For someone whose youthful trips to Ibiza over the past 20 years have mainly involved stays in two and three-star apartments – OK, and the occasional villa – checking into a chic five-star lifestyle hotel could be considered quite an upgrade.
And so it was for me. Admittedly, I didn’t get the full ME Ibiza luxury experience, given the hotel also has a private boat, fleet of ME Range Rovers and a private aircraft at its disposal, and I just arrived in a bog-standard white taxi. But customers in the hotel’s lobby certainly seemed like people for whom these modes of transfers would be second (or at least third) nature.
And they’d most likely be staying in the suites of course, able to make the most of the accompanying ME+ Service, which includes packing and ironing service, a cocktail before dinner, wake-up call with a small healthy "detail", amenities for small pets, event planner (maybe to organise social get-togethers in your suite), personal assistant, private in-suite check-in and various welcome amenities.
I wasn’t staying in a suite, but was checked-in in the room nonetheless, and there was some cava on ice and sweet treats on a slate plate; the view from the room’s balcony was just as appealing, but the rest of my abode’s dimensions were a little on the snug side.
To stay in one of these rooms, you’d have to feel pretty comfortable with your roommate, as the available free space is small and the bathroom open-plan – save the loo, which thankfully is shut away on its own. You also might squabble over the clothes-storing space, as it consists of an open rail between the bed and the bathroom area. Luckily, I’ve seen the mega suites here before, and there’s definitely more space there, if that’s what required.
But who cares where you put your clothes when the rest of the hotel – and the gorgeous island of Ibiza – await? The main restaurant Salt & Sea is a large airy space on the ground floor which hugs the pool and at breakfast is abuzz with people flocking to the generous breakfast buffet. It has all you can imagine on offer – from Bucks Fizz to bacon rolls; omelettes-to-order to cheese boards – and it’s available until an indulgent 11am.
Just as tasty was my lunchtime pizza by the pool where staff are as populous as a Pacha guestlist. The (quite cold) pool is set among lawns and shady trees, and is next to the sea, so there are always options, depending on where people prefer to lounge. The hotel also has a pool up on the roof – probably best for those who like to bake in the sun/pose/Instagram the heck out of everything. Or, if you really want to go all-Ibiza style, there’s a Nikki Beach next door, if you prefer a more active scene and slightly more upbeat House.
And if you’re a Made In Chelsea fan (yes, I own up), you won't have missed that the gang were on the White Isle for a few weeks earlier this summer and the series included a nice little cameo for the hotel, with shots of some of the cast indulging in rooftop champagne-glugging.
I know the spot; I sat on the same rooftop for a couple of cocktails myself. The early July night was a bit chilly for me, but a bay view sprinkled with distant lights and overseen by the moon was worth it. You can also dine up there. If you’re like me you might never get to grips with tucking into a main course gone 10.30pm, but that’s early by Mediterranean standards and probably lunchtime by Ibiza’s.
Also up on the roof is a Skin Inc Spa while back on ground level is a nail bar and boutique where girls can get kitted out with the obligatory floaty/pom-pom embellished Boho-chic Ibizan uniform. There is also a gym, and complimentary yoga classes are on offer too – families aren’t forgotten either at the hotel, with a pool designed for children and a mini club creche open daily 10am to 6pm.
When the hotel opened in 2014 it was the start of a small run of luxury and lifestyle debuts on the island. Always known for its super swanky villas, agrotourismo, Boho-chic yoga retreats and traditional hotels, there wasn’t much in this segment – but like buses, along came the Iberostar Santa Eulalia, Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Sir Joan and soon 7 Pines.
The hotel has also thrown the spotlight on Santa Eulalia, the third largest town on the island and known for its quieter charm, with an idyllic marina and small boutiques. As well as its tucked-away location on the east coast, design is where the hotel excels, with an all-white lobby punctuated by Mediterranean-coloured splashes on rustic chic furniture, swing chairs, giant bunches of fresh blooms, and a feature-wall art installation that lights up at night, not to mention an inviting champagne corner with bottles of Veuve Clicquot on ice, and the DJ mixing desk.
Champagne on tap, “aura managers”, non-stop DJs and rooftop cocktails definitely play into the Ibiza sterotype and further extending the fun elements – I spotted Agent Provocateur thongs or sale in the “mini bar” and catchy slogans written on the bathroom mirror in white crayon ("Live a life you will never forget", mine suggested).
And to ensure the island vibe carries further into the hotel, Thursday nights are for The Chefs’ Experience, when chef Juan Hely invites Michelin-starred and local chefs to create a tasting menu. If music’s more guests’ thing, then ME Ibiza has also partnered with Ibiza Global Radio to stream DJ sets held at the hotel each week; on the rooftop during my Saturday night stay, the DJ was more on the mellow side - and she also kept my ears soothed by the pool the next day.
Meanwhile to help the ME by Melia brand celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2017, the hotel has a big Come with ME party on August 26, also in partnership with Ibiza Global Radio and streamed worldwide so anyone can tune in and join the party.
• ME Ibiza has 205 rooms, including 29 ME+ suites, with some offering a private Jacuzzi and pool, as well as the top option, Suite ME. The hotel’s summer season runs until October 15, with rates from £204 per room (low season). And for the big spenders, the Jet ME package starts at €25,000 per person (based on a group of 12) and includes private jet travel from London to Ibiza, six nights in top suites, a private ME yacht experience with champagne and catering on-board for the group, daily use of ME Ibiza’s transfer boat, VIP entry to beach bars and clubs, including next-door Nikki Beach and private yoga tuition, daily spa treatments and access to the ME beauty team for the group.