A calm side to Ibiza? Oh yes, especially at the Hacienda Na Xamena hotel
“So you've been to Ibiza?” most say with a knowing smile on their faces as they exchange accounts of hedonistic partying, suave bars and chic to-be-seen-at beaches. But there is an otherworldly, alternative side to the Balearic island that escapes the attention of many. Hacienda Na Xamena hotel, 180 feet up from sea level is the first Cloud Nine stop you'll want to make (although let it be said that “cloud” was not a familiar concept in May, amid an Ibizan blue sky and 25 degrees of reliable sunshine).
The plane journey to Ibiza offered the beginnings of many Brits abroad sagas of which you don’t need enlightening, but then so do many Easyjet flights to beach holiday destinations. If you have your own private jet – just use it. However, there is always an up-side to a down-side – the few parts of Ibiza we drove through that did offer the opportunity to watch Britain's Got Talent whilst eating Egg and Chips made finding the beautiful parts feel all the more magical.
The majority of my finds – including secret hippie hangouts, small perfect beaches, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Earth's three most magnetic rocks – will be unleashed here in Alternative Ibiza Part II. For the first part, it is the grandiose wonder of Hacienda Na Xamena Hotel, which sits at the very top of the cliffs in the north-east side of the island near San Miguel, which won't take long to get your full attention.
To get to Hacienda Na Xamena, one must drive up a very long steep, winding road to the top of a pine-tree forest. And being at the other end of the island to the airport, it is somewhat of a mission if you've never been before. Undertaking such a challenge however, seems like it’s part of the masterplan –a sense of achievement from being able to find Hacienda Na Xamena makes your first reward – the heavenly view – even more incredulous.
The outside of the hotel is harmoniously blended with the inside; the white architecture, patios, plants and turquoise pool water are tidily tucked under the cliffs, sun-kissed sea and blue skies above. In short, it epitomises perfect zen. Belgian architect, Daniel Lipszyc constructed the hotel, (there was previously no electricity, roads or water) which opened in 1971 and was the only five-star hotel on the island until the mid-noughties. The concept behind the hotel was for it to mimic a piece of the landscape, a place that sat like a cloud between the sea, the sky and the neighbouring cliffs.
All the rooms are underneath the main hotel area, as if they are part of the cliff face. The hamman shower on arrival is full of some sort of eucalyptus smell that my nose warmly welcomes and the panoramic jacuzzi bath which offers that view again is met by me with a yelp of delight. Note here, that if you really want to go all out on the romantic luxury front, the Glamourous Ambience suite has the above but also includes a terrace with a private mini pool.
The Cascadas Suspendidas baths filled with sea water offer a stunning way to lap up “that view” (yes, I do mention it a lot, but it really is a corker) and enjoy the benefits of Thalassotherapy saltwater treatment. The 40-minute affair left my skin feeling super smooth and is by far the best way to soothe an excess of sun. Activities like tennis, wine-tasting, cooking lessons, yoga, and a gym are all available but I find the mountain bikes and the speedboat preferable, both offering ideal ways to explore the stunning land and seascapes, which includes nearby Formentera.
And then of course, there’s one of life’s other joyous activities – eating. Both the hotel’s restaurants, Eden and Sueño de Estrellas offer gourmet menus with fantastic food, but it's their burger, made from Wagyu beef (which is massaged before slaughtered) which even now, is a memorable highlight. Dining is also accompanied by music of the relaxing Café del Mar variety and at an amicable volume. Another thing worthy of a mention are the staff. They manage that new fine art (recently predicted as the modern traveller's latest want) of being attentive and friendly without being overbearing or fussing over you. So everyone here, guest and staff alike, is stress-free.
The verandas where guests eat or sip cocktails under pink-red sunsets are also a romantic's dream. If you are looking for somewhere to pop the question, there is no better place. The Hacienda Na Xamena’s new VIP Lounge can be hired for weddings or other events for up to 48 people. There is even a ceremonial area, specially made, for happy couples to tie the knot. Though being very near the edge of a 180 feet drop down to the sea, those prone to getting cold feet should think twice.
There is not much convincing that needs to be done: whether it’s time to get away from it all, time for some romance (or even time to get married) Hacienda Na Xamena hotel - which entertains all manner of breathtaking qualities – will not disappoint. And nor indeed, will “that view”.