Travel: Family fun in idyllic Ibiza

It’s known as a clubbers’ paradise, but Ibiza rocks for families too as HELEN MCGURK discovered
Wonderful views from the fabulous Tui Blue Aura resort in IbizaWonderful views from the fabulous Tui Blue Aura resort in Ibiza
Wonderful views from the fabulous Tui Blue Aura resort in Ibiza

For all the blaring music and hedonism associated with Ibiza, the aptly named White Isle is also a destination of culture and grace, and a great spot for families.

Of course, like other Balearics, certain parts of Ibiza still have the flop-and-drop Eurotrashy resorts, but there is another side to this island, and one which is beautiful, sophisticated and serene.

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We had booked an all-inclusive family holiday with TUI, flying direct from Belfast International Airport.

Fun galore at the water parkFun galore at the water park
Fun galore at the water park

Our base for the week was the fantastic TUI Blue Aura hotel on the west of the island near Port des Torrents - five minutes’ drive from raucous San Antonio, but a million miles removed from the clubbing and chaos.

TUI Blue Aura is a best-of-both-worlds type of resort.

It has a chilled-out beach scene, being just 150 metres from the Port des Torrent beach, and doesn’t just line up a parade of gorgeous pools, including an indoor pool that’s heated in May and October, but also offers free entry to the Sirenis Aquagames water park next door that’s chock-full of fast slides and chutes and a pirate-themed play zone with fountains and sprinklers.

Unlike other package holidays and resorts I have stayed in, this one isn’t a humongous high-rise eyesore; rather, accommodation is in tidy buildings, a couple of stories high.

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The whole complex has a small village feel, with extensive gardens (look out for the geckos!) and plenty of gigantic cacti.

We were in a lovely, cool, contemporary family room, with a bedroom each for us and the kids, aged 10 and 14.

Accommodation

Our accommodation had everything required for a family - a fridge (which had a much-appreciated large bottle of water when we arrived), really comfy beds, two flatscreen televisions, wi-fi (a must these days when travelling with a screen-obsessed teen), air conditioning, a balcony, safe, creative lighting, tonnes of storage space, a contemporary bathroom with fantastic modern shower and loads of surface space for all our bits and bobs.

The room was kept spotlessly clean and replenished with fluffy white towels, when we needed them, by a fleet of cheery chambermaids.

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What also made for a refreshing change was that there were ample sun loungers to go around - so no mad scramble in the morning to mark your territory with a towel.

The facilities at this resort are second to none, with plenty of snack bars, pool and table tennis tables, and cool indoor seating areas to escape the scorching sun - it reached about 35 degrees Celsius when we there last month.

Just across the road there’s also a well-stocked supermarket and a souvenir shop selling all manner of beach paraphernalia.

Dining

As for dining, you certainly won’t go hungry. There’s a bright and buzzy buffet restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with different themes every night. We especially enjoyed the Mexican night.

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As vegetarians who can sometimes struggle when dining out in restaurants, we had no such issues here, with a good variety of salads and hot food every evening.

Guests can also avail of two evening meals per week in one of the two thematic restaurants - TeppanyakiClub and Taverna.

We found the food to be of high quality and delicious. The deserts were particularly sublime.

Should you feel inclined to work off the calories, the hotel offers a bumper activity list, including aqua aerobics, there’s a gym and a also a multi-sport court or could you simply dance them off at the evening entertainment.

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There’s a focus on wellbeing at Tui Blue For Families hotels. The Healthy Eating Challenge encourages youngsters to try new foods. There are professionally run swimming lessons. Plus, family wellbeing classes help you to relax while practising mindfulness.

Fabulous location

But what really sets this place apart is the location. Just a two minute walk from the hotel and you are on the beach.

Tavernas parade themselves in time-honoured fashion beside the waterfront, and the party prowess of San Antonio is far enough away for nights to stay bass-free.

We, like many other hotel guests, went to the beach in the evenings to watch the day dissolve.

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It was bliss sitting on the sand whilst the kids swam in the bath-warm water, watching the sky glow then fade from baby blues to dusky pinks before the sea swallowed the sun.

If you can drag yourself away from the hotel, there are plenty of wonderful places to see on the island. Ibiza is roughly the same size as the Isle of Wight, so nowhere is too far away.

The hotel can organise car hire and sight-seeing tours.

We visited Saint Gertrudis de Fruitis, a beautiful inland village with a distinctly bohemian feel; lots of chilled out beautiful people in head-to-toe white linen ensembles were sipping Negronis in the streetside cafes.

The island is dotted with tiny out-of-the ways coves, sweeping arcs of sand with Caribbean blue waters, rocky cliffs, sprawling pine tree forests, olive groves and flat-roofed houses painted toothpaste white.

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Dalt Vila, meaning high town, is the oldest part of Ibiza town. Colossal Renaissance walls surround this historic enclave. There are hidden chapels and tunnels and a warren of steep streets to explore; be warned though, this area can be pricey.

Ibiza has so many wonderful secluded beaches. My favourite was Cala d’Hort with gin-clear waters and a fantastic view of the vertiginous rock-island of Es Vedra.

But after a day sightseeing it was lovely to come back to the hotel, relax with a drink by the pool.

If you are thinking of Ibiza, but are perhaps worried that it’s all partying and DJs, I’d say just give it a spin and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

FACTFILE:

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Family –Depart Belfast on Sep 7, 2022. Stay 7 night All-inclusive from £2,279 for 2 adults and 1 child, or 2 adults and 2 children from £2,769

Couple – Depart Belfast on the Sep 7, 2022. Stay 7 night All-inclusive from £889pp

Summer 2023

Family – Depart Belfast on the June 7, 2023. Stay 7 night All-inclusive from £2,219 for 2 adults and 1 child, or 2 adults and 2 children from £2,799

Couple – Depart Belfast on the June 7, 2023. Stay 7 night All-inclusive from £779pp

Included: Transfers from your hotel to Ibiza airport and 20kg luggage

Online: https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/europe/spain/ibiza/port-des-torrent/hotels/tui-blue-aura.html

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