The new Ushuaia Tower brings a whole new dimension of rave to Ibiza’s party scene, observes DARIUS SANAI on a flying visit to his favourite summertime island
It’s midnight on a July Friday night in Ibiza – the night is just getting going – and a thousand people are waving their arms and tanned bodies in front of uber-DJ David Guetta, who is on stage playing Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child”. The crowd has shaped itself around an enormous swimming pool, which is cordoned off for the night; beyond them, another crowd of onlookers is swarming on the beach; in the distance are the lights of Ibiza Town.
I can see all this because I am at a party of my own, on the roof terrace of the just-opened Ushuaia Tower Beach Hotel, where a competing DJ plays equally vibrant music. The crowd downstairs, where I have just come up from, is young, Hoxton-chic boys and girls delighted to get into the pool party, dressed in a mix of designer and carefully picked fast fashion: it feels like being in the moving heart of a particularly snappy Instagram feed: #gowildbaby.
Upstairs on the roof, it’s a little cooler, in every way. Brands have been pushed together with foresight. Partiers are a little older, a little more restrained: their wild days, you feel, are either behind them, or a couple of hours ahead. The moon reflected in the smooth Mediterranean would be almost romantic, if the DJ weren’t pumping out Avicii at the highest octane.
Welcome to the Ushuaia Tower. I have been invited as a guest to see the opening of the party island’s coolest new club, which sits atop a new luxury hotel tower between Ibiza Town and the airport, built for a new generation of highenergy, high-tolerance, new-gen guests-cum-ravers.
Room categories sum it up: there’s the Anything Can Happen Suite, the Anything Can Happen Suite with Stage View (offering the same view I was catching), the Fashion Victim Suite, and the I’m on Top of the World Suite.
I was slumming it in a mere luxury double, with views of sea, beach, and mountains, a suggestive minibar, and a minimal-chic bathroom. Unlike some hotels, the room is just an accessory to your experience: a place to spend the morning and early afternoon recovering from everything you have come to Ibiza to do.
You don’t necessarily need to venture outside the hotel’s boundaries to do so, either.
The amorphous giant pool which is a backdrop to the likes of David Guetta at night is the pool terrace of the Ushuaia Beach Hotel – part of the same complex, and already in existence before last summer. The brand new Tower next door has a pool of its own; step onto the beach from either and you are greeted with an array of sun loungers and a beach bar belonging to the hotels. Here they serve an excellent club sandwich made with Jamon Iberico, as I discovered the next morning when indulging in my recovery brunch.
It would, however, have been a little coarse not to drop in on other favourite spots in Ibiza, and here the hotel also came into its own. The cool will tour Ibiza on a 1960s Moto Guzzi motorbike, raven-haired brunette hanging on, vintage Hermès headscarf pulled tight over vintage Cartier, shouting directions and admonishments from behind. I had no such option and opted for what must be the next best thing: a two-seater micro-Smart car, dressed in the hotel’s colours. I headed off for lunch to Cala Jondal, a hidden beach only accessible by a more or less unmarked side road, just two cliffsides away from the nearby airport but a different, secluded world of Ibiza.
At Blue Marlin on Cala Jondal, I ate grilled local sea bream with a glass of Ibizan rosé. A supermodel I can’t name was having a discreet birthday lunch with some mutual friends at the next table, and I spent a relaxing afternoon with them before tearing myself away back to the hotel, where a symphony of DJs was warming up for the evening. I slipped into some light Margiela and Lanvin for the evening and made my way over to Lio across town – now an established joint but, with its live Cirque du Soleil shows, still the most glamorous restaurant on the island. The friend I dined with had a family engagement afterwards – only in Ibiza can someone go to their aristo mother’s 60th birthday party in a club, something I just didn’t have the mental range for – and I headed back to the Ushuaia.
Hotels as self-consciously cool as the Ushuaia Tower need to employ striking looking staff to keep themselves on brand. And it’s no secret that striking staff tend not to be excellent staff, as they are naturally en route to a career in modeling, acting, or headlining at the O2 in London, and have limited patience for the day job. It’s been a problem since Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell first opened the Morgans in New York and eye-candy staff of both sexes became the equivalent of contemporary art for a hotel.
Maybe I just caught them on a good day, but the Ushuaia Tower’s staff had plainly been drawn from a different modeling agency. The ravishing (male) concierge had almost burst out of his designer uniform in trying to get me a good table for two at almost no notice at Lio; the (female) receptionist was patience and efficiency personified in dealing with various airline bookings and IT tasks; even the housekeeping staff were fluent and efficient.
There is one proviso for anyone wishing to have the ultimate urban-Ibiza-clubbing experience at the thrilling Ushuaia Tower; no, two. First, while the views are striking, don’t expect gentle romance or trad luxury: this is the hotel equivalent of a Shoreditch superclub. And, if you expect peace and quiet after midnight, or indeed, more or less anytime, then you should probably be getting yourself to another part of the island: or, better, to another island altogether. Otherwise, get there while it’s hot – and while you are, honey.
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Compliments for the article, the tower was the surprise of summer 2013.. and has a marvellous landscape on the terrace, but for summer 2014 there will be many new surprises, compliments for your job, ciao steve