When you value experiences over material things, events like birthdays and anniversaries have the potential to become grand adventures and to produce memories that will last a lifetime. Fortunately, Joe and I would almost always choose a trip over presents, so to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary we booked a last-minute weekend trip to the island of Ibiza.
This particular island has always seemed like a mythical place to me – a place where the rich and famous go to party into the wee hours of the morning at massive clubs where massively famous DJs spin the hours away. That being said, I really didn’t know what to expect when we touched down after our quick, 45 minute flight from Barcelona.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite like anything I’d whipped up in my imagination. My first impression, on the short taxi ride to our hotel, was that people must really just come for the clubs (and beaches?) – sprawling car dealerships, industrial complexes, and other scrappy buildings lined the main road into town, with nary a glamorous club or sparkling beach in sight. First impressions aren’t always correct, however: as we made our way into the small, winding streets leading to our hotel, the shinier side of the island started to show. Crisp, white, modern buildings replaced dingy ones, and once we caught a glimpse of the various shades of turquoise water, all was right with the world.
Our hotel proved to be the icing on the now-glossy cake. The stars had aligned and the gods smiled down on us: One Ibiza Suites was celebrating the re-opening of its rooftop terrace (complete with sparkling infinity pool, plush lounge beds, an ancient olive tree and sleek, industrial bar stocked with trendy drink accessories like dried citrus, spices and other exotic garnishes) by hosting a stylish, afternoon-fading-into-late-night soirée, and we were welcome to join. Tables laden with trays of freshly shaved jamon, platters of just-rolled sushi, paper cones of magenta and golden house-made veggie chips and spiced popcorn, piles of Spanish cheese and other delectable finger foods beckoned, and complementary (and seemingly bottomless) glasses of cava and rosé were offered to every guest. Meeting the friendly, approachable and generous owner (on the left in the photo) and his attractive and equally nice friends was a surprising and delightful bonus. They were some of the most down-to-earth and sweet beautiful people I’ve ever met.
The hotel staff impressed even more than the glamorous event: after requesting a drink menu, I was greeted by a bartender who promptly asked me what type of drink I liked (sweet, dry), what kind of alcohol I preferred, did I enjoy citrus, and how I felt about herbal flavors. She then proceeded to concoct a fresh, zingy cocktail topped with “mango pearls” (like large fish roe but mango flavored!) and a slice of dried lime and perfumed by a bright sprig of mint. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, the fantastic bartender remembered me the next evening and made me the same delicious beverage again. Talk about service!
Our plans for the rest of the evening culminated in a visit to one of Ibiza’s legendary clubs – it also happened to be one of the few open this early in the season. Pacha can only welcome 3,000 partiers at once (which pales in comparison to some of the larger clubs that host 10,000 regularly in the summer months) but for us, it was enough. The dark, plain entry opened up into a brooding lounge complete with sleek white leather furniture, clear square low tables and dim, golden glow lighting. Wander in a little further and you’d step down into the ultra-high-ceilinged main dance space with the DJ booth perched high above in a corner and backed by football stadium-sized screens, hovering over hundreds of scantily clad, beautiful people swaying, bouncing and stepping to the chest-thumping rhythms. As liquid courage began to course through our veins we made our way onto the dance floor – and didn’t leave it until almost 4am. Many attempts at photos failed – lights, strobes, lasers, disco balls and spots all flashing in time with the music made decent photography with an iPhone nearly impossible. But it was an almost magical, slightly surreal and invigorating experience. We’re not a regular married couple, we’re a cool married couple.
After dancing our feet off, we returned to the hotel, tired and happy. It was a fantastic way to start celebrating our anniversary.