Tag Archives: Spain

Pool Party at Whitecaps, Ibiza

My friend had a pool party for her birthday. I was excited as a kid getting invited to a.. well, pool party! They’re the best – you get to drink sugary drinks, run around with your friends, and swim in the pool.

The problem was the weather – it wasn’t cooperating. To say it was a bit overcast would be an understatement. It was yucky. However, we all turned up in our Ibiza chic swimwear, determined to wait it out.

The villa was right on the ocean, looking out over the waves thrashing against the cliffs below.

Whitecaps Lounger

Whitecaps Pool

Whitecaps Cove Waves

As the caterers rushed to assemble a tent before the next gusts of rain, I went for a wander around the craggy bluffs of Es Canar.

Whitecaps Villa

Whitecaps Cliff Steps

Whitecaps Steps

Whitecaps Sea

Whitecaps Ocean

Whitecaps Cove Windy

Whitecaps Cove

I love the sea. I love being close to it, breathing in the salty ocean spray, smelling the briny sulphuric tang of the surf.

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Whitecaps Vegetation Flower

It was a perfect spot to sit and be surrounded by the energy of the water. I’ve been reading a book called The Sea Inside, which considers our relationship to the oceans, their islands, and the life and creatures within them.

Whitecaps Cliff

Whitecaps Couple

On the way back to the party, we stumbled upon an abandoned swimming pool from some long out of business resort. The building was crumbling, but the pool water was pristine electric blue with not a speck of debris in it.

Whitecaps Abandoned Pool

Whitecaps Abandoned Pool Sea

We drifted back to the villa where music was playing and people were starting to party.

Whitecaps View

The sun had finally showed up to the party – better late than never.

Whitecaps Girls

People got into the spirit, carousing in the sunshine.

We all clambered up onto the roof to get closer to the rays.

Some even sang opera music.

Whitecaps Opera Singer

And hugged it out.

Whitecaps Opera Hug

It quickly turned into a festive scene that went way into the evening.

Whitecaps Ladies

Ocean Rooftop Pool Party Boas

But I’ll leave off here…

With two birds of a feather, ready to party!

Amante Beach Club, Ibiza

North of Ibiza town outside Cala Llonga there is a little cove in Sol d’en Serra. Above it sits the coolest, most laid-back spot to recover from a long weekend of partying – Amante Beach Club.

It’s a restaurant, it’s a bar, it’s a beachy clubhouse. The type of place you could spend all day – literally.

Amante Beach Club Lounge

Amante Beach Club Terrace

Amante Beach Club Planter

Walk through the lounge, past the terrace and out onto the weathered steps down to the bar. Beyond the railing, is a tidy little red-beach where sun loungers can be rented for 20€ per day; it’s best to call ahead and reserve them in advance because they go quickly.

Amante Beach Club Steps

Amante Beach Club Zebra Espadrilles

I scrambled down the sand-weathered steps as quickly as my espadrilles would carry me!

Amante Beach Club View

Amante Beach Club Bar

Amante Beach Club Cove

Amante Beach Club Loungers

I wiggled down in my sun lounger, unpacked my beachbag, and happily waited for drinks to be brought to us while soaking up the intermittent patches of sun.

Amante Beach Club Relaxing

Amante Beach Club Sun Lounger

Amante Beach Club Beach

It wasn’t long laying there listening to the lullaby of waves crashing on the cobbled shore before I nodded off for a mid-morning kip.

After stirring from my beauty sleep, we tottered down to the beach for a swim in the sea.

Amante Beach Club Rocky Swim

Amante Beach Club Ocean Swim

Eddie plunged right in, and paddled confidently out into the blue waters of the cove.

But I was too intimidated by the squishy heaps of sea kelp and the rocky shore to follow suit.

Amante Beach Club Shore

Plus, I wanted to stay dry for lunch.

We piled around the table, and it was clear who had the better seats.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Laughs

Amante Beach Club Lunch Boys

But the boys perked up when the food arrived…

Spinach salad with grilled prawn skewer

Spinach salad with grilled prawn skewer

… Although they had to protectively guard their Iberian ham croquettes from our trespassing hands sneaking in to swipe one.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Croquettas

Black cod Alaska glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with a wakame salad

Black cod Alaska glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with a wakame salad

To make it up to them, we shared our desserts – fluffy whipped citrus cheesecake, and a decadent chocolate ganache.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Cheesecake

Amante Beach Club Lunch Chocolate

Amante Beach Club Lunch View

We ordered a round of espresso martinis and carried on into the evening laughing and talking.

Amante Beach Club Lunch

Amante Beach Club Lunch Talking

Amante Beach Club Lunch Talking Table

Amante Beach Club Dusk

Until eventually it was so dark we struggled to see eachother across the table!

Amante Beach Club Lunch Dusk Cove

Amante Beach Club Moon

When the moon appeared, we crawled into a taxi and headed out into the Ibiza night.

Barcelona: Day 2

I woke up giddy on my next day in Barcelona. Stretched out in the immaculate ivory bedding I savored the sound of cups tinkling on the cafe tables below the open balcony, and the azure skies peeking though the sheer curtains. The city was calling me to come play!

The Barri Gòtic district is Barcelona’s historic center, its’ medieval streets brimming with artisanal shops and the occasional Roman ruins.

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Milk is tucked away on tiny Carrer d’En Gignàs but you might recognize it by the queue outside; their Recovery Brunch is notorious among locals and fashionable travel guides.

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B1MilkBMThe Bloody Marys are topped with Estrella, the local beer.

B1MilkSalmSalmon benedict on chapatas

Milk is just a short stroll away through the Barceloneta district to the marina and beaches.

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B1Beach

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B1EspadrillesCheck out these adorable espadrilles found in the marina market

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Pez Vela is relaxed-chic and perfect for a beachside tapas lunch. Situated under the giant sail-shaped W Hotel on Platja de Sant Sebastià, a terrace table on the weekend is out of the question without a reservation. The servers wear bright, sturdy aprons repurposed from old sails. A cold glass of Albarino in hand, the people-watching here is epic.

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B1PVpaellaCooks preparing paella

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B1PVclamsClams with tomato, chilli & basil

B1PVSaladHamTomato bread | Acorn-fed Iberico ham | Tomato, celery, artichokes & mahón cheese

P1020750Flan de la casa

It’s easy to while away an entire afternoon here, but I had an exciting occasion planned for the evening – an event that has alluded me the whole time I’ve been living in Europe. I was ready for some futbol! And where better to experience professional soccer at its zenith than at Camp Nou stadium, home of FC Barcelona?

B1MessiMessi takes the field…

B1Messi2And scores!

The stadium went mental!

When it gets late and about that time to get your cheeky drink on, shimmy down to Betty Ford’s for a cocktail. It’s on an edgy stretch of the artsy Carrer de Joaquín Costa. You might not recognize the Spanish television personalities and fashionistas who frequent here, but you will enjoy the playful decor and maybe even meet a new pal since everyone seems super-approachable and friendly.

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B2BFcheekBeware – the cocktails are ridiculously strong!

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The walk home – lots of love from Barcelona!

Barcelona: Day 1

England is my little lily pad, from where I can hop off to so many amazing destinations. This weekend I pounced on Barcelona for a bit of city sun, legendary architecture, and of course heaps and heaps of tapas.

Hotel 1898 is located on the vibrant “Las Ramblas” street which divides the boutiquey Raval district from the Barri Gòtic medieval heart of the city. With their nautical design theme, the accommodations feel like balcony staterooms with high ceilings, framed marine charts, and gleaming teak floors reminiscent of a ship’s hull.

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The best part of the hotel is La Isabella Terrace and rooftop pool. What beats having breakfast while lounging on cushy striped deck furniture, enjoying the breeze under the shade of a canvas umbrella surrounded by panoramic rooftop views of the city?

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The H1898 signature breakfast includes fresh slices of Iberico ham, Norwegian smoked salmon, tomato bread, a heaping platter of fresh fruit and a glass of rose cava. No breakfast is complete without a steaming cup of cafe negro to start the day.

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After using my bird’s-eye view of cathedral spires and landmarks to get my bearings, I set out on a walking architour of the city’s most celebrated buildings. First stop was Gaudi’s Casa Batlló on the Passeig de Gràcia.

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This 5-story Art Nouveau townhouse has nary a straight line in it. It twists and swoops and even seems to bubble and blister in places. I loved the tiles in the light well and on the undulating dragon-spine roofline. It is a bit of a tourist trap – the queue for 20€ tickets was a rather bothersome ordeal but I couldn’t miss the chance to see a page from my old architecture textbooks come to life.

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Tapas are the world’s best food when you’re like me and prefer to try lots of little bites of different flavors rather than one big dish. They’re also great when you’re after some simple light fare, which I was following my tour of Casa Batlló. Just around the corner on Carrer de València is Cornelia & Co, the “daily picnic store.” The Barcelona equivalent of Dean & Deluca, it’s perfect for grab-and-go gourmet food and wine, where in spring a picnic is always a tempting lunchtime option. I had time to spare so decided to enjoy the service at one of the outside bistro tables.

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Don’t be intimidated by the Barcelona Metro. It is clean, well-lit, and easy to navigate. If you’re travelling with a friend, I recommend is the T-10 card, which is a ticket loaded with 10 journeys to share – for just 9.80€. I wish other cities (hello, London!) would catch onto this.

Bt10

If I had to name my architectural mecca, it would hands down be Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s “Barcelona Pavilion.” Designed for the 1929 International Exposition, this minimalist masterpiece inspired the iconic Barcelona chair – and also a certain NYU undergraduate studying architecture back in the day. It has all the tranquility of a temple; one of  the most serene moments of my visit was watching the red drapes flutter softly in the balmy breeze wafting through the open space.

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Had a charming wander through the leafy Pablo Sec neighborhood on the way back to the hotel.

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To experience the luxurious side of the Catalan gastronomy scene, I tip my hat to Michelin-starred Cinc Sentits in the Eixample district. A truly intimate atmosphere – there are only ten tables in the earthy, wood panelled dining room.

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cinq4Tapas

house-marinated gordal olive with orange peel

house version of the traditional pan con tomate

bacalao crisp with fresh mató cheese, parsley, and lemon

house-made cracker with romesco sauce

cinq5Oyster with seawater “air” and lemon

cinq6Caramelized foie gras “coca”

pastry crust | chive arrop | leeks

cinq7Razor clam

green bean | mini potato | traditional pil pil sauce

cinq8Wild Mediterranean skate

spring peas from Llavaneras | escabetx | chive flowers

cinq9Squab breast

croqueta | red wine poached pear | forest fruits

cinq91Suckling pig

eggplant | basil | wild mushrooms

cinq92Strawberries from the Maresme

blackberry cream | yogurt powder | celery ice

cinq93Banana

warm salted caramel | black beer ice cream | hazelnut crunch

cinq94“Tentacions”

orange-chocolate crisp with flors del remei liqueur | forest fruit mini muffin | mint-dark chocolate truffle | bunyol del cuaresma

A rarefied and truly authentic Catalonian experience!

And there we have it – how to fall in love with Barcelona in just one day.