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Pleasure island; With its magnificent scenery, quirky restaurants, awesome music and beautiful people, there's no experience quite like the magical vibe of Ibiza.

Byline: MICKEY McMONAGLE

With the summer season in Ibiza getting longer every year, there's never been a better time to indulge in some Balearic fun away from the madness of July and August.

With Jet2's incredibly reasonable direct flights from Glasgow already up and running, their Sunday to Wednesday turnaround suited to a T.

Everything about travelling with Jet2 is designed to make life easy – from the online booking calendar to the brilliant touch of having a British staff member on hand to assist at check–in on your return flight.

I recommend renting a car if you want to see a bit of the island and we'd opted to do so in style, thanks to Class Rent a Car.

Hopping into our gleaming white Range Rover Evoque, we felt every inch the rock stars and ended up arguing over who got to be in the driving seat, not vice versa.

Our hotel was the Santos Ibiza Coast Suites, part of the continued reinvention of Playa D'En Bossa.

Guests at Santos are lucky enough to have one of the resort's nicest beach clubs in the hotel – an amazing pool area perfectly set up for both sunbathing and partying.

Our room boasted a large living area with mini–kitchen and a spacious bedroom.

After check–in, we shot off to celebrate my wife Deborah's birthday at Amante's opening party (where we got married two years ago). We had never before seen it as a wild party spot rather as a classy restaurant or wedding venue.

Packed with beautiful people, it was a real Balearic night full of great music and that unique Ibiza atmosphere before one of the world's best backdrops.

Next day, it was off to the beautiful Spanish village of Santa Gertrudis for a late breakfast at Musset with our friends from essentialibiza.com.

We sat down to Musset's legendary breakfast platter – a superb spread of fresh breads, croissants and so on, with boiled eggs, meats, cheeses, jams and more. Topped off with their famous healthy superjuices, we were soon stuffed to bursting.

Make sure you venture inside to check out the floor in the rear area, trust me.

That evening, we had another special event waiting for us – the launch of Aperitivo at Clandestino.

This superb idea sees the beautifully quirky restaurant lay on a sprawling buffet of stunningly crafted pinchos – basically hors d'oeuvres – for just 8 euro.

Tucked away from the main drag of Bossa, the friendly owners make it feel like your little local treasure while the food is out of this world.

We forced ourselves not to fill up on too many of the superb pinchos before sitting down to a lobster burger, piled high with the tender, sweet meat, tomato, avocado and basil pesto.

After this masterpiece came the desserts – tiramisu and a wonderful cheese flan with a test tube of syrup slowly trickling into its centre, topped by a cascade of spun sugar.

Whatever you do in Ibiza this year, make sure you find Clandestino.

The next day had two more firsts in store for us – La Escollera and Sa Capella.

There is something truly magical about La Escollera. It sits on the coast at the sea end of the famous salt flats. So your drive to the venue is along a winding road alongside the ancient flats, which adds a really timeless feel.

The restaurant has been very cleverly designed as a contemporary, airy structure, yet retains the feel of the centuries–old original building. It truly is stunning.

The family who own La Escollera are always on hand to personally welcome guests and genuinely treat them as part of the family for the day.

The food is as out of this world as the location. We had a dazzling array of starters, from incredible sushi to burrata with tomato and avocado and tiny, delicately battered baby squid.

La Escollera is famous for classic Spanish and Ibizenco dishes and the recipes are handed down from their yaya (grandmother).

Our chicken and rabbit paella was spectacular but the star of the show was the gallo – or John Dory. The best seafood dish I have ever had, no question.

We spent one of the most perfect afternoons we've ever experienced at La Escollera and we can't wait to return.

That night, it was Sa Capella. This restaurant has long been famed around the world. Set in an ancient monastery, it is truly magnificent.

We were ushered to a huge booth off to the side of the cavernous room by the owner Carlos and asked him to choose for us – always a good idea.

We were served ox carpaccio, broccoli in a rich cheese and bacon sauce, sensational garlic prawns in oil, fire–roasted green chillies and foie gras with home–made flavoured marmalades.

While Charlie from essentialibiza.com enjoyed suckling pig, Deborah and I shared ox steak – but in a way I've never seen before.

The meat is thinly sliced and brought to the table raw. You cook it yourself on a hot stone topped by a bed of salt.

Not only a taste sensation, it creates a truly memorable dining experience.

Somehow we made room for desserts – look out for the white chocolate soup – before they surprised us all with a birthday concoction of toffee and nuts for Deborah.

The perfect end to an incredible night.

Our last day rolled around far too quickly as usual but Charlie had one more surprise up his sleeve – Babylon Beach.

Perched on a small man–made cliff, Babylon Beach has created the perfect tranquil haven with three different venues in one.

There's the main beach bar, a beautifully bohemian collection of tables and comfy beanbags on the sand and along the cliff edge.

Then there's the large restaurant with stunning wooden furniture and finally a fenced–in adventure playground where the kids can run wild.

Look out for the enormous paysan roast chicken with superb home–made fries and coleslaw. The superfoods salads are also excellent. Another must–visit.

All too soon, it was time to jump back in the Range Rover to head to the airport for the flight home.

Whenever you go, whatever you do when you get there, there's nowhere in the world quite like this beautiful island.

Travel info

We flew courtesy of Jet2.com, who offer low fares, great flight times and a generous 22kg baggage allowance to Ibiza from Glasgow Airport. Flights start from PS51 one–way, including taxes. For more information, please visit www.jet2.com

We stayed courtesy of Santos Ibiza Coast Suites in Playa D'En Bossa in a junior suite. See www.santosibizacoastsuites.com

Our Range Rover Evoque was provided by www.classrentacar.es/en/index.html Rates for budget cars start from just 10 euro a day.

For details on our destinations, club tickets, VIP tables, restaurant bookings and more, visit www.essentialibiza.com

CAPTION(S):

CHILLED The Santos Ibiza Coast Suites

HOT WHEELS At La Escollera

DIY DINING Cooking ox steak at Sa Capella

LEGENDARYMUSSET in Santa Gertrudis
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 25, 2014
Words:1198
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