I was going to Ibiza with two couples for two days.
That was the plan….or so I thought.
I looked up, incredulous at the sight of all my friends huddled around the tiki bar, cocktails in hand and smiles on faces.
In shock, I exclaimed: WHAT? WHY?
It’s not my birthday (yet). It’s not my anniversary.
But it is Jeff’s and my 100th birthday. 49 + 51 = 100
And so, Jeff surprised me with a hedonistic getaway to Ibiza with 16 couples who are near and dear to our hearts. Over the course of five fantastic days, we lived up to Ibiza’s reputation as the ultimate party island.
Ibiza is a bit like a misunderstood frat boy. It is all party on the outside, but has hidden depth and beauty within.
Our hotel, Atzaro, was an oasis of lush fauna, hidden pools, organic gardens, and meditative tranquility. It was nestled up in the hills away from the brash party scene in the center of town near the beach.
We kicked off our first night at Lio. This famous club is like the perfect cocktail of one part Vegas flesh & flash blended with two parts cabaret club song & dance with a dash of Cirque du Soleil.
Tuxedo clad men balanced jeroboams of rosé over their shoulders and expertly poured this “pink water” throughout the evening. Scantily dressed cocktail waitresses strutted among the tables as if they were Victoria Secret models on the runway. Stiletto-heeled fishnet-legged dancers seductively sashayed on a stage that kept moving across an indoor pool. Spotlights illuminated singers who belted out pop tunes and golden oldies as if they were vying for American Idol. A contortionist showcased his impressive naked torso as he hurled himself up and balanced with one hand on the head of a mannequin.
As the show roared to a crescendo, a boat suddenly appeared on the adjacent sea filled with blaring music, gyrating dancers, a technicolor light show, and the master of ceremonies. It moored next to the club as entertainers took to the stage for an incredible Finale performance.
Women swathed in short silk kimonos appeared at our table to provide shoulder massages to further relax and invigorate our party. This was just what the doctor ordered to keep us limber for the dancing that followed as the tables cleared and the DJs spun discs of music so loud that you could feel the vibrations pulsing throughout your body. Then another bar literally lifted out of the floor with women perched in stilettos on the counter shimmying as it slowly rose to the surface!
How do you follow up an evening like that? One word: PACHA.
This is the famous nightclub in which David Guetta performs every Thursday night. If you don’t know who that is, ask your kids. His show is called, “F**k Me I’m Famous“. So much for subtlety. But then again Ibiza is nothing if not brash.
Dressed in our best hippie chic attire, we arrived at 1:00 am, way past my bedtime, to catch a glimpse of the famous nightclub in action. We were wisked past the kitchen into a private section with clear views of the DJ box across a jam-packed dance floor. Once again, women seductively danced in various locations confined by “cages” of fluorescent light rays. And again, enormous bottles of vodka, champagne, and wine flowed with ease. The kimono clad masseuse girls reappeared as well.
The music was dominated by a strong thumping bass in that incessant beat that both deafens you and permeates you simultaneously. I know I sound my age, but I did not act it! When we were told that David Guetta doesn’t begin his show until 3:00 am, we all made an unspoken pact to hang in there.
When he finally entered the DJ box and put on his headphones, it was as if God himself had appeared. An apt analogy as Guetta literally acted as a kind of DJ deity as he held his hands up to encourage worship among his dancing disciples.
The crowd went insane: arms swaying above heads, iPhones aloft capturing every moment, mouths gaping and screaming at the same time. Guetta was mesmerizing and created an energy that radiated beyond the techno light show and frequent blasts of ambient steam. He was accompanied by an entourage of long-haired guys and big bosomed gals who kept patting him on the back, hugging him, shaking his hand and paying homage to the maestro in his element.
We stumbled out of the club some time @5:30 a.m., and one of our gang remembers hearing a rooster crow as he unlocked his door and wearily collapsed on the bed.
You would think we would sleep in and recover after two such nights, but there was no rest for the weary on this jam-packed holiday. We were up and out on the trail the next several mornings for 10:00 am hikes along the coast. Here we experienced the other side of Ibiza. Like nearby Majorca, Ibiza is blessed with rustic terrain, craggy cliffs, turquoise pools, and stunning scenic beauty.
As the unrelenting sun beat down, our hikes became a bit of a death march to see who could endure as the alcohol leaked out of our pores and mingled with the sweat of exertion. Some fared better than others, but we all survived. After all, lunch was waiting!
Meals were noteworthy on this trip for their variety. We dined barefoot on the sand in a casual family-run restaurant on the island of Formentera after enjoying a lazy sail across the sea. We ladled briny seafood paella onto colorful local crockery at a seaside El Carmen restaurant perched above the beach overlooking a dormant volcano.
We enjoyed delicious tapas in historic Old Town and Italian specialties in the charming village of Santa Gertrudis. All of which we washed down with giant bottles of rosé.
We dined in our hotel at a long table embellished with vibrant fresh flowers beneath a canopied trellis of fauna and fairy lights. Every setting was magical in its own way.
But none could top the evening we kayaked into a private cove in San Miguel at sunset. We could hear the flamenco guitar lilting in the air as our paddles cut through the calm waters. We disembarked on a crescent shaped beach with oriental carpets draped across the sand. Moroccan poufs provided seating in front of the live music ensemble serenading us with traditional Spanish melodies.
A make-shift changing station of gauzy white curtains blowing in the breeze provided privacy as we changed out of our swimsuits and into the all-white attire that was the dress code for the evening.
A shack served a fully stocked bar and a large BBQ pit was covered in sizzling vegetables, chorizo, chicken, meat, and potatoes. We mingled over drinks until @11:00 when we finally decided to take our seats for dinner, observing the Spanish tradition of dining late into the evening.
Our long table was furnished with small vases of flowers and feathers, festooned with twinkling fairy lights, and set aglow with tea candles. It was truly the most enchanting scene I have ever experienced.
On our last day, we visited a local market in the morning, finding trinkets and clothing among the stalls of local artisans.
Then we headed out to the infamous Blue Marlin, essentially a nightclub on the beach. A prominently centered DJ booth kept the tunes blaring for the diverse crowd that defied easy definition: tattooed beefy guys, bikini busting breasty young women, Russian zillionaires, preppy families, and our gang mingled under the sun.
Among this motley crew, we retired to our reserved daybeds on the beach, complete with bottle service of every variety. We swam in the sea, lounged in the sun, and sipped whatever they were serving. Sometime around 6:00 p.m. we sensed a shift in dynamics; the music got louder and the crowd got rowdier as the heels grew taller and the clothes skimpier. After proving our mettle at Lio and Pacha, we didn’t feel the need for a command performance.
And so our trip regretfully came to an end. Above all the glorious scenery, the wild nightlife, and the delicious meals was the incredible camaraderie. Nothing tops that. Old friends mingled seamlessly with new ones.
Jeff and I have 100 years between us, and to mark the occasion Jeff certainly pulled off the party of the century. It will be hard to beat. But I know we’ll try, and I hope every one of our friends will be there to celebrate with us.
When I was in Business School, I was known to frequently shout out among my friends in unabashed emotion, “I LOVE YOU GUYS!”
That still sums it up.
Because as the saying goes,
All you need is…