There is something special about Ibiza, something that it is hard to put your finger on. Once you have been it’s almost impossible not to return. Some say it’s the magnetic pull of the mystical island of Es Vedra, often quoted as being the third most magnetic point on the globe after the poles but, whether real or imagined, there is definitely something there.
When you think of Ibiza it conjures up images of the rich and famous luxuriating on the back of superyachts, sipping champagne as the sun sets after a hard day's shopping in all the high-end stores on the island. And this is where the real fantasy comes in, or certainly did, until Marina Ibiza spotted the very large flaw in that description. There was nowhere to go for that Pretty Woman moment - you know the one - so as part of their mission to retain the marina concession they addressed a gap in the market, in quite a spectacular fashion.
Just inside the entrance of the IMCI accredited 5 star marina, a classification that not many marinas in the world can boast, are several of the highest end boutiques; stores you would expect to find on Rodeo Drive. Currently the offering features Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Hublot, Tag Heuer, Zanotti, Burdelier, Noches de Ibiza and Blue Ibiza, and that’s just for starters.
Many more of the most famous names in fashion are signed up already for next season. One of the most interesting things is that the fashion brands have not just got on board by their simple presence, they have also designed dedicated Ibizan ranges that can only be purchased from Marina Ibiza stores. So if you want your very own J’Adior Ibiza bag then you had best get yourself over there. The first mini range they had sold out within a week.
As I was strolling up to meet my most fabulous host for the day, Kety Sierra, Head of Marketing at IPM group for a decade now, I am drawn in by the calmness of the atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot going on, an awful lot in fact, but it all seems to be happening with ease and at a pace that is perfectly summed up by the Spanish word 'tranquillo'. It's an atmosphere that Kety says they have worked hard to create. Wooden planters with beautifully maintained shrubbery have been installed all along the marina walkways serving the triple purpose of added safety for foot traffic, being easy on the eye and acting as a sound dampener.
The plan behind the revamped marina is not just to attract luxury shops, but to beautify the whole experience, to create a destination within a destination. And a destination not only for the bold and beautiful yachting crowd, but also for the residents of the island. Located just off the Golden Mile, known for having the most expensive and exclusive real estate on the island, it is perfectly placed to become a hub not only during the heady summer months but in the quieter winter season when the island truly comes into its own.
The idea of making this a true destination is also part of the thinking behind the newly opened restaurant Roto, from the brains behind Formentera and Ibiza stalwarts Beso, in conjunction with IPM Group. Carrying much the same ethos as the feet in the sand clubs that have long been the place to catch the dying rays and enjoy a cold sundowner, Roto is doing the same by the water's edge.
Roto, meaning 'broken' in Spanish, is a wonderful mish mash collection of furniture that you just know has stories to tell; think Chesterfield sofas and distressed wood. But it still exudes a feeling of absolute style; shabby chic, if you will. A flower power child at heart, Roto has its feet firmly planted in the days when Ibiza was a haven for anyone and everyone, no matter your background or your bank account, to come together, drink wine and cocktails and enjoy good food. Roto doesn’t want to be a place to eat and leave, it wants you to stay, to love and enjoy the magnificence of the setting.
And what a setting. Perched on the far end of the marina where the big superyachts sleep at night, it has the most amazing views over to Dalt Vita, better known as Ibiza Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As the sun begins to dip below the yardarm and the fleet returns to its home after a leisurely day meandering around the coves and calas of Ibiza’s stunning coastline, this is when Roto really comes into its own. There is laughter in the air as those lounging or dining at the various tables speculate about who might be on the next big yacht or simply eye up their next purchase, while choosing from any one of the delectable dishes on offer from Masterchef winning head chef Jorge Brazalez.
This isn’t the only fabulous dining option available in the marina though. There are various different spots, from Balearic favourite Cappuccino to the delightful Calme, once a crew bar with the best views in the marina, which is now a perfect setting for live events, chilling with a glass of rose or starting off your morning with one of their speciality coffees.
When the sun goes down and the stars come out, both ethereal and human, the real magic happens at the open air club, Lio. One of the most unique clubs in the world, Lio offers guests something a little more risque, with this season’s theme being La Fete Sauvage encompassing the four elements that make it so special: fun, freedom, spectacle and magic. Some would say this perfectly sums up the island as a whole.
However, Marina Ibiza isn’t all about shopping and partying, there is a very real heart and soul to the group who care passionately about the environment and are applying this to the marina itself. Everywhere you walk there are clearly signed recycling bins and if you pop into reception they will be happy to furnish any of the boats that are moored with bags to recycle plastics.
Marina Ibiza has also entered into a seahorse research and breeding programme with marine biologist and National Geographic explorer Manu San Felix and the Asociacion Vellmari. In the reception and you'll find a professionally installed tank with these magical creatures who meet each morning amongst the plant life to dance. Each male is able to produce more than 1,800 offspring but only 0.5% of them ever survive. The plan is to support the reproduction in captivity of this hugely threatened species, and release their offspring back into their natural habitat of the Posidonia meadows. These enigmatic creatures, in every colour of the rainbow, are spectacular to see up close and personal.
Marina Ibiza is also working with Trasmapi on their social responsibility project Be Blue, to try and encourage and educate the next generation of guardians of the sea. They are also actively involved with saving turtles and, if any boat should spot one on their travels around the island, the marina requests that you bring them in and alert the team. The turtles are then transferred to a special tank where they will be taken to Palma Aquarium to be rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.
Marina Ibiza can accomodate 425 boats from 8-110 metres in length, and offers all the necessary fundamentals including both a static and mobile fuel station. There is also a dry dock and lift for the storage of smaller boats, access to Marina Varadero and a wellness centre with views over the marina. Whether you need an annual overhaul or a quick retouch, the refit and repair yard is the perfect spot in the Bay of Ibiza when your yacht needs a little TLC. Marina Ibiza really has it all: incredible facilities, friendly staff, sunsets to die for, and one of the best environmental programmes around.