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Special Features: Names, Places, Happenings
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Catwalk for eccentrics & jet-set

Welcome to Ibiza , the craziest of the Balearic Islands . Here, nobody has problems dealing with the bare facts of life - the more outrageous the men, the hotter the beach parties and the crazy frenzied disco nights the better. Anybody looking for an unusual holiday has found the right address here. Yet Ibiza still has plenty of surprises. Let's find out what makes this island tick!

Ibiza - five letters that conjure up a whole host of images of fun and sun, cash and flash, beauty and the beast, and good old sex and rock and roll. Fly with us to the home of the fishermen and the jet-set. Picturesque, romantic passageways meander along past the run- down houses with their endless nooks and crannies to the trendy boutiques, exerting an irresistible charm. The saucy, erotic lingerie displayed in the boutiques, a leftover from the 60's, is a reminder of the golden age of the flower-power generation. Their casual, carefree attitude to life has been kept to this day.

The people who come to Ibiza year after year are a colourful bunch, since this island provides a stage and catwalk for every kind of eccentric ego trip or egomania you can imagine. The daily hippy market at the harbour is the centre of this vanity fair. Here on the main piazza, onlookers will see the most multifarious of crowds - the endearing population of Ibiza !

This Balearic island sets its own pace. It is not until 2 in the morning that things really start to get hot in the famous Pascha & Amnesia disco, as the striptease dancer, Champagne and some of life's naughtier habits really get the guests going. Join in the saturday-night fever - it is an unforgettable experience!

The day after the night before, the town dozes until 12 o'clock midday. This is the nicest time of the day. The peaceful island is bathed in the early morning light as we wander slowly down to the yacht harbour, where we are to meet Toni Pikes, owner of the best hotel on the island. First, though, we treat ourselves to slight detour in his speedboat to the island's ‘in' beaches. The society beach per se is called ‘Les Salinas' or ‘ Malibu '.

Bare skin never goes out of fashion - see and be seen is the motto in Ibiza .

Tony Pikes (photo) is one of those people who likes to be seen. Since he turned an old, dilapidated finca, about 10 minutes from the town, between San Antonio and Santa Ines into a luxury hideaway, Pikes Hotel has been ‘the' meeting place for VIPs on the island.... The outdoor pool is comfortably nestled in a colourful garden setting. Next to it are numerous terraces where guests relax during the day or sip on their cocktails in the evening. Here, you can meet the ‘rich, famous and beautiful people'. Those who have passed Toni Pikes' selection criteria receive a gold VIP card, which gives them free entry to the casino and the best discos. It's all highly exclusive - which also an appropriate description of the luxurious interiors of the hotel. 22 individual suites are available, with French king-size beds and baths of equal scale......

The hotel's special atmosphere attracts a wealthy clientele - rooms are available in this Australian entrepreneur's hotel from about 300 dollars. Thanks to his innovative ideas, ‘Pikes' has become the top family holiday choice for many international stars: the late Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, Sade, Julio Iglesias and Grace Jones have all at some time or other declared this finca to be their favourite hotel.

How did Pikes become such a popular meeting place for the stars and starlets?

Toni Pikes

Another hotel which I can warmly recommend is the Hacienda - a classic, long-established haute-luxe Relais & Châteaux hotel with 74 rooms, on a clifftop on the wild northern coast.
If you talk about Ibiza,opinions differ. For some, the Balearic Island is far too crowded, the people there are too superficial and vulgar. Others though love the hot, sunny days and equally torrid nights, being a beach bum during the day and jiving away at the craziest discos in the Mediterranean at night. I have to admit that I personally enjoy the easy-going atmosphere, but having danced the night away, I like to return to the hotel to recover and then to set off to discover the other side and the real qualities of Ibiza.

Behind the scenes, Ibiza is stunning. Away from the hive of activity with its buzzing nightlife, Ibiza has another quieter side with an incomparable charm. 8 kms outside the town the horizon opens out to reveal ‘Les Salinas' a 400-hectare salt-works. The fish restaurant ‘Cala Mastella' is nearby in the bay of the same name. A sure-fire insider tip. Everyday fresh fish is served here with saffron potatoes, vegetables washed down with the local wine. ‘Bigotte', the fisherman-owner of the restaurant, can laugh all the way to the bank - his simple restaurant is always booked. The idyllic location means that it is the evening before we return to Ibiza town for our aperitif.

It's a far cry from the day when Ibiza was a run-down hippy heaven. Since then, the sunny island has invested over 150 million Dollars in tourism. Ibiza has pepped up its image and is now more attractive then ever. Many island visitors like staying in the hotels in the old part of the town up on the mountain. The capital's centre with its village character has remained remarkably unspoiled and offers the guest a Mediterranean holiday setting 24 hours a day with a wide range of chic restaurants, markets and extravagant boutiques opening late into the night.

Pascha, the 40,000 square meter disco is still very much ‘in' and can take up to 5,000 people. Join the party, because it's all go here - in every respect. Sequin fashion, leather and becoming, skin-tight dresses are all the rage. Ibiza town is a shopper's paradise, but it offers a lot more besides, including - believe it or not - classical concerts which are guaranteed to please even the most discerning visitors. Or excellent local food, the specialities being lamb, fish and sea-food. Before we leave, we go to one of Toni's parties. Each hotel guest, whoever she or he is, receives an open-armed welcome. It is easy to find someone on the same wave-length - definitely the best way to experience an unforgettable holiday on this shimmering island - that's what the locals say about the island: “Un poco loco”: “ Ibiza is just a little bit crazy.”

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* This special feature "Ibiza" has been one of more than 300 Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, layout etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.

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