As you laze on a poolside cabana, Balearic beats drifting over from the nearby booth where a resident DJ spins an afternoon set, pondering what to order next from the cocktail list, you’ll begin to understand why Forbes called OKU Ibiza one of the Mediterranean’s dreamiest new hotels.
Even on an island where stylish digs are ubiquitous, OKU’s design-led looks—think Japanese modernism meets barefoot boho-chic—set it apart from the growing list of offerings in the area.
Every detail has been meticulously tailored towards a certain kind of fashionable Ibiza visitor, from the namesake fusion restaurant to the jam-packed program of daily activities, including rooftop yoga. Unsurprisingly, given the young crowd it courts, the 189-room property is Instagram-ready.
OKU also attracts attention because of its prime location, perched on a hilltop just a short walk from San Antonio.
While Ibiza is well-known as a party paradise for all ages—”8 to 80,” goes the popular saying—and one that has become increasingly geared towards more affluent visitors, San Antonio has always appealed to a very particular crowd.
Since the 1990s, it has been a locus for predominantly teens and 20-somethings to come and cut loose all summer long, crowding its beaches by day and its bar-lined strip by night—think Spring Break in Cancun, triple it, and you still wouldn’t be close. In days gone by, it might’ve been the last place a developer would choose to build the island’s newest 5-star hotel.
But recent years have seen a dramatic shift, as this corner of the island aims to draw in a more sophisticated clientele: fancy beach clubs are springing up in the vicinity, such as El Silencio, a seafront offshoot of Paris’ hippest nightclub; a roster of upmarket hotel projects are in the works; new, stricter laws have been put in place to control the night-time high jinks; and a 20 million dollar project is currently underway to extend and generally beautify San Antonio’s seafront promenade.
15 minutes down OKU, past the quiet sands of Cala Gracio to the adjoining forest-fringed inlet, is Cala Gracioneta, a relaxed oceanfront restaurant. With its hanging wicker lanterns, rustic-chic décor and earthy color palette, it is the epitome of laid-back Ibizan beach-club cool.
Cala Gracioneta started out in the 1990s, as little more than a simple chiriguinto, or beach shack. Over the years its fortunes have evolved with the island’s (as can be evidenced by the extensive wine and champagne selection).
Today, it is one of the most delightful places on Ibiza to spend a long, rosé-fuelled lunch eating fish freshly cooked on the grill in the shade of an overhead canopy, as the sea laps gently in the background.
Further up the coast, perched atop the rocky coastal headland, is the equally delightful Hostal Sa Torre. This smart, boutique hotel and restaurant combines a fantastic menu offering a hipster take on traditional Ibicencan cuisine with one of the best sunset views on the island. Come dusk, as the light fades, the entire restaurant stops eating to observe the spectacle, bursting into impromptu whoops and cheers as another day ends on the white isle. It really is that good.
Back at Oku, executive chef Mark Vaessen helms the hotel’s exceedingly smart main restaurant. Hailing from Sushisamba in Amsterdam, Vaessen has curated a menu which flits expertly between the flavors of Japan, Asia, and South America; with ceviche seabass sitting alongside signature classics such as black wagyu. It’s the kind of cooking that has long been prevalent in Ibiza’s more chichi corners—where rock stars rub shoulders with billionaires—but not so readily in these parts.
It’s a sure sign that Ibiza is changing. OKU’s restaurant has become a marquee destination in itself, drawing visitors from across the island. We’re pretty sure they’ll like what they find.