With today’s budget-conscious younger clubbers more likely to head to Greek or Croatian archipelagos, Ibiza feels notably more exclusive than a decade ago, and is replete with the slick and luxury-upgrade fincas to prove it.
For many, giving your liver a run for its money no longer feels like a good use of out-of-office days – and Ibiza has the serene natural settings and winter sun that digitally over-worked, and vitamin-D-deficient professionals crave, all in a short-haul flight’s reach of the UK. In the capital San Antonio, stricter licensing laws and mobilised locals have curbed the worst excesses of visiting clubbers, taking some of the heat out of the party scene.
“There’s been a huge turnaround over the past ten or so years, with retreats and healthy activities popping up all over the place,” says Kate Whale, founder of fitness retreat The Body Camp. “Ibiza has cleaned up its act as an island. And the ravers have all grown up and want to look after their bodies.”
There has in fact always been a health and fitness culture here, existing in a kind of daytime parallel universe to the nightlife. “It has long been known as a very healing place and is known for its epic natural energy,” says Whale. “During the cooler months, there are so many hikers and triathletes in training and over the last few years, we’ve been working on silent hikes with our guests. They go down a treat.”
“Ibiza has been a destination for healing and rejuvenating since Phoenician times,” agrees Carolyn Reul, of YogaRosa Retreats, which as well as a varied yoga menu offers meditation and ‘sound healing. “It was home to the goddess Tanit, who is worshiped to this day. Like Goa, it is one of the magic places where one can more easily find the connection between heaven and earth.”
The traveller’s perception of Ibiza seems to have finally caught up with the reality: that it’s best understood as a multifaceted destination, which can offer some genuine respite in .
“The demographic change on the island has been unmistakable,” says Leane Lacase of the Atzaro Group, which provide luxury accommodation, spa treatments and yacht trips here. “Ibiza wishes to preserve its natural environment and has brought in regulations to limit clubbing licences and noise. Our clientele, and that of the island more generally, is increasingly shifting towards professionals looking for quality and laid-back luxury,” she says. “These changes have helped generate an appreciation for and an understanding of the real Ibiza.” About time, too. There was always more to Ibiza than clubbing – as the goddess Tanit could have told you.