Villas for the super-rich in Ibiza
There’s a new villa boom on the Mediterranean’s party isle – and the monied are queuing to get in
Think Ibiza and you’re probably imagining pill-popping hedonism and beered-up lads on budget flights. This small Balearic island has another side, however, one that has, until recently, remained tucked away amid the pine- topped hills and olive groves: a world of private jets and retinues, where privacy and discretion are key, and money is never, ever mentioned.
Forget all you’ve heard about foam parties; picture 10-bedroom supervillas and lava-stone infinity pools. Ibiza is fast becoming Europe’s most prestigious summer address, as hedge-funders, film directors, Saudi Arabian princesses and “sophisticated bohemians” – the moneyed British elite – flock there for the ultimate chillout.
Fifty miles off the Spanish mainland, Ibiza has been a fashionable destination since hippies discovered its spiritual “vibe” in the 1960s – Es Vedra, a tiny island just off its southwest coast, is said to be the world’s third most magnetic point, after the North Pole and the Bermuda Triangle. Since those early days of love, peace and full- moon parties, a new travelling class has moved in, lured by the high standard of living, high resale values and hefty summer rental yields: between £2,800 and £30,000 a week from June to September.
Local authorities are keen to promote the island’s growing reputation as a haven for the super-rich. Three years ago, Ibiza had one five-star hotel; by the end of this summer, there will be six. An Irish investment firm has been given the go-ahead to build the first luxury hotel in San Antonio, traditionally the clubbers’ favourite, and Ibiza airport now has a terminal for private jets – 43 landed in just one day earlier this month.
It was the laid-back appeal of Ibiza that attracted Susan Sangster, 51, former wife of Robert Sangster, the late racing tycoon. “Ibiza is not intrusive or posey; it’s the total opposite of ‘see and be seen’,” she says. “You can do it however you like. I’ve only been clubbing at Pacha twice in all the years I’ve been coming here.”
Sangster, who spends winter and spring on her Barbados estate, first came to the island 11 years ago with her children – Melissa, now 27, Sam, 21, and Max, 18 – and bought a six-bed property there in 2003. She took one look at the finca on the hillside of the exclusive Es Porroig peninsula, in the south of the island, with its view of yachts bobbing in glittering waters, and knew she had to have it. Life is a relaxed round of taking out the family Rib (rigid inflatable boat), supper parties on the beach and personal trainers. “It’s thanks to summers here that my sons have their boat licences before their driving licences,” she says.
Not surprisingly, a new breed of developers and designers has sprung up to cater to this influx of wealth: the top- end properties on offer have staff quarters, guesthouses, terraces and breathtaking views as standard.
For the ultra-rich, separate houses for guests arede rigueur. “Ibiza is about sharing time with friends,” says Paloma Bonder, director of Ibiza Solutions (www.bonderco.com), a luxury concierge service launched in 2006. “But my clients also want privacy. They spend 70% of their time at the villas, pay about £1,000 a day to rent a yacht and sail over to the coves at Las Salinas and the island of Formentera.” Bonder was once asked to fly staff and ingredients to Ibiza from El Bulli, the world-renowned restaurant in Roses, on the Costa Brava, to prepare a meal. Typical of such properties is Villa Bikin, in Santa Ines, a three-bed home with two one-bed guesthouses, on sale for £3m with Lucas Fox, in association with Quintessentially Estates. Guests can choose between an opulent pool house and an Indonesian hut set in a pine grove.
By Vanessa Jolly from The Sunday Times
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