From clubs to children’s clubs: partying in Ibiza with the family | Travel
IIf you want to know how busy Ibiza is this season, sit by the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel. I enjoyed my childless minute by the pool, some sort of sparkling Balearic with HARD ROCK tattooed on the bottom, for, ooh, about 20 seconds when an A320 roared overhead and raced a shadow in the shape of a cartoon airplane on the water. It’s enough to make me want to get out my binoculars and my anorak — which of course I didn’t bring, since we’re in Ibiza, not Hounslow. All I have are bohemian caftans and sparkly sandals.
Cathy Adams and her party crew
The planes, FlightRadar24 tells me, are landing with arrivals from London, Cardiff, Scotland, Berlin, Switzerland. They’re here for Ibiza’s first real season in two years, and the White Isle is in big beast mode. The island is shocked, and in mid-May the season hasn’t even really started yet. Solid gold names such as Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Martin Garrix are on the bill this summer; most hotels and clubs have already opened, a month earlier than normal, in a bid to claw back some much-needed cash. Hi Ibiza and Ushuaia clubs saw record crowds for their late April (April!) openings. Landing in Ibiza always feels like getting your fingers stuck in a power outlet; but this year, this take feels like it has live wires dangling and it’s been doused in champagne.
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My last trip to Ibiza involved a mild Airbnb in the pine-covered hills, a pool as cold as cava, and days spent riding scooters with friends. This time I return with an 80 cm oligarch to whom I gave birth the year before last. Luckily, he doesn’t sleep much, so Ibiza seemed like the perfect place to lose sleep together; unnecessarily, Google doesn’t turn up much when I search “which nightclubs accept children?”.
So the challenge is: could my husband, my son and I have a good time in this most adult Mediterranean destination? I packed my son’s Ibiza Rocks t-shirt and went to check it out
Our first stop is not Pacha but Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, which has done the impossible and manages to be suitable for adults and children. It’s noisy, to begin with. There’s a great kids club – Roxity – where I have a lot of fun dressing my little one up like a rock star in a purple wig, glittery boots and an inflatable guitar. Luckily for adults, there’s a real scene for outdoor parties (the season kicked off Friday with the retro Kids of the 80s event).
We content ourselves with an afternoon at Hard Rock’s Beach Club. Honestly, if you have kids and like to drink and dance during the sunny hours, beach clubs are the way to go. Under a chic slatted roof, we sip sauvignon blanc and munch on sushi while my toddler disappears into the sandbox next to the DJ. It’s not quite the open-air Balearic bangerfest of Ushuaia next door – which I escape to on a night after bedtime – but, gazing at the shimmering Mediterranean through the beach huts, I whisper a small prayer to Tanit, the goddess of Ibiza in Carthaginian mythology, that all restaurants have terraces and a playground.
By the pool at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay
My prayers seem to have been answered when we settled into the swaggering Nobu Hotel in Talamanca, further up the coast, an architect’s dream of angular white lines, expensive rattan furniture and a shop selling flip-flops. fancy. The two rectangular pools, wispy cabanas, and eponymous restaurant, known for its miso-rinsed black cod, scream the opposite of family (as one friend messaged, “Who on earth takes a toddler to Nobu? “), But be careful -fondant is exactly the opposite.
The low-key kids’ club makes a great deal for families. Toys are rendered in soothing pastel-hued wood, and there’s yoga, wood-panel making, and even DJ classes on the sand led by Ibiza’s own DJ Angel. I can’t bring myself to put a chaotic two-year-old behind the decks, but we grab a bag and do the beach clean-up activity one blustery morning, happily picking cigarette butts from the sand for him. When in Ibiza. . .
While not everyone is looking forward to this high-profile season – most of the hospitality staff I speak to have a slightly worried look when they tell me how “crazy” July and August will be – we manage to find bursts of calm. After a lunch among Instagrammers at the Nikki Beach club, in Santa Eulalia on the east coast, we fish for neptune balls and shells on the peaceful beach of S’Argamassa. Café del Mar’s Human League remixes carried by the wind behind us, the clear water in front of us, the backdrop ruined by a little person shouting “Fish!” when a school passes. . . it’s something worthy of a postcard.
Port of Eivissa, Ibiza Town
We don’t leave the island without climbing the winding lanes of Dalt Vila – Ibiza’s UNESCO-listed old town – but we do find the peak of Ibiza on the spooky strip of San Antonio that includes the Cafes del Mar and Mambo. This is Ibiza ground zero for anyone who has ever owned a Ministry of Sound album with a sunset on the front. You might grimace at ten for an Estrella beer, and the crowd is more teenage than toddler, but all is well in the world when the applause erupts on the terraces as the sun sinks into the sea. I even had to wipe away a tear. Ibiza has had two difficult years. It deserves a helping hand.
Cathy Adams was the guest of Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza (B&B doubles from £183) an/a Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay (double rooms only from £339). British Airways Holidays offers six nights room-only – three at Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza and three at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay – from £1,929 pp
Three other family hotels in Ibiza
ME Ibiza, Santa Eulalia
There’s a DJ booth by the pool, sure, but this place is decidedly family-friendly, with a kids’ club, two beaches within easy reach, and baby monitors on hand. Connecting rooms are a given, and it’s the kind of place where staff show up with toys and books just when your offspring are about to throw a tantrum.
Details B&B family rooms from £502; melia.com
Grand Palladium Palace, Playa d’en Bossa
This all-inclusive behemoth on Ibiza’s south coast has two giant pools, plenty of restaurants (try the Mediterranean Portofino, with great sea views), and spacious rooms, some with hot tubs. Highlights for kids include an adventure-packed pool and club, and a nightly mini disco (with a bar for adults, thankfully).
Details All-inclusive doubles from £359; palladiumhotelgroup.com
The children’s pool at the Grand Palladium Palace
Can Curreu Sant, Carles de Peralta
If you really want to escape the noise, try this family-run rural finca in the hills above Santa Eulalia. Suites have balcony terraces with orchard views, and kids will love the stables (and adults the spa circuit).
Details B&B family rooms from £398; cancurreu.com