The Spanish party island of Ibiza has always attracted a certain breed of well-heeled hippie. Named for Bes, the Egyptian god of music and dance, the island has been a playground for the gypsy jet set since as far back as the 1960s—with everybody from Frank Zappa to Kate Moss having made the pilgrimage over the decades. But recent years have seen the boho bolt-hole smarten up its act, making this the best summer to visit yet.
International restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani, who opened his latest restaurant, Downtown Ibiza, in the heart of Marina Ibiza last summer, explains why he picked this beachy paradise for his expanding empire: “Ibiza is attracting a much more international crowd now. All our customers are coming here.” Last year also saw private-jet traffic to the island double, and this summer Cipriani ups the ante again—with Bomba Ibiza, a nightclub he opened in May with superstar DJ Luciano. Where to party? Take the advice of Serena Cook, who set up her high-end concierge company, Deliciously Sorted, in Ibiza in 2002 to cater to just a handful of wealthy hedonists. Her business has burgeoned in the past decade, and she now has more than 6,000 clients on her books. Cook charts the rise of Ibiza’s VIP scene by the venues that have opened to cater specifically to the glitterati. Among the top spots: the Blue Marlin beach club, a Vegas-style daytime party palace; the Ushuaïa Beach Hotel; and cabaret restaurant Lío. Skip the raver-ready hotels and book a room at one of the island’s newest five-star accommodations, such as the adults-only Ushuaïa Tower and Pacha’s Destino (see “Haute Hotel” at right), new this summer.
If you want to hang with the high rollers, be ready to spend. The infamous Pacha nightclub renovated its DJ booth last year to accommodate the ever-expanding VIP section—where tables start at 400 euros for two people but the average nightly spend is well into the thousands.
Ben Turner, one of the men behind Ibiza’s International Music Summit (a dance-music conference that was also held in L.A. in April), thinks an influx of American royalty is behind the Ibiza clubs’ deepening love affair with bottle service. “People like Andrew Sasson, Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss and Dave Grutman—the kings of U.S. nightlife—have become the tastemakers,” says Turner. And guess who comes with them—private jets full of models. Need we say more?