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Riding the crest of the wave: Hotel Torre Del Mar celebrates its 50th anniversary

A Playa d'en Bossa institution that continues to welcome happy holidaymakers after half a century.

​​In 1974, a local family named Torres Marí opened a superior four-star hotel that was to immediately become the authentic reference point for hospitality on Ibiza, with exclusive facilities, meeting rooms for corporate guests and an unbeatable location close to the airport. 

That establishment, Torre Del Mar Hotel, continues to thrive today as one of the island’s top hotels, still run by the third generation of the same Ibizan family and still welcoming guests - many of them repeat customers or even descendants of those privileged early visitors. 

Next year, 2024, it celebrates its 50th anniversary and its owners are planning something really special to commemorate the achievement. So, as the 2023 season wound down, our team dropped by to chat with the hotel’s current custodians - Rafa and Juana María - to learn more about its illustrious past, current developments and their plans to celebrate this landmark occasion. 

It may seem unbelievable now but Playa d'en Bossa - Ibiza’s longest beach - was once home to sabina trees, a few scattered dwellings and large expanses of farmland. It was a far cry from the bustling resort of today, replete with high-end hotels, swanky beach clubs and some of the world’s foremost nightclubs. 

The family’s grandfather, Rafael Marí Marí, was a great entrepreneur who constructed hotels, apartment blocks and businesses across the island. Of these, Torre Del Mar was the undisputed jewel in the crown. As his granddaughter, Juana María, explained, it was a huge twist of fate that the island’s coastal zones - which were practically worthless up to that time - suddenly turned into prime real estate as the tourism boom took off. The hotel opened its doors to the public in 1974.

“At that time, those who - following the traditional pattern of firstborn rights - had inherited the fertile agricultural land in the interior of Ibiza were much better off. Tourism changed all that and now it’s the frontline property that is most valuable.”  

Back in the mid-70s, the German and UK tourism markets were the main sources of visitors for Torre Del Mar and the hotel catered to their particular tastes, even as far as laying carpet in the typical English pub-style bar! In the early days, the hotel - like so many others - relied on large tour operators for its business. 

Torre Del Mar’s relationship with Ibiza Spotlight goes back to the early days of the Internet when Ibiza Spotlight had its own hotel booking engine, enabling many hotels to receive their first direct bookings and not have to depend on tour operators. 

Nowadays, in contrast, most of its guests come directly, booking via the hotel’s own website or even securing their reservation in person over the phone. 

The secret to Torre Del Mar’s success comes down to more than its warm treatment of guests and ongoing efforts to upgrade it, however. A key element is the way the family tries to look after its staff, many of whom have been with it for years, and one or two of whom only retired recently after working there since its inauguration in 1974. “Having a great team is fundamental to our success”, as Juana María confirms.

Though many of the hotels in the area have passed from the hands of Ibizan families to large investment funds, Torre Del Mar has always remained true to its roots. Over the decades they have managed to adapt to the changing demands of the tourism market without losing sight of the uniquely personal relationship with its guests that brings them back year after year. 

The hotel’s emblematic 18th-century windmill - set in the middle of its stunning infinity pool, overlooking the gleaming waters of the Med beyond - was listed as an historical heritage site by the authorities in 2003. It is the focal point that gives the hotel its unique identity.

A decade later, the hotel’s owners undertook a series of renovations in phases. These included upgrading every part of the hotel, which is now strikingly modern, from the rooms, the spa, the vestibule, the restaurants, the pool and garden area, extending the conference hall rooms and, most recently of all, the façade.

Today this august institution is perfectly poised to reap the benefits of all the hard work that’s gone into it in the past ten years. Thanks to its ability to host events such as conferences and weddings as well as catering to the booming sports sector - there are special facilities for groups of cyclists - it has extended its appeal way beyond the summer tourism market. 

Torre Del Mar continues to honour the all-important personal relationship with its guests which is its trademark. In practice, this has meant foregoing some of the changes that other hotels have incorporated to attract more customers. 

So, for example, it does not offer day passes, preferring to limit access to its superb amenities to staying guests. Similarly, although it does attract younger holidaymakers who want to be in the vicinity of Playa d'en Bossa’s mega clubs, its stipulation of a minimum four-night stay during the clubs opening and closing season ensures peace and quiet for those who wish to experience the “real” Ibiza.

Looking towards the next 50 years, the family has invested in state-of-the-art technology as part of its commitment to sustainability.

These forward-looking modifications have included installing solar panels on both the original and the new building, reutilising grey water and recycling the hot air generated by the air conditioning system to heat water. Further eco-improvements have involved sound-proofing and installing the latest low-consumption light fittings throughout. As Juana María remarks, it’s always a big source of satisfaction for the owners when they receive positive feedback about the latest changes from regular guests. 

We have been lucky to attend celebrations at Torre Del Mar before and they sure know how to throw a party! Plans for the anniversary celebrations in 2024 are still in the making. We cannot wait to find out what they have in store this time.

In many ways, representative of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in Playa d’en Bossa over the past 50 years, Torre Del Mar continues its unique journey as one of Ibiza’s truly iconic hotels. To sum up how the owners view the hotel now and its future, we'll give the last word to co-owner Rafa, “We feel like we’re riding the crest of the wave at the moment”.

Ibiza Spotlight wishes the hotel and its devoted team another 50 years of unbridled success creating happy holidays for its privileged guests. 

Head here for direct room reservations via the hotel's own website. Free spa is included for direct bookings only. 

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