Stay out past bedtime.
Some destinations are just known for party vacations: your spring breaks, your bachelor/ettes. The drunken, debaucherous, caper-vacations famous worldwide for the scene: Cancun, Amsterdam, Vegas–and of course, Ibiza.
Ibiza’s long-standing reputation as the party island in the Mediterranean is well-earned: world-class clubs, restaurants, and bars; all-day beach and pool parties; yacht outings and booze cruises; festivals and concerts galore. Ibiza is the place to teeter in stilettos, pop champagne, throw glitter, and cut a rug. I see why people go there, especially the young and the enthusiastic, but it doesn’t particularly appeal to me at this point in my life. At present, vacation is all about going to bed early and waking up late–plus a nap.
It’s not like I’m a party pooper! I’m incredible on the dance floor, and I can drink like a fish. I’m chatty and entertaining and willing to go all in on a theme. But let’s be real. The gray hair has arrived. I’ve got a husband, a kid, and a home. I’m not exactly in the prime of my youth anymore, the rabble-rousing, debaucherous imp of yore.
So what the hell was I thinking accepting an assignment to cover the party capital of the world, Ibiza, and what’s more, to be accompanied by an electronic dance music writer nearly a decade and a half my junior?
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It’s work, I told myself during the transatlantic flight, just like any other destination.
Then I remembered the pink thong bikini I impulse-bought before I left. It’s giving mid-life crisis vibes, I’d thought in the dressing room.
We arrived, and the party started. We prepared for the club. The music writer wore a mid-drift-baring neon mini co-ord set and Doc Martens; me, in a black maxi dress and sweater, oversized earrings. I looked like her weird aunt. The club’s doors wouldn’t open until midnight, which is the time I usually go to bed if I’ve stayed up too late. I triple-checked that our driver would return to retrieve me at 1:30 a.m. The music writer opted to schedule a second, later pick-up–after all, the headlining DJ didn’t come on until 3 a.m., and she was on assignment.
Pacha is everything you imagine Ibiza to be. The seminal dance club has been churning out superstar DJ performances and legendary dance parties since its inception 50 years ago. Iconic twin cherries perch at the entrance, giant shellacked fruit that serves as a meeting point and backdrop for thousands of pre-party selfies in Ibiza Town. The night’s theme, Masquerade, included gold plastic Venetian plague doctor masks passed out at the door. We watched the crowd line up for step-and-repeat photos, clad in rave clothes, costumes, leather, and glitter. At midnight, we were finally let in. By the time I got my first drink, I was ready for bed.
But the beats and the bops, they slapped! Plus, I’m a sucker for a dance party. So while I waited for my 1:30 curfew, I boogied as best I could to the house music for which I remain unfamiliar. The songs built toward climactic drops, and the energy was palpable. When it all became overwhelming (because, hello, I’m so tired), I stepped back and opted to people-watch.
A senior couple–Babyboomers, I’d estimate them around my parents’ age, mid-to-late 60s–were positively busting a move on the dance floor. I turned to take stock of the crowd, and that’s when I realized how many of the revelers were much, much older than me–old enough to receive discounts, at the very least—an observation that surprised and delighted me. Oh sure, there were plenty of people younger than me, too, but these carefree retirees were so deeply uninhibited and decidedly immersed. They were, to put it mildly, burning a goddamn hole in the dance floor and absolutely loving it.
There may be nothing as wildly inspirational as seeing your esteemed and wizened elders tearing it up to breakbeats. A real pants-kicker for this lethargic toddler mama. I descended back into the crowd and boogied my heart out, trying to keep up. Thanks, party pensioners of Ibiza, for the reminder: you’re never too old to be young.
My driver collected me at 1:30 a.m. promptly, and I tumbled into my cozy lair at the ME Ibiza hotel, just 20 minutes north of Ibiza Town on the coast. And while the aesthetics (bohemian luxury chic) and amenities (rooftop bar, direct beach access, infinity pool, and the next-door Nikki Beach Club) are key selling points of the hotel, it’s the staff’s enthusiasm for all things accommodating that make the stay worthwhile. In this case, the staff were ready to coordinate our nightclub tickets and arrange the individual transport pickups. The next day, they would charter a private yacht excursion and coordinate stand-up paddleboard activities for us as gentler alternatives to raving through the night.
But drunk and safely returned to my room at 2 a.m., I still felt inspired. I put on my pink thong bathing suit.
“It’s giving mid-life crisis vibes!” I yelled delightedly in the mirror.
Then I passed out. It was way past my bedtime.