biza may not be the first place you think of when it comes to a quiet holiday. Renowned for its music scene, 24-hour beach clubs and pulsating nightlife, its infamous reputation as the party island may be a little off-putting to those looking to totally zone out.
That said, after five days on the White Isle, I have never felt more relaxed, refreshed and chilled out. For Oku Ibiza, the latest hotel to open on the island, may boast everything Ibiza is renowned for – boho chic, round-the-clock music and a hedonistic atmosphere – but it does so in such a laid back and subtle way that you can choose which parts of the party you’re willing to embrace and when.
It helps that Oku is huge. You can spend your time moving from the DJ at the adult pool to the live singers in the restaurant before finding total escapism at the spa or on the daybeds – the best place for an afternoon nap. (The hedonistic vibe here means you can pretty much fall asleep around the clock and nobody will bat an eyelid, even with all the nightclubs still shut post-Covid.) There is simply something in the air that encourages guests to unwind and appreciate Ibiza’s trademark ‘go with the flow’ feel.
For anyone that knows Ibiza well, it may come as a surprise to hear that this luxury resort is situated in the not-so-pretty area of San Antonio. Thankfully, Oku appears to have had some seriously good designers on stand by. The palm and pine-lined drive makes it feel as though you are entering your own fantasy island, while the bohemian retreat atmosphere of the hotel is underscored by cutting-edge architecture. With Oku meaning 'inner space' in Japanese, the interiors are also key to the ethos of the resort. The buildings feature soothing natural materials offset by bold monochrome paintings and each room has vertical cedar slats built into its balcony to offer shade and privacy.
Our deluxe suite overlooked the main pool; which happens to be the largest on the whole island. It is 50-metres of aqua-blue water which is beautiful to look at and even more joyous to swim in. The pool area forms the social hub of the hotel, but is spread so widely that there were enough loungers for everyone, even with the hotel at full capacity. There’s no need to get up at the crack of dawn to save your sunbathing spot here.
However, if you do happen to be an early bird, the pre-breakfast rooftop yoga class is breathtaking in more ways than one. With stunning panoramic views, this is your opportunity to exercise in the most beautiful surroundings and enjoy the tranquillity of the hotel before your fellow guests wake up. On that note, when booking, seek advice on your room’s location within the hotel: some are a lot quieter than others, especially if you’re partial to a siesta.
Although this is a hotel designed for adults, it does boast an amazing kid’s pool, which means visiting with little ones is a good option. And, while luxurious, the atmosphere is so relaxed that there’s no sense of stuffiness or kids being shushed; my three teenage boys felt just as at home as we did. There's a gym, boutique and art gallery on site, and the nearest beach, Cala Gracio, is a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
Food is, of course, a key part of any holiday and, at Oku, it’s on tap all day with the hotel’s main restaurant serving refined fusion fare spanning Japanese, pan-Asian and global flavours, offering dishes that are both elegant and crowd-pleasing. We were also treated to champagne on arrival and a superb breakfast buffet, which, in recognition of any resident party animals, is served until 11am.
Sometimes a holiday is about getting out and exploring. Then there are the times when your hotel is an idyllic base that becomes a destination in its own right. That is what Oku is all about. Just like Ibiza itself, it has an underlying hippy beat, attracting everyone from the cool set to spiritual yogis and frazzled mid-lifers who just need to get away from it all. Having done just that, five days at Oku proved to be the ultimate tonic.