Off the Beaten Path: The Other Ibiza
The only thing wrong with Ibiza is that it has an image problem. This small Balearic Island off Spain's eastern coast is most often considered only a package-tour playground. Insiders, however, know better. There's a serene side to this island: good restaurants, chic boutiques, lush countryside, beautiful beaches, and several luxe villas.
VILLAS TO RENT Once you make it up the bumpy road to Can Xicu, you'll never want to leave. A restored 100-year-old Spanish finca, the villa is multilevel with flower-framed balconies on eight acres of orchards and gardens. The interiors, including the eight bedrooms with covered terraces, are done in earthy hues with terra-cotta floors and wood furnishings. There is also a thatched-roof dining terrace and a swimming pool. Rates, $14,170 a week; includes staff. Contact Chapters by Abercrombie & Kent, 44-845-0700-0618; www.villarentals.com.
Built for the island's ruling family in the 15th century, Cas Gobernador is certainly regal. The 8,600-square-foot villa, in the hills east of Ibiza town, has dramatic stone arches that open onto the terrace and swimming pool. The five bedrooms are decorated with a quirky mix of Italian antiques, Spanish paintings, and Indian furnishings. We especially love the dining room's original tile floors and the wood-paneled library. Rates, $19,000 a week; includes staff. Contact Glen Donovan at Earth London, www.earthlondon.com.
La Buena Sombra's two guesthouses sit on ten cliffside acres in northeast Ibiza with more than 250 different types of plants, two lakes with gazebos, and waterfalls. The finca's wood beams, beige stone walls, and large terrace are old-world Spain, but its impressive modern art collection, touch-panel screens, and state-of-the-art gym are perfectly now. There is also a par-three golf hole and two pools—one infinity and the other Olympic size. Rates, $28,000 a week; includes staff. Contact Villas of the World; 888-728-4552; www.villasoftheworld.com.
ROOM TO GET On Ibiza there's only one hotel to know: Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, perched dramatically on a 600-foot cliff on the island's northern coast. Its 63 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces to make the most of the stunning views; most have private pools and Jacuzzis; and all suites have hammams (ask for Suite 401). The hotel also has four restaurants, lots of common space, and a friendly and attentive staff. Rooms, $330-$1,500. At 07815 San Miguel; 34-971-334-500.
HOT TABLES Bambuddha Grove has remained one of Ibiza's chicest spots since it opened, in 1998. It offers a perfect mix of urban energy (live D.J.) and island style (traditional Thai architecture and silky daybeds scattered through lush gardens). The menu features excellent spicy Asian-fusion fare, including delicious curries. Dinner, $80. $ At km 8.5 Carretera San Juan; 34-971-119-7510.
Sueño de Estrellas, the restaurant at Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, has incredible views off the north coast and some of the island's most sophisticated food. Chef Oscar Bueno Nielsson cooks French and Mediterranean dishes using local ingredients and a lot of creativity. During a recent visit, the menu included ground green tea with oysters and scallops, and bass with hummus. Dinner, $125; 34-971-334-500.
GREAT FINDS On Santa Gertrudis Square, Te Quero (Plaza de la Iglesias; 34-971-197-100) carries a beautiful assortment of handmade leather bags, belts, purses, and briefcases, as well as deliciously old-fashioned travel cases for $20 to $5,000. The best ceramics in Sant Rafael are at Callert Icardi (on Can Ferreret; 34-971-198-106), which sells plain earthy cups, large bowls embellished with multiple glazes, and our favorite: wood-fired raku pieces glazed with copper that turns black in the oven and luminous in the sun ($20-$1,000 $).
ISLANDERS TO KNOW Passionate, knowledgeable, and well-connected, Julia and Paul Charlton of Specifically Ibiza (34-971-194-958) can get you anything from an on-call driver or masseur to reservations at the most overbooked restaurant in town.
Sneak Preview: Villa Truntoi
Even though this rental was two months away from completion when we visited, it will undoubtedly be yet another of Ibiza's spectacular properties. Sitting on a 660-foot cliff, Truntoi boasts ultramodern design—stainless steel, polished teak, and made-to-measure furnishings—a huge swimming pool with a waterfall, and a fantastic roof-top patio with a 180-degree panorama of the island's south. Rates, $31,700 a week. Contact Glen Donovan at Earth London by e-mail through his Web site, www.earthlondon.com.
Don't Leave Home Without
• A pair of Christian Roth sunglasses. Very Iberian. $200. 877-293-4440.
Hotel rates range from the lowest-priced double to the highest-priced suite in high season. In most cases VAT is not included. Meal prices are for a three-course dinner for two, excluding beverage and gratuity.
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than American Express.