Mark Hedges explores Isla Sa Ferradura, a Garden of Eden just a short distance from one of the world's most infamous destinations.
What sort of service would you like at the villa?’ I pondered a while, looking out of the car window as we drove from the airport past orange and lemon groves and asked Ulf, the manager, what he meant. ‘Well, do you want to have your napkin replaced before it hits the floor or something more discreet?’
Isla Sa Ferradura sits alone on a tiny island just off the coast of Ibiza. It is the epitome of exclusivity: a billionaire’s holiday heaven.
We crossed from the mainland via a thin spit of golden sand that links the party capital of the world with this island of quiet charm. Behind a vast wooden gate, we found a Garden of Eden, filled with ancient olive trees, oleander, great drifts of drosanthemum and trailing rosemary, as well as mastic trees, Aleppo pines and bird of paradise plants.
My two sons and their friends had been singing songs from Hamilton in the car and, by the time we had been shown to our rooms, the musical was playing on speakers all around the island. The attention to detail was astonishing. The villa itself, designed by local architect Jaime Romano, is in the simple Balearic style. The oak floor throughout, polished to oyster sheen, is the perfect dancing partner to the shimmering light coming through the vast windows.
Isla Sa Ferradura was voted last year as Europe’s best private villa. It holds 12 guests; there are 23 members of staff. Further accommodation is available for larger parties – footballer Cesc Fabregas had his wedding here and Lionel Messi has stayed.
Nothing is impossible to arrange; no detail is ignored. Even the lawn, despite the wind and sea salt, is like a feather mattress, nurtured with Cynodon dactylon and Festuca arundinacca grass seeds. There are two swimming pools, a gym and a spa built into the rock with agapanthus growing on the roof.
Ibiza is the ultimate party island, and the villa is perfect for recharging after visits to Pacha or Bora Bora. We enjoyed a hot-air balloon trip and visits to the coastal fortress and old town. There is much to do, but nothing beats the villa itself, where life is at its best.