Words by Lucy Handley
Ibiza is known as a place for serious partying, but it’s also the kind of destination for a luxurious retreat, and the sophisticated Hotel Riomar, set on a strip of golden sand in laid-back Santa Eulàlia des Riu, is definitely in the latter camp.
The hotel, a beautifully refurbished 1960s building, has a stunning lounge and terrace facing the sea, a generous pool and secret garden area, and 116 minimalist and comfortable bedrooms, all with balconies either overlooking the coast or the surrounding landscape. Guests can lounge by the pool or on one of the large and comfortable sunbeds on the beach, where waiter service is available at the touch of a button.
Part of Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio group of boutique residences, the Hotel Riomar has been completely refurbished and reopened in July 2021. Santa Eulàlia, a quieter option than bustling Ibiza Town or party-hard San Antonio, has two long, golden sandy bays and the hotel sits at the town’s southern end, on a generous portion of the beach.
The hotel’s lobby and lounge area are done in tasteful, earthy tones and comfortable mid-Century style furniture, while a hand-painted tiled wall mural makes the space come alive. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out to a wide terrace and provide fabulous views across the Balearic Sea, while a well-stocked bar with metal and pale wood detailing serves great coffee and cocktails.
Outdoors, there is a large, wooden-decked pool area with pale parasols and day beds, ideal for a lazy day, while a sunken secret garden features rugs and bean bags and hosts complimentary morning yoga classes. Guests have access to sunbeds on the beach until 6pm, when they can move poolside where DJs play into the early evening.
Simple black-and-white décor can be hard to get right, but the Riomar pulls it off in style, with high-end finishes and warm neutral touches. Sliding glass doors open out onto a balcony, with sea view rooms catching the morning sunshine.
Rooms have soft and comfortable beds, plenty of hanging space, a minibar and kettle, plus bathrobes and slippers. Bathrooms have rain showers and Calming Park toiletries, a brand made in Grasse, the French town famous for its fragrances and herbs.
Breakfast is buffet style, with plenty of fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt, pastries, bread, smoked salmon, ham and cheese, while hot options include scrambled eggs, bacon and roast potatoes. Fresh watermelon juice was a highlight, as were the iced lattes and hot coffees, making for a laid-back but luxurious meal on the comfortable terrace, complete with slick and friendly service. Lunch can also be taken on the terrace, by the pool, or on the beach loungers.
Dinner by the hotel’s Ocean Brasserie is equally delicious, with a smoked burrata salad, the grilled sea bass and Riomar’s raspberry cheesecake all highlights, while there are inventive vegan and vegetarian options available. Guests can also choose from an extensive wine and cocktail list, and there are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives too.
It would be easy to spend your days lazing on Hotel Riomar’s beach or by the pool, but that would be to miss the surrounding beaches, bars and restaurants.
For a relaxed lunch, beachside Chiringuito Blue is close to Hotel Riomar, with a range of sharing options and a catch of the day, while for healthy and delicious all-day breakfasts, salads and smoothies, try the vegetarian Ve Café right by the W Hotel.
An upmarket spot for lunch is Cotton Beach Club on the west of the island. The restaurant, perched at the top of a cliff, has a wooden whitewashed interior making the most of the fabulous sea views. It specialises in raw fish and sushi, with tuna tartare on wasabi ice cream a hit, along with catch of the day served Peruvian ceviche-style. This is the place to try sangria made with champagne and a touch of Martini Fiero, and there is also a good range of cocktails, gin and whiskey. Guests can hire a daybed on the beach below.
If you’re after a treat for the evening, La Llama restaurant at the W Hotel close to the Riomar is both a hip and stunning choice. Chef Eitan Doron cooks Israeli-inspired dishes including a corn and mint salad with ras el hanout spices and a tuna tataki with beetroot mousse and aubergine cream. There is also a steak menu with ultra-premium Wagyu cuts from Japan and Chile on offer and guests dine at high tables next to the kitchen or on a terrace overlooking the pool.
Santa Eulàlia makes for a good base to explore the island’s quieter northern beaches. Around 15 minutes’ drive from the town is Aiyanna restaurant, set back from a small beach with turquoise water, a lovely spot for lunch or dinner (book three days ahead). It’s a short walk or drive from Cala Llenya, a large sandy bay with sunbeds for hire. At Cala Xuclar, a tiny cove on the island’s far north, not far from the picturesque village of Sant Joan, there’s a chiringuito (or beach bar) serving fresh fish, great for a quiet meal (cash only).
You can’t leave the island without visiting Dalt Vila, or the 16th-century fortified part of Ibiza Town, close to the airport. Walk up to the castle for views across the marina or try one of the restaurants lining the Placa de Vila. Tiny wine bar Majorelle, on Carrer de sa Carrossa, is good for tapas and a glass of cava and is slightly off the beaten track.
Finally, for a night out, Pikes is a must. It’s a hotel-cum-all-day hangout, with poolside DJs, a mirror-ball decked restaurant and a sunset terrace that comes alive at night. Situated in the hills above San Antonio, it is an Ibiza institution – Wham’s 1983 Club Tropicana video was shot here – and it still retains its eclectic cool, without being pretentious.
In a nutshell
Hotel Riomar is a polished yet relaxed place to base a holiday in Ibiza, with its ideal beachfront location, fabulous food, chilled vibe and great service.
A range of airlines fly direct to Ibiza from all UK airports and the Hotel Riomar is about a 25-minute transfer by car.
Sea view rooms can be booked from €590 ($499) in the summer season.
Address: Hotel Riomar, Carrer des Riu, 48, 07840, Santa Eulàlia des Riu, Ibiza
Phone: +34 871 18 33 18