamente su producto y lugar ya que el Todo Incluido tiene una demanda real y si Ibiza no lo ofrece, otro lugar lo hará sin dudarlo. El nuevo resort ‘Sensatori’ en Cala Tarida está recibiendo críticas buenísimas ya que siguen el probado y testado modelo de largo plazo de una localización playera, entretenimiento sobresaliente, una variada selección de comida y excelentes servicios para familias. Un buen ejemplo de dar al publico lo que quiere, que con una familia de 4 miembros costando más de 6500 euros la semana en agosto llega a ser un Premium. El Seaview Country club es también un conocido todo incluido de Ibiza ofreciendo diversión familiar en la playa y recientemente ha añadido su propio parque acuático, añadiendo mucho valor para Mamá y Papá. Estos productos no son baratos pero como con muchas cosas en la vida, recibes por lo que pagas.

Desafortunadamente estos 2 resorts hoteleros son la excepción en vez de la norma en la Isla Blanca con muchos otros que ofrecen un producto inferior en un lugar inferior por mucho menos dinero mientras tratan a sus clientes con agresividad territorial pasiva. Tienen el dinero por adelantado así que abusan de ese privilegio “regalando” comida y bebida de baja calidad” – igualmente, ¿que sabrán los Británicos de comida? Si haces las mates es una ecuación simple: ofertas baratas de todo incluido = comida/bebida barata = turismo barato. Esta es una mentalidad perdedora para la isla como nos hacen saber las fiables críticas de “Trip Advisor”.

Nos guste o no el “Todo Incluido” esta prosperando en todo el mundo (especialmente en resorts emergentes) y definitivamente esta para quedarse. Mis recientes blogs han tocado sobre “Vips” y trabajadores de temporada que más o menos representan el nivel alto y bajo del mercado pero si Ibiza quiere seguir atrayendo el importante mercado medio entonces es Ibiza que va a tener que cambiar y no el modelo todo incluido.