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What do you think of when you think of Ibiza? Mad nights out? Rancid teenagers off their nuts? Foam parties? Well, you’ve been going to all the wrong parts of Ibiza, clearly. You could have been doing a whole new Ibiza – or old Ibiza – with beautiful hotels, historic World Heritage cities, marinas, boat trips to Formentera. You could have been doing Hotel Gran Montesol.

Gran Hotel Montesol, on the Paseo Vara de Rey, one of those sweet little squares with statues and loads of little bar terraces, just a 20-minute drive from Ibiza airport, has been the hip place to stay since… well, since Ibiza was the hip place to stay. You only have to look at the black and white photos of the superstar parties that have gone on here over the years to get that.

Now run by the very swishy Experimental Group (off-of Henrietta Hotel in London, Grand Pigalle Hotel in Paris, Menorca Experimental in, er, Menorca to name just a few of ‘dem beauties) Gran Hotel Montesol has been open since the early 1930s, and has undergone an extensive upgrade. With its beautiful colonial façade, it was Ibiza Town’s first hotel and has always been a hang-out for the smarter visitor – everyone from Orson Welles of Citizen Kane fame to Princess Caroline of Monaco of Princess Grace of Monaco fame has stayed here – with the building even doubling as a tourist office in the early days. With just 33 rooms over three floors and a beautiful roof terrace complete with DJ booth (it’s still Ibiza!), to this day it’s never not celebrity-ready.

Downstairs is the extremely low-key restaurant, the rather dishy Sababba, an all-day, indoor/outdoor set up with its very Spanish tiled floor, handmade crockery you totally want to nick and Israeli/Spanish shared plates – and we’d tell you what the latter were like, only we forgot to eat. When in Ibiza, etc. And up on the roof you can order up a cocktail and drink in views all the way up to Dalt Vila, the World Heritage site with the 16th-century Gothic cathedral. But it’s the rooms that really seduced us.

Along corridors that are among the loveliest we’ve swished through – so wide! Such lovely art! Sea grass runners! And the lighting! – you enter a world you never would have dreamed could exist in Ibiza. Sleek in a monochrome colonial kind of way with glossy dark parquet floors and a pair of arched French windows opening onto mini balconies (that you’re not allowed out on, for some reason: someone must have dropped their cocktail on a by-stander’s head maybe), the room is on the right side for even more views of Dalt Vila.

The headboard is a black and white Oriental screen while a real wooden propellor is the ceiling fan. The storage is deep lacquered blue while the bathroom is all-white marble with a huge circular frosted shower window letting in natural daylight. Glossier than an oiled eel and every bit as slick.


It really is an island of very many parts, Ibiza. From the hippy crews coming on their yoga retreats to the supermarket workers getting a well-deserved skinful as they get fleeced by the superclubs. But if it’s a sophisticated take on the Ibiza experience you’re after – even as a respite from partying hard – there is only one address you need. And it’s on the Paseo Vara del Rey.