For the first episode in the series, Charlie sets on the sun kissed island of Ibiza, getting a feel for why it’s such a magnet for people looking for spectacular seaside homes and cultural surroundings.
When it comes to seaside destinations one place exerts an irresistible attractions for us Brits more than anywhere else on the planet. The stunning shores of the Mediterranean boast a fantastic climate, captivating culture and rich history. With 28,000 miles of coastline, this sea in the middle of the land connects Europe, Africa and Asia. And is a destination for a third of the world’s international tourists.
There’s so much more to the Med than holidays. It’s a place people love to call home – or home from home.
Charlie tries to understand the magnetic pull of the enchanting island of Ibiza through the expats and locals who enjoy life here not just in summer but all-year-round.
‘On the face of things, Ibiza is an ultra cool island where modern hillside homes hit astonishing new heights, said Charlie. Traditional farmhouses become white-hot rural retreats. And stunning villas provide sweeping seaside vistas.
‘For 221 square miles, Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic islands and lies midways between Spain’s east coast and Mallorca.’
Charlie’s first point of call was Santa Eulalia on the islands south-eastern coast, renowned as its cultural and gastronomical capital.
Bringing him ashore was the kind of luxury cruiser favoured by the island’s superstar DJs.
‘Towns like Santa Eulalia here might be big, bold and a little bit brash, but explore a little further and a little deeper into Ibiza and you will find some truly surprising architectural delights.’
From Santa Eulalia, Charlie headed west on the island’s protected southern shore to the bay of Es Cubells.
Taking its inspiration from an invented combination of the Ibizan landscape and James Bond movies, the first house he visited was ‘like nothing else he’s seen before’ in his life:.
‘The distinction between what’s natural and what’s not is hard to fathom. But nothing can camouflage its ambition.
‘Cascading in three stories down the hillside like the hanging garden of Babylon, this is Ibiza’s most distinctive modern home. An incredible mix of bamboo, concrete and brass; this 21st century masterpiece is home to Italian financier Andrea. It staggers all the way up the hill.
“Ibiza is New York on the Medittarean sea, said Andrea.
“If you can put together the way of thinking leading the freedom you enjoy in New York and the Med sea is a very good mix. Infrastructure, restaurant people and energy. It’s fantastic. It’s amazing.”
Working with an architect friend he’s know from childhood, Andrea has cleverly worked this extravagant holiday home organically into the landscape. It’s three tiers of living spaces and six guest bedrooms.
It feels like it respects the landscape and isn’t too contemporary that it doesn’t fit. Although, Andrea had an olive tree shipped in from Sicily to crown his terrace.
As a flamboyant insight into the magnetic pull of Ibiza, this house is hard to beat. A great way for Charlie to start his Ibizan journey.
As he continued to explore the sublime island, he discovered more about its fascinating past. Charlie did the right thing by heading to the island’s capital of Ibiza Town, away from the clubs and beaches to the world heritage site of its old town.
“There’s certainly something divine about this island, said Charlie. “And whether it’s through architecture of dance, Ibiza is a place where it’s easy to feel on top of the world.”
‘Walking around Ibiza Old Town is like taking a stroll through a three-dimensional history book, he said.
‘It’s a visual treat of sunshine and shadow inexorably drawing you upward towards the clear blue Midittarean sky. When you’ve climbed as high as you can in the Upper Town of Dalta Villa, you come to a lovely piazza with a beautiful cathedral. It’s like a rather wonderful architectural cherry on top of a fantastic cake.’
Living north east from Ibiza Town in San Carlos, Tess and Dan live in the epitome of Spanish real bliss – among those who found their own slice of paradise here – a gourmet cook and music journalist are surrounded by pine, sun decks and a private pool. A mouth-watering place to live, where passion and dreams can become reality.
Built in the 1980s, their house is a modern take on the traditional flat-roof Spanish farmhouse. It’s single story with a 160sq metres of floor space.
“We’re only 200metres away from the sea which we can hear crashing against the rocks at night, said Dan.
“I’ve been coming here for years for work and I knew how beautiful this island was. People hear horror stories of it being one big rave island but there’s so much more to it then that.”
‘With stunning views over a fertile part of Ibiza, that with its quality seasonal products and expert artisan producers, its gaining a fast reputation as a foodie haven, this house has all the right ingredients.’
‘The tastiest of all has to be the chance to dine alfresco under a stunning silvery moon.’ Tess runs what she calls a ‘meals on heels’ service for the islands rich and famous and provides food for yacht charters, weddings and dinner parties.
“In Ibiza food is very seasonal, said Tess.
“I can walk out of the house and pick figs and pomegranates in season – everywhere you walk is just a foragers paradise.”
Charlie also headed to north of Ibiza to a traditional farmhouse in the rugged region of Cala San Vincente. It’s a measure of the island’s worldwide pull – having already met an Italian and a couple of Brits – the next home had owners from across the Atlantic.
Tucked away in a rural secluded spot, it’s a restored gem that fuses a fascinating history with thoroughly modern chic. It’s the full-time home of American couple designer Pietro Cuavas and physiologist David Swayne who came to the island from Manhattan, New York in 2008.
“The sounds are everything, said David. It’s what first attracted me to the island.”
“It really allows you the space to think, said Pietro.
“You can work on your own stuff without any kind of distraction. And the sleep is narcotic.”
They’ve worked hard to keep the integrity of the oldest house in the region in tact. Even the ghosts of slaughtered pigs in the master bedroom.
Charlie also discovers that Ibiza is home to the best place ever to watch the Spanish sun go down. ‘There can be few better places to appreciate its transformational beauty than the mysterious Time and Space created in 2014 by Australian sculpture Andrew Rogers, it’s a place to come and contemplate. This monumental artwork is Ibiza’s answer to Stone Henge. It consists of 13 huge rock pillars topped with gold paint to reflect the suns rays everyday. A very nice place to watch the sunset.’
Charlie concluded his journey with a touching testimonial for the island:
‘What ultimately makes Ibiza so special is its ability to adapt. To take the best of all the rich cultural influences on offer, make them uniquely Ibizan yet with worldwide appeal.
‘Parties and peaceful tranquility are two sides of the same coin. Interdependent parts of the island where one couldn’t exist without the other and somehow the result is a sum much greater than its parts. Where the cosmopolitan culture of this place punches way above its weight in terms of design, architecture, food, fashion and of course music.
‘In many ways Ibiza is the ideal place for a home by the Med.’