Rosie Riot does 4 Days in Post Covid Lockdown Ibiza
On a bright September evening, I embarked on my solo trip to Ibiza, having been rendered the last willing party patron from a group deterred by the somewhat surprise UK/Spain quarantine rules. I had no idea what to expect.
After touching down at Ibiza airport after a sparsely populated flight, I caught a taxi and headed to Ibiza Rocks Hotel. I was immediately met with two monumental security staff, one of which squirted my scuffed plimsolls with disinfectant and silently pointed to a huge vat of hand sanitiser which I used (in excess it has to be said). After being wristbanded up I ventured up to my room where I could finally take off my Covid facemask; a relief in the 25 degree evening heat.
Peering outside the curtain I took in the view; a desolate main pool area with purple lights and glitter balls bedecked. I could make out the sound of crickets in the late summer air amongst the faint thud of a bassline in the background. Suddenly it was beginning to dawn on me just how sedate this particular Ibiza experience was going to be.
The next day I checked out, a little disappointed, if not full from my complimentary English breakfast. The street was awash with surgical masks, a testament to the strict Ibizan regulations for Covid-19 prevention. I even witnessed one lady waist-deep in the sea complete with a surgical mask. After catching a taxi to the Paradiso Arts Hotel (a favourite haunt for Instagram influencers and fashionable sun seekers), I hastily changed into my swimsuit, and headed to the bar.
I was greeted by Wesley, the resident cocktail maestro at Paradiso, who after hearing of my solo plight, suggested I contact a friend of his on the island called Martin; a friendly ex-pat and local legend it seemed. After a sun baked afternoon of languid sunbathing to the sounds of 80’s groove records, I eventually heard back from Martin who suggested we meet the following day…
The following morning I walked the short distance to the Beach Star Hotel just off Carrer de Calo on the outskirts of San Antonio. A friendly establishment, the hotel is a hit with those looking for a classic Ibizan DJ poolside experience, with a more upbeat vibe than the chilled out sanctuary of the Paradiso. Martin greeted me by the pool, all bronzed skin, Durham lilt and beaming white smile. It transpired he found his calling on the ‘White Island’ heading up groups of club 18-30’s reps in its 90’s heyday.
Now, he ran a successful tourism app on the Island and was a firm favourite of club owners and DJs alike. We whiled away the afternoon in the September sun, happily chatting away to the myriad of residents; a couple in matching pink Fendi swimwear, a couple of tattooed herculean men posturing in neon swim shorts, and attractive women basking in the shallows of the pool.
Resident DJ and Ibiza stalwart DJ Antton (who I was later introduced to) played choice cuts of funky house at a formidable volume as we swayed to the beat, frozen daiquiri in hand as delivered by masked dancing waiters. The vibe was a delight; nowhere near as rammed as it had been in past years due to the absence of throngs of club goers, but the weather was still there, with just enough people to keep you entertained with some genuinely friendly people. Martin asked me what my plans for the rest of my stay were, and I mentioned my enthusiasm to visit Pikes, the legendary hotel and finca complex, mecca of hedonistic debauchery, and all round unique party haven founded by the late, great Tony Pike in 1978.
The event ‘du jour’ it transpired was ‘Cosmic Pineapple’ ( https://pikesibiza.com/cosmic-pineapple/ ) a wellness and healing-infused creative market all topped off with magical music performances by top secret DJs at the evening ‘Space Raves’ in Freddie’s bar (which for the time being had been replaced by sit down pizza and cocktails). This piqued my interest, so Martin kindly dropped me off en route to the W Hotel where he planned to party, stopping mid-way up the hillside road up to Pikes to educate me on the formation of the surrounding hills which, according to his late friend Tony, had been chosen on account of its likeness to the open thighs of a woman. Apparently, this is what swung it for Tony as the location…
Inside, the Covid-19 restrictions were evident and so the vibe more sedate, so I headed to the bar for a recommended apple cocktail which, to date, is probably the most delicious cocktail I ever had. Resident cats and a perfectly clear starry sky made this Alice and Wonderland of the Balearics one of the most special places on the island for me.
The following day I woke up buzzing with ideas for my Data Transmission take over which I filmed throughout the day. A quick rendezvous with Wesley the Paradiso barman and I was introduced to 3 amigo’s called SedanoSaurio, a charismatic Spanish trio playing laid back and retro vibes. I joined them on their DJ perch overlooking the 2 pools, precariously filming them as one of them donned a plastic T-Rex mask.
After that, I hot-stepped it back to the Beach Star to swap notes with Martin. The W Hotel was a hit apparently, having had a small group dance to Martin’s friend DJ Helen Dickinson there. I mused on what to do that evening. I fancied a sunset, perhaps an excursion to Café Mambo where Martin’s friend was Djing. However the pull of Pikes beckoned and after befriending a small group of Brits on sun loungers (two of whom were from my native Lewisham in South London), the decision was to head back to Pikes.
Upon entry, having literally left the poolside, we hesitated as the ‘no flip flops’ sign intimidated us with our collective casual beachy attire. But after a brief chat from Martin and the solemn security man nodded towards the venue. This time the sun was still up, and we were fortunate enough to have a guided tour courtesy of Martin. A slick turn of a light switch illuminated a cave-like bathroom with a huge angular bath.
“That’s where Freddie Mercury used to have his orgies back in the day – it gets used as a karaoke room now; mad eh?!”
We were all completely in awe of the history of the quirky finca. Whilst the others retrieved their cocktails which sloshed about in their martini glasses, I interviewed Camilo Mirando, a resident DJ of Pikes who I spied as I walked in as he DJ’d with spinning gnomes either side of him. I sat with him in the ‘snug’ by the pool and we chatted about his journey at Pikes (and tried to eek some legendary stories of debauchery out of him which he was gallantly tight-lipped about… what happens at Pikes stays at Pikes it seems).Design
The sun soon began to set, a beautiful late summer glow illuminating the glitter of guests. We found it fairly easy to get a table (at other times unheard of) and listened to the sounds of Andy Baxter who played an eclectic mix of chilled world music on the terrace whilst Jon Woodall played sublime sixties infused and Balearic vibes in the bar. All exceptionally well picked; nothing too jarring or commercial (well – it is Pikes after all).
We finished off the night at a delightful Tapas restaurant (aptly named ‘Tapas’) where a birthday cake was brought out at the end of the night on Martin’s behest for Danielle who was part of our group and who’s birthday we saw in at the stroke of midnight..
My last and final day saw in a flurry of exceedingly sentimental goodbyes and last minute introductions alike. During my last hurrah at the Beach Star, I was introduced to Ryan McDermott, a resident DJ at Café Mambo. We chatted about his experiences of Covid-19 during the summer season and the challenges it brought with it (some main pitfalls being seated revellers, and mandatory masks unless you have food or drink in front of you). And so, with that, it was with a heavy heart that it was time for me to go as rumours circulated that an 8pm Covid-19 curfew was about to hit San Antonio the following week.
Even in the shadow of Covid-19, Ibiza still retains its magic. And perhaps, controversially, its enforced subdued vibe at a time when the island is usually far busier, actually made this trip all the more special.
Below you can check out my Instagram stories DT takeover, so you don’t miss the White Isle too much!