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Ibiza Virgins' Guide: Ushuaïa Ibiza

We guide you into Playa d'en Bossa's open air carnival.

Ushuaïa Ibiza began life as a humble beach club nestled amongst the sand dunes. Back in the day, it was the place to go to catch unannounced superstar DJs for free or host the odd after-party. However, its entrepreneurial owner Yann Pissenem had much bigger ambitions.

Linking up with local business magnate Abel Matutes of the Palladium Group, together they completely excavated a nearby hotel site. It may have occupied a shack on the beach once upon a time, but in its current guise, Ushuaïa Ibiza is a pristine whitewash 5* hotel, merging luxury accommodation and high-end clubbing to life.

But not just any hotel. Ushuaïa Ibiza is a hotel with a difference.

If you want a slow-paced, relaxing getaway free of noise, then you better look elsewhere! Ushuaïa doubles-up as a 7,000 capacity open-air beach club and daytime party venue. Each afternoon throughout summer, it hosts some of the biggest names in music on the poolside stage, from electronic music geniuses to international pop stars.

Ushuaïa's grand stage gives it a festival-like feel although it's probably the most high-end festival you can imagine. Think Coachella with added bling. There are various raised platforms and viewing towers dotted around the venue, mainly reserved for VIP guests.

Hotel guests benefit from a luxury pool in the centre of the complex. Though the main pool is off-limits during events, a smaller paddling pool at the rear allows clubbers to cool off in the knee-deep water.

Throughout the venue, you will find quirky decor all fitting within Ushuaïa's concept: ornamental foliage, exotic flower sculptures, a band of marching ants (more about them later).

Perhaps the most significant feature of the venue is that it is directly underneath the flight path. Given its proximity to the airport, planes come in very low. Depending on wind direction, your flight may well arrive swooping overhead.

Look out your window as you fly in to see if you can spot Ushuaïa - you can't really miss it. It is especially spectacular when it's all lit up at night.


QUICK FACTS

Number of rooms: Just the one open-air dance floor, although sometimes a small stage at the rear of the venue is used earlier in the day before the main stage opens
Capacity: 7,000
Famous for: Hosting the biggest names in electronic dance music, from Calvin Harris to the Swedish House Mafia, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to the late Avicii
Vibe: Meshing the carnival and festival format, with high-tech EDM attitude
Go if: You want to party under the sun as planes swoop in overhead


HOW TO GET THERE

Ushuaïa sits next to its sister hotels, Ushuaïa Tower and Hard Rock Hotel, backing onto the expanse of sand which is Playa d'en Bossa beach - the longest Ibiza has to offer.

Coming via the street, Ushuaïa is at the south tip of resort's main strip, directly opposite Hï Ibiza. Convenient, if you want to continue the party after Ushuaïa shuts at 23:00. Both venues are owned by The Night League, which is headed up by Yann.

Taxis drop off on the main road and can cost as much as €30 if travelling from San Antonio. Sharing is recommended and it's worth noting that getting a taxi can be a thankless task at the height of July and August.

Anybody staying in Playa d'en Bossa benefits from being within walking distance - a real bonus of staying in this resort.

Those staying in San Antonio can save money by catching the disco bus. The L3B service connects the two on event days. Find out more info on the routes by reading our disco bus guide.

A full list of disco bus timetables can be found here.

If you've rented a car, then Playa d'en Bossa has a large free car park in its centre, about 5-10 minutes walk to the venue.


THE TUNAGE

Although there are a few exceptions, which we'll come to in a minute, Ushuaïa typically throws parties with mass appeal - think your global superstars, such as David Guetta and Daddy Yankee and their friends.

Fans of EDM will certainly find themselves in music heaven on four or five days of the week, but Ushuaïa does host other types of parties too. ANTS is the incredibly popular Saturday daytime affair for the tech-house colony. In fact, on capacity, it's been the busiest Saturday party on the island for the past few years.

Admission prices range from €30 to €70 depending on the day of the week - and for special one-offs like 2019's Swedish House Mafia appearance, they were even higher. Quite often you get several ticket options, with cheaper tickets available if you are prepared to arrive earlier. Since we recommend experiencing Ushuaïa change from day to night, in many cases an early entry ticket makes a lot of sense.

Remember, Ushuaïa shuts at 23:00, so this isn't an all-night affair. You'll want to arrive early enough to get your money's worth. Hotel guests get admission to the parties inclusive in their stay.

For the finer details, find our party guide here.


FOOD & DRINK

Spirit and mixers cost between €17-20 and a bottled beer €13. 500ml water is €10. Anybody feeling plush and looking to fork out for a VIP experience should expect to pay in the thousands for a private area with bottle service. Still interested? Enquire directly with the venue.

Drinks bundles are available at Ushuaïa, allowing you to save a few Euros. These can be pre-booked online or purchased at the venue on the day.

Food-wise, Ushuaïa has lots of options with several on-site restaurants but these come in at the high-end of the market. Advance booking is required and you may have to comply with a stricter dress code. Montauk is its sumptuous steak house, while Minami is its Japanese fusion bar. Other places to eat include the beachfront Sir Rocco, which serves Italian cuisine, and The Beach by Ushuaïa Ibiza.

For snacks and purse-friendly food, it's probably more advisable to eat prior to arrival or after you leave. Playa d'en Bossa is dotted with pizza kiosks and other takeaway and dine-in options.


DRESS CODE

Being an open-air venue, you should dress accordingly - but please note Ushuaïa's T&Cs. Flip-flops, sports jerseys and swimwear are forbidden. That said, it isn't uncommon to see swimming costumes and bikinis being worn underneath denim shorts and/or a kaftan. Gents are expected to keep their torso covered at all times, although an unbuttoned shirt won't go amiss.

Please dress with discretion. Take it from us - it isn't worth arriving to be turned away and having to head back to change.

As you probably don't need telling, it can be exceptionally hot during the day and you should make sure you wear sun protection as well as staying hydrated.


DJ SET TIMES

You can expect the headline act to close the event with a thrilling crescendo, with rare exception. Full set-listing are likely to be posted on the venue's social media channels, so if there's any act you specifically want to see, searching there ahead of the party is a good bet. However, never take it as gospel. Live by the rule - and the small print - that "line-ups and set-times may be subject to change."


CLOAKROOM / ATM

All of the bars accept card payment. Before you join the queue, an ATM is located at the front of Ushuaïa. Additionally, cash points can be found the entire length of the main strip of Playa d'en Bossa.

Ushuaïa doesn't have a cloakroom, so pack light and leave valuables in a safety deposit box back at your hotel. This is especially true of selfie-sticks, GoPros and anything that could be considered professional recording equipment - all are banned.

On the odd occasion, it rains. Embrace it! Showers don't usually last very long and can be quite refreshing. You'll soon find you dry off very quickly.


USHUAïA OPENING AND CLOSING PARTY

Ushuaïa's Opening and Closing parties have always been a bit special.

Unlike the venue's weekly programme, these cater more towards the underground spectrum - and call in the big guns to mark the occasion. Seth Troxler, Sven Väth, The Martinez Brothers, Paul Kalkbrenner and Richie Hawtin are just some of the names that have headlined in the past.

From 2019 onwards, Ushuaïa's opening party became even more special.

While the music policy didn't change that much, the party switched to a 24-hour, dual-venue format with neighbouring Hï Ibiza. The marathon dubbed Odyssey started in daylight at midday and rolled right the way through to the same time the following day, with Hï opening at midnight.

Partying around the clock - just like the old days! For 2020, Ushuaïa and Hï are set to use the Odyssey template for the closing party as well, neatly wrapping up their season.


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