With privileged views of Ibiza Town from the calming comfort of a Unesco-protected hillside, Mirador De Dalt Vila is a marble-lined marvel that preserves the welcoming warmth of a colonial family home, combining baroque beauty with a trove of intriguing antiques.
Noon, but may be flexible, subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £251.63 (€288), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €4.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include airport transfers for arrivals between 8am and 11pm. Breakfast is not included but can be purchased for €30 a person.
The hotel has its own boat for charter, so spend a day at sea admiring the Ibiza coastline.
November to Easter
At the hotel
Public beach nearby, DVD library, free WiFi throughout, valet parking. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, whirlpool bath and Bulgari toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Ask for a Double Superior or a suite on the second floor, as these have an enticing combination of high ceilings and great views over the island from their Juliet balconies – especially if you book a room to the back left of the building, where you can fling open the windows to a startling seascape. The four Junior Suites on the third floor are up in the eaves, with exposed beams and skylight ceilings. The Double and Single rooms are limited when it comes to feline-flinging space, however, so opt for a higher tier if you can.
The little pool at the back of El Mirador is ideal for a revitalising splash or catching the afternoon sun on one of the handful of day-beds that surround it.
Bring suitably chic garb for nights in Ibiza Town and binoculars for wistful gazing out to sea.
Smoking is allowed in the bar. There’s a two-night minimum stay in June and September; three nights in July and August.
Secure one of the four tables at the front of the hotel and dine in the balmy Ibiza breeze.
Carefree beach chic.
Es Mirador’s gifted chef Juan Manuel Tur has a creative take on Mediterranean cuisine, serving up an array of meat and fish dishes featuring melt-in-the-mouth suckling lamb, beef tenderloin and ocean-fresh lobster.
There’s a cosy art deco cocktail bar beside the restaurant, but you can dawdle with a drink anywhere in (or out of) the hotel.
Breakfast’s available until the leisurely hour of noon, lunch from 1pm–4pm, and dinner from 8.30pm until 11.30pm. The mixologist relinquishes his muddler at midnight.
There’s an ever-ready supply of cold dishes available 24 hours a day.
Fly with Vueling (www.vueling.com), Monarch Airlines (www.monarch.co.uk) or British Airways (www.ba.com) to Ibiza Airport, 8km from Ibiza’s Old Town. The hotel can arrange free transfers for arrivals between 8am and 11pm if you book at least 24 hours in advance (you might be sharing with fellow guests who are travelling at the same time)
To travel to the island by rail, take the overnight train to Barcelona (via Paris), then the fast ferry from Barcelona to the port of Ibiza, which sails on most nights of the week (www.trasmediterranea.es). Free transfers to and from the port are provided.
It’s a 10-minute walk to the beach, and you can hire bikes from the hotel for two-wheeled adventuring in the local area. A car may be useful, though, if you plan to explore the island further. There’s free parking directly in front of the hotel, but do contact staff before setting out so they can sort your access to the restricted-traffic zone.
The hotel has a private yacht for charter, and can arrange excursions to visit the island of Formentara, and the surrounding beaches and coves.
Worth getting out of bed for
Head out for Thai-tinged mod Med at Casa Colonial (+34 971 338001), accompanied by great views. Amalur on Carretera San Miguel (+34 971 314554) is one of the best restaurants on the island, serving richly flavoured Basque cooking in a charming garden. Stylish El Ayoun in San Rafel (+34 971 198335) has a fantastic bar scene on Wednesdays among its bedouin tents. Bambuddha Grove on Santa Eulalia del Rio near San Juan (+34 971 197510) is set in a striking Balinese banjak (meeting hall) filled with the aroma of its Asian-fusion cuisine. You’ll need to book in advance for the ever-popular El Olivo on Plaza de Vila in Ibiza Town (+34 971 300680) where fine French cuisine is served by attentive waiters. If you fancy some Italian cuisine, try Cicale on Carretera San Juan (+34 971 325151) or, for a super-romantic setting and home cooking, there’s La Paloma (+34 971 325543), half an hour away in San Lorenç. La Brasa on Calle Pere Sala in Ibiza Town (+34 971 301 202) is great for dinner and serves local dishes in a courtyard garden; ask for a table on the right. La Bodega (+34 971 192740), just to the left of the ramp that goes up to the historic old fort, is an excellent tapas restaurant with a very good Spanish wine list. Try the hot chorizo, the cool gazpacho and the wonderful, fresh foie gras.
Is Mr Smith having a mid-life crisis? We’re waiting to board a late-night flight to the Balearic island renowned for its all-night hedonistic partying. Ibiza wasn’t quite what I’d imagined for our romantic weekend away in the sun without the kids. Hearing a stag party behind us revving up, I try to stay optimistic about a spell in Mr Smith’s favourite bachelor-days holiday haunt.
A loud, and dare I say, entertaining flight later, we discover our hotel has a car waiting patiently for us outside the tiny airport terminal, which more than takes the edge off our early-hour arrival. Driving through Ibiza Town we admire the centuries-old architecture – but I’m still a little sceptical. As historic and hip as this harbourside town may be, I’m hoping our relaxing escape à deux won’t be in the thick of all these dressed-up revellers.
Pulling up to a security barrier at a metre-thick wall of 14th-century Dalt Vila, we’re smoothly ushered through. We emerge from a tunnel within the walls of the fortified Old Town. It is completely and utterly peaceful. No neon signs, no bassline-blasting bars, in fact, there’s not a soul in sight.
Once the colonial house of a wealthy Spanish family, Mirador de Dalt Vila is resplendent in antiques and artwork – sophisticated embellishments that hail from the original collection of the previous owners. Apart from a central modern glass lift, this palatial property is much the same as when it was their summerhouse. A black-glass chandelier in the lobby sets a cut-above tone, and bronze sculptures, peachy hues and oriental rugs add to an air of nonchalant opulence.
Waking up in our big white-linen-clad bed, we admire our grand room in the daylight. Traditionally Spanish in its decor, there are paintings by local artists and exotic Moroccan rugs slung across gleaming dark wooden floors. Our spacious junior suite in the eaves even has a sea-view Juliet balcony overlooking the boats bobbing into the port. A large green onyx marble bathroom is stocked with chic Loewe toiletries and there's even a fancy whirlpool bath. You usually need to hire a rock-star villa for this kind of pampering.
By now midday, Mr Smith panics that we've missed breakfast. Ah, but this is Spain – a quick call to reception assures us we can have it delivered to our room at no extra charge or we can enjoy it at a table on the cobbled street out front. We opt for a gloriously sun-kissed spot alfresco and munch our way through fresh pastries and breads with homemade jams, Iberian jamon, cheeses and eggs cooked to perfection. Polished off, of course, with super-strength cafés con leche – we need our strength for a busy day at the beach. (The pool area at the hotel is charming but snug and best suited to a pre- or post-exploring cool-off.)
A stroll through Ibiza Town's pretty winding lanes past cute, white balconied buildings and we are exposed to an array of boutiques from glamorous new international brands to quirky been-there-decades vintage-sellers. Coffee shops and the small, central fruit-and-flower market occupy Mr Smith while I give into some irresistible boho-chic buys. As we ponder walking along the port to hop on a ferry to Formentera for the day, Mr Smith, determined to keep us onboard his trip down memory lane, steers us south to Salinas.
A 10-minute cab ride away is las Salinas, one of the White Isle's most headline-worthy sandy stretches. The beautiful people flock here to catch the rays and see and be seen while they do so. A well-heeled cosmopolitan crowd a world away from any rowdy Brits-abroad type holidaymakers I’d feared. With fascinating people-watching in wide-screen, I don’t even bother opening my book. Mr Smith, meanwhile, sets off for an explore down the coast and discovers a small nudist beach. He takes great pleasure on his return in describing a game of bat and ball he stumbled across – literally.
Long, late lazy lunches at the Jockey Club are de rigeur with those in the know, and for us it’s a rosé-fuelled feast of fresh calamari, sardines a la plancha and lots of aioli. The waiter informs us that the garlicky mayo originates from this island – and it’s the best we’ve ever had. I get a bit carried away. This potent dip is not the ideal snack to become addicted to on a romantic weekend away...
A siesta, some mouthwash-swilling and pillow-testing later (who can’t resist a pillow menu?), and we’re revved up for a little wining-and-dining in the Old Town. Making the most of our location right in this World Heritage site, we have booked to eat at the Mirador itself. Translating as viewpoint, the bar and restaurant gets a stream of visitors during the day, but by this hour it feels relaxed and exclusive. After aperitifs in the cocktail lounge, dinner is in a similar spot to breakfast, on the hotel's own postcard-perfect palm-tree-lined promenade.
Chatting to the chef, Juan José Ribas, at this acclaimed Mediterranean restaurant we learn that the Ibiza-born chef prides himself on his use of local produce. We devour his recommendations – lobster salad with a citrus dressing, succulent slow-roasted suckling pig – and a very decent bottle of local white wine from our luxury hotel's extensive cellar, la Enoteca. Sat in our peaceful perch, we could be in a sleepy Andalusian village – it’s a very different setting to the image of Ibiza that the media usually flaunts.
Our plans next? No queuing for megaclubs, or catching cabs to hip hidden-away hangouts, we just fancy an amble down to gently buzzing Plaza del Parque for a nightcap at one of the slow-tempo bars we spotted on the drive back from the beach. Drink in hand, this will be the perfect candlelit rendezvous to tell Mr Smith over a Spanish-measure vodka-tonic about how El Mirador has its own boat for charter. Where better for late-summer adventures and celebrating his pending landmark birthday with some friends than crusing these very sapphire waters? Clearly I’m getting into the Ibicencan swing of things. I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, Mr Smith got this trip exactly right.