Balearic Bliss By Scott Manson
48 hours in Ibiza is perfect, provided you’re travelling by private jet, says Scott Manson….
Full disclosure. This is not my first time on the White Isle. Nor is it my second. Or my third. I have been to this party island no fewer than 47 times, most of that in a previous life working for Ministry of Sound – the global clubbing brand.
Back then, life was lived in a fog of Marlboro smoke and Red Bull, with little chance of luxury, save for the occasional free glass of champagne in club VIP areas. This trip would address all that, giving me the sort of Balearic experience traditionally enjoyed by the likes of top international DJs and music artists, many of whom visit the island throughout the summer months.
Although a flying visit, it would take in a private jet, a ‘‘rock star’’ villa, a tasting menu at a top restaurant and a night of partying at Pacha, one of the island’s most iconic clubs. It started, though, in the less-than-luxurious environs of Luton airport, on a rainy Tuesday morning.
A chauffeur-driven car to the airport, arriving at its private jet terminal took the sting out of it though. I was travelling with Jet Partner (www.jetpartner.net), an innovative private aviation operation founded by Patricio Zunino and Antony Rivolta – two veterans of the industry who came together to create a smart internet-based service that fills empty seats on private jets with people who’d like to travel on them. For the uninitiated, there are hundreds of planes flying every day without any passengers on them, either because they are going to collect people or they are being positioned for their next operation.
Dubbed ‘‘empty leg’’ flights, the smart chaps at Jet Partner came up with a simple digital offering that allows you to log in and select your flight and book one of these empty leg trips on the spot, at a fraction of the usual cost. This puts a short break in Ibiza, with none of the annoyances of flying commercial airlines, in reach of many more people than just the privileged few.
And what a pleasure it is. From the comfy lounge where I wait, to being whisked through the passport procedure via a super swift special channel, plus the fact that the jet itself is laden with fine champagne and comes with a captain who has a nice line in amusing patter – this is the only way to fly.
Better still, Jet Partner has an agreement with top Mayfair restaurant Novikov, to supply what is surely one of the world’s best in-flight meals. My small table is groaning with goodies, from truffled scrambled eggs, to fabulous sushi, miso black cod, caviar, king crab and lobster thermidor. It’s so good, in fact, that I make a mental note to book a table at this London restaurant as soon as I return.
Upon arrival in Ibiza, I’m taken by private transfer to Can Tehani, a recently renovated eight-bedroom villa in a stunning hillside location just 15 minutes drive from the airport. Every room is exquisite and the public spaces are beautifully considered, from the uber-cool pool to the 10,000 sqm of landscaped gardens. There’s even a big cinema room, in the event that you need a night of relaxation – essential for those visiting the island for a week or more. Celine, the villa owner and our fabulous host for the trip, has created something truly magical here.
Similarly beguiling is Bambuddha (www.bambuddha.com), one of Ibiza’s most famous restaurants. This ‘‘Mediterrasian’’ masterpiece combines the best local produce with an Asian aesthetic, all set in the sublime surrounds of a Balinese pagoda that was imported (at great expense, I’m guessing) piece by piece from Indonesia. There’s a fusion feel to the menu, and we were lucky enough to be treated to the tasting selection, with head chef Alejandro Arquero Martinez on hand to explain every course. It was all I could do to sit politely while we had this chat, so keen was I to dig into every delicious morsel. The bar, too, boasted mean mixologists that were the equal of any of London’s best bars. Little wonder, then, that many people come here for a meal, but then choose to stay much later.
For us, though, the Ibiza institution that is Pacha was calling. Set near Ibiza town itself, we were whisked to this mighty nightclub by Felden, who runs Boutique Ibiza (www.boutiqueibiza.com), a luxury concierge company that caters for the island’s elite guests. Anything you need while there, Felden is your go-to guy.
As hundreds queued outside, Felden negotiated us swiftly past the velvet rope, through the back stage rabbit warren of corridors and up to our VIP seats. With a full bottle selection available on arrival and the fierce sound system cranked up to the max, I proceeded to party the night away like I was 20 years younger. How Felden keeps this up every night, I have no idea.
A few hours shut-eye, followed by some poolside lounging the next day and, of course, a lunchtime feast courtesy of the villa’s private chef, saw me sadly pack my bag ready for the trip back. Again, though, the superb service offered by Jet Partner – and another bottle of decent champagne on the flight – soon banished those back-to-work blues that were starting to descend. No longer the preserve of playboys, footballers and lottery winners, private aviation has opened up to almost everyone and, boy, does it feel good.