Crystals? Drum circles? No, if you’re seeking a little spiritual nourishment, then sultrily stylish island hideaway Oku Ibiza offers manna in the form of tipsy brunches set to deep house, free daily rooftop yoga sessions, spa soothing with island-grown botanicals, and wagyu or toro with caviar from a former Sushisamba chef. It’s a tonic served ice cool, with minimalist rooms in earthy tones (all with balconies, some with ‘back to mine’ terraces), a resident DJ and the largest pool on the island.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability and a charge of 50 per cent of the room rate till 4pm, the full rate after. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £224.76 (€265), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include the bountiful breakfast (€35 a person) of meats and cheeses, fruits, cereals, juices, hot dishes to order and the pâtisserie buffet (with gluten- and dairy-free choices, too).
Alongside some covetable woven chairs from Papua New Guinea, the hotel has bold sculptures by American artist Steve Tepas. If you’ve fallen for the hotel’s elegant organic look you can find wooden bowls, rattan baskets and sculptural vases in the on-site boutique.
The hotel will be closed until 29 April 2021 and from 18 October 2021 until the start of the summer season.
At the hotel
Spa and gym, lounge, boutique, laundry service, free WiFi, plug adaptors, beach bags. In rooms: balcony, satellite TV, Marshall speaker, iPod dock, minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, air-conditioning, free bottled water and Le Labo bath products. The Swim-Up Rooms share a pool, and the Private Villa has its own pool.
Our favourite rooms
Oku’s Signature Suite is something we’d happily put our name to as well – spread out over three rooms, it’s big enough to hold your own private rave (although this is more of a chill-out zone) or practice your most florid yoga poses. There’s a private bar, a dressing room leading off from the bedroom and a bathroom with a shower made for two. Alternatively check into the Penthouse for a terrace that’s made for many more.
The hotel has two pools. The first – at 50 metres – has set a record for the largest pool on the island, so you needn’t worry about people swerving into your lane, or children (it’s adults-only). Guests gravitate to its edges for chill-out DJ sessions and live music and the hotel’s cocktail-fuelled Sunday brunch – quite the sun-kissed shindig. The second, while less illustrious in size, welcomes all ages and has bean bags to flump into.
As seductively dressed as the rest of the hotel – even the gym, whose gorgeous Scandi-esque NOHrD and Cassall equipment makes even the most arduous work-out look attractive – the adults-only spa has five treatment rooms and a suite for couples. Internationally trained therapists make the most of what grows on Ibiza and harness the island’s age-old holistic techniques for soothing treatments, and free daily yoga classes in the rooftop shala offer suppleness with a side of view. Pilates and tai chi classes, and private tuition, can be arranged too. Plus, personal trainers will happily map out a fitness programme for you.
Trainers will come in handy for exploring cobbled towns and don’t just bring your bikini – athleisure, clubwear, hiking gear and evening glam could all come in handy here.
The hotel has eight rooms with adapted bathrooms for guests with mobility issues, plus lifts and accessible public spaces.
The stay is best suited to older kids who’ll spend most of their time in the pool. However, babysitting (€25 an hour, two hours minimum) and nannies (€30 an hour) can be arranged if you book eight hours in advance.
An energy-efficient building design and appliances helps to keep the carbon footprint light; Everything that can be is recycled; even water is reused in the air-conditioning system (a scientific process that involves atmospheric water generators and reverse osmosis systems). A farm-to-fork ethos drives the menus and the hotel works directly with local providers (including Balfegó bluefin tuna, whose fish are farmed sustainably) wherever possible. The majority of the Oku Ibiza’s employees are local hires and the hotel has invested in local sewage systems to help reduce their environmental impact.
At Oku Restaurant settle by the sushi counter to get hands on, or take to the terrace for date nights. At To Kima, find a shady patch under the pergola.
Nouvelle New Age.
The hotel has two restaurants, each overseen by former Sushisamba chef Mark Vaessen, a smooth operator in fusing cuisines, who deftly switches up Mediterranean and Asian flavours. To Kima, the more casual eatery, is set by the hotel’s smaller pool and is so laidback you can even order food to your sunlounger. Breakfast is served here at long oak-wood tables and on the alfresco terrace and throughout the day you can munch on crisp salads, mix-and-match sharing dishes and poolside snacks. It’s here that the long and louche Sunday brunch is served too. Oku Restaurant is a more serious affair, with its highbrow ingredients and deference to Mediterranean tradition and Japanese technique, but with Ibiza’s trademark ‘go with the flow’ feel. Dishes of tempura, sashimi, nigiri, anticuchos meat skewers, and robata grills slathered in honey miso, umami wakame and more are plated with almost-too-good-to-demolish precision. However, the signatures of wagyu with miso and crispy garlic, and otoro tuna with caviar on angel toast are stand-outs for a reason. Plus, those with intolerances and vegetarians and vegans will find tasty healthful food here.
There are two bars at the hotel. The angel on your shoulder will steer you towards the juice bar, where farm-fresh veggies, fruits and herbs (plus extra protein and vitamins) are blended into ambrosial power drinks. And the devil will demand a round of cocktails and a few Spanish wines from the main bar, with its communal tables and long row of ‘let’s get to know each other’ bar stools. To accompany your poison is resident DJ Vivé (Vinny to his friends) who has a stash of house, tech house and deep house to liven the atmosphere till late.
Breakfast from 8am to 11am, graze from 11am to 8pm at To Kima and dine at Oku Restaurant from 8pm to 1am for food, till 2am for drinks.
Food can be ordered to your room 24/7. Summon delights from To Kima by day, serious sushi and steaks from Oku Restaurant for dinner and salads, soups and sandwiches from 11pm to 8am.
Oku Ibiza lies on the island’s northwest coast, just above the lively bay of Sant Antoni de Portmany, buffered by powder-soft beaches and forested hills.
Ibiza Airport, where direct flights arrive from main cities throughout Europe, is just a 25-minute drive away from the hotel. Flights from further afield usually stopover in mainland Europe. On request, the hotel can arrange transfers for €75 each way – in a private limousine, no less.
A car will come in handy for zipping across the island and cruising along the coast. You can hire some wheels at the airport, and the hotel has free valet parking onsite.
Baleària ferries (www.balearia.com) run frequent services from Formentera (30 minutes each way), Mallorca (two hours each way) and Barcelona (eight hours each way).
Worth getting out of bed for
What you plan to do at the hotel depends on how lazy you’re feeling. You could do as little as lie on a bean bag with a cocktail in hand, wielding bluefin tuna- and caviar-topped nigiri with chopsticks. Or, you could dive into one of the hotel pools, the 50-metre one if you want to practice your paddling. Prop up one of the bars (juice by morning, regular after 12 noon), browse in the boutique and swing by the spa for a little TLC, stopping to at least glance at the gym’s beautiful wood-finish equipment. Wake before the sun for the free rooftop yoga sessions and add on a Pilates or tai chi class if you’re feeling energised. The hotel’s setting promises plenty of adventures in the secluded coves and tree-swathed hills; Cala Gració is the closest stretch of sand, just far enough from San Antonio to stay peaceful. For Vespa and Mustang tours, jet-ski and boat trips and even elaborate body painting, head into San Antonio, where there’s also shops to stock up on hippie threads. Kayak Ibiza will take you out at sunset to see hidden coves and lesser-known beaches, with cava to toast your trip, and Sea Horse Diving will show you the clubland-neon coral reefs and exotic schools of the Cala d’Hort marine park. And, to see the countryside in magical style, book a tour with Ibiza Horse Valley, whose good-natured herd of rescue horses can be taken out for half- or full-day tours. If you have time for a day trip, it’s worth crossing to the south of the island to wander the myriad narrow streets of fortified medieval town Dalt Vila.
Bouncing between the hotel’s two restaurants will keep you going for a while, but if you want to delve into the local culinary scene, there are some charming eateries close by. Es Tragón, just north of Cala Gració, is low-key yet big on flavour; its tasting menu has Basque dishes such as cod in Pil Pil sauce and esqueixada salad, alongside inventive dishes such as onion consommé with wasabi broth and Moroccan sweets. To the south, San Antonio is a smorgasbord of trend-setting hangouts. Wi-Ki-Woo is coloured like an Eighties TV show and serves pad Thai, tuna tataki, duck wraps, lobster with Bearnaise and other tempting dishes given kitschy names. The Booo Burger Revolution has towering burgers that belie their well-within-budget price, while sleek Hawker Beach Club has a wood grill for firing up meats with Balinese, Thai and South American seasonings. For date nights, converted church Sa Cappella is infused with rustic romance with crumbling stone walls, dramatic iron chandeliers and a foliage-draped terrace.
San Antonio is the closest hub for late-night revelling. Eden has been a fixture for clubbers since the Nineties, but a revamp and one of the island’s best sound-systems has piqued the interests of modern thrill-seekers. Equally euphoric is Es Paradis, which stands out for its decadent decor (think ancient Rome with disco balls) and water parties, where the dance floor gets flooded. But, before you whip out the glow sticks, kick things off with a few daiquiris at famous (some might say infamous) Café Mambo on the strip.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this fashionably freewheeling hotel in the Balearics and dusted the sand off their swimwear and unpacked their hessian tote bags, a full account of their go-large-then-recharge break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Oku Ibiza…
If the prone ‘shavasana’ is the yoga position you find most reviving, then chilled-out-to-the-max island stay Oku Ibiza will feel like ‘om’. A cool cuboid peeking out from flocked hills on the northwest coast, its MO is easygoing fun and hip holism, whether that’s cala and cove hopping and flopping, being scrubbed with fragrant island botanicals in the spa, or drifting along in a 50-metre pool – the largest on the island, no less. It’s soulful in impeccable style, eschewing the whitewashing of typical island stays for an earthier wabi-sabi look of wood, rattan and stone, with wicker chairs from Papua New Guinea, locally woven hessian hangings and other eye-catching handicrafts. Should you become so enamoured, you can recreate the look from the hotel’s own boutique.
Oku may not ring with throbbing beats or be bathed in neon, but it knows what former club kids want. Resident DJ Vivé is a vet of the scene and sets the mood for poolside brunching and late, late night drinks, and bands will often play to those supine on the bean-bag sunloungers. The indoor-outdoor, informal feel of the spaces makes the hotel feel very sociable and the coup of hiring a former Sushisamba chef means a menu of tempura, robata-grilled fresh catches and superlative sushi to rival those of the White Isle’s best beach clubs. And if that doesn’t scratch that itch, San Antonio’s speaker-shook venues are just down the road. Or, if that’s all behind you, load up on vitamins in the juice bar, psych yourself up in the uniquely chic gym and move slowly into ‘shavasana’ during a free sunrise yoga session on the roof deck.