Your Unlikely Weekend Retreat: Ibiza

The party capital isn't just for clubbing: find good food and serious chill hidden amongst the action

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Hear the word Ibiza, and you'd be forgiven for immediately seeing strobe lights flash before your eyes. The Balearic isle has long been code for all-night raving, a place to go on a group holiday if you're looking for a luxury party hub with sun, sea and decent food to boot.

Then there are those who defend the island's beauty and earnestly assure you that, if you go to the north, you can find a peaceful retreat so calm, so stunning and yet so quiet that you might never know what was going on back near the old town (apart from that drowsy looking lone rocker hiding behind his sunglasses and gently swaying in front of you in the queue to board your flight home).

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These are the two, seemingly contradictory camps that those loyal to Ibiza tend to fall into. Except that it doesn't have to be a trade off between culture and partying, between mammoth nights out and villas so isolated they're not worth the bother of leaving. One hotel manages to provide an oasis right in the centre of the action, giving you the best of both worlds.

The Ibiza Gran Hotel (which is quietly celebrating its 10th season) hires no DJs at nighttime, has no music blaring out of its speakers and focuses instead on its restaurant and zen-like spa more than anything else. But despite being swathed in five-star comfort, you are by no means hidden away when you stay here – the hotel sits proudly on the harbour with the best view of the castle you could hope for, directly across the bay. And if you suddenly get the urge to head out into the night, the famous Pacha is a minute's walk.

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As is increasingly the case in Ibiza more generally, the food at the Gran Hotel is top notch. The main restaurant La Gaia debuted a fusion it calls Japeruvian last year, which means lots of raw fish served with the influences of both Japan and Peru – fresh, refined and ideal for the hot weather. But the real feast comes at the beginning of the day. Whilst people talk about breakfasting like a king, they rarely mean it; they do here. The breakfast buffet spans the entire length of the dining room, and then stretches around corners you didn't realise could lead to more. It offers everything you could imagine: there is a pancake station with a dedicated chef ready to go; he banters along with the omlette chef across from him, who also cooks to order; next to them is a cheese counter Waitrose can only dream of and a selection of cured meats (note: it can be a tad unnerving to be faced with a giant skewered pig's leg first thing in the morning, but said jamón is incredible); there is a full English even the English can't scoff at; bounteous platters of fresh fruit and salads; and an entire confectionary section complete with chocolate fountain. The challenge is not to over-eat on your first plateful. Of course, you can stick to cereal and yoghurt, which the health-conscious among you can team with jugs full of vibrant super food juices, but those sit tantalizingly close to the gleaming buckets of champagne… you are faced with some difficult life choices here.

Hence the need for a spa, to calm you down after such excitement so early in the day (which thankfully includes a gym to at least try and work some of the calories off). As well as providing more traditional treatments, the aqua room houses a collection of pools, which all have different sorts of bubbles, jets, cross-currents and so forth to train, soothe and massage your muscles. It's an afternoon's work in itself.

But bubbles can also be found in the privacy of your own room, since every single suite has a giant whirlpool bathtub stuck in it (and they only do suites here). It's a strange kind of luxury but, hey ho, the rules of a holiday are different to those of normal life; just ponder again on those breakfast options.

The airport is a 10 minute drive, the castle a 10 minute walk and one of the sandiest beaches (Talamanca) just round the corner. So whether you want to hit the party scene hard, merely doff your hat to it, or remain by a quiet pool whilst food appears around you, your whims are catered for here. It really is a case of having your cake and eating it, too.

Paseo Juan Carlos 1, 17, 07800 Ibiza; ibizagranhotel.com