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10 ways that Ibiza is better now than back in the day

Is 2018 the golden era for the White Isle?

  • Words: Johnny Lee | Illustrations: Lawrence Abbott
  • 20 June 2018

Bored of listening to the old bloke on the plane jabbering on and on about how good Ibiza used to be?

So are we.

After all, there are loads of reasons why Ibiza is actually far better today than it was back in the day. Let's focus on the present as we run you through the ten ways that Ibiza rules in 2018.

Remember the cranky speakers at DC-10 that sounded like a family of stray cats were hibernating in the subwoofers? And what about the Pacha sound rig, which left dead spots everywhere, while simultaneously K-Oing anyone brave enough to venture into the middle of the dancefloor? Thankfully Ibiza's loudspeaker systems are now as sharp as any on the planet, which means you won't be crippled with tinnitus 48-hours after leaving the club. Pacha's new D&B Audiotechnik system is a prime example of the evolution.

Rampant vandalism, wide-eyed drunks walking over cars, mass pub crawls, tribal groups in full football attire roaming San Antonio like rabid animals, prior to fighting each other in the streets of the West End until the gutters ran crimson with blood. Thankfully that scary mentality is gone and it's all down to the demise of the tour operator holiday model and the rise of the clubbing tourist, who is far more civilised and unreservedly respectful when it comes to engaging with the locals.

Surely you don't miss the sour-faced snoots who used to work the door at Space? Or the roid-crazed bouncers who used to collar ravers at random and hustle them for drugs and money? And what about the poisonous local spirits Ibiza's superclubs were still serving to young clubbers as recently as 2015? Thankfully we're now treated like valued customers rather than cattle and owing to the fact that many of today's White Isle bartenders are trained mixologists, you'll get more than just dodgy rum and limeade over ice when you order an obscenely expensive classic mojito.

The fact that Pacha and DC-10 used to exist at the end of the world was cute, but unfortunately a lack of proper transportation to the island's best superclubs made getting to and from your hotel a total chore. These days Ibiza Town and San Antonio are connected via motorway, likewise the airport, while the bus network is extensive in scope and your chosen ride is always on time. The increase in the number of airlines operating out of the island also makes it a more viable workplace for the world's top DJs. And yet mercifully the White Isle hasn't done a Malta and buried itself under tons of concrete.

There may be less entry-level jobs on the island since the PR ban, but the jobs that remain are more secure and a lot better paid. For this reason, positions with top employers like Hï, Ushuaïa and Ibiza Rocks, all of whom have a solid reputation for taking care of their staff, are highly sought after. Not to mention the fact that because only serious people are employed these days the overall customer experience in the clubs has vastly improved.

Ask anyone who partied in Ibiza in the '90s knows about the hotels in San Antonio and Playa d'en Bossa and they'll recall the urine-proof mattress covers, showers that pissed sand and the receptionists that liked to rob you while you slept. Fast forward to 2018 and even the basic accommodation is clean, cool and totally aspirational. The recently refurbished Paradiso Art Hotel in San Antonio Bay and the Wi-Ki-Woo Boutique Hotel near Cala Gracio beach both offer a glimpse of the future.

Processed kebab meat used to be the only option for hungry ravers returning from the club, but things are slowly starting to change. Eateries like Skinny Kitchen and Passion Café offer health conscious clubbers a morning alternative, while forward-thinking venues like Ibiza Rocks are now blending their own smoothies and serving up Totally Raw Breakfast options for their customers.

The old timers often forget to tell you that early '90s Ibiza was fuelled by commercial disco, American house music and very little else. Modern day Ibiza, on the other hand, is a bona-fide hub of cultural influences and genres, with multiple venues showcasing everything from techno to UK garage, drum and bass to nomad sounds, EDM to R&B, and even gangster rap.

The fact that Ibiza's best dancefloors are open seven nights a week should not be sniffed at. After all, 25 years ago, Pacha, Amnesia and Privilege only used to open on the weekend. As tourist numbers increased, the superclubs began opening on Thursdays and Sundays and eventually they started pounding out the beats every night of the week. Which is why, today, Ibiza is the only place in the world where you can catch apex DJs like Sven Väth and Eric Prydz playing regular midweek sets.

After years of blagging free wi-fi wherever we could find it, finally Ibiza is connected to the rest of the world via high-powered fibre optic trunk link. All of which is great news for Mixmag readers, after all, these days we can stream live LAB events from obscure island locations like Pikes Hotel, while those of you partying on the White Isle can WhatsApp your parents with an instant Balearic bailout request as soon as your money runs out.

Johnny Lee is Mixmag's Ibiza correspondent

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