not just the cost of living crisis we have to worry about –
the cost of sliving has never been higher.
Never heard the word? For the uninitiated, “sliving” is a term
coined in 2019 by business mogul and one-time resident DJ at
Ibiza’s Amnesia nightclub Paris Hilton; it’s
“slaying mixed with living”, to quote the queen herself. You’d use
it to say you’re living your best life. I’m talking well-deserved
holidays, hard-earned bottles of premium spirits, raucous nights
out in world-class nightclubs and exquisite meals, paid for with
the simple tap of a card with not so much as a backwards glance.
But with the price of life’s bare necessities on a steep incline,
we’re all being forced to think outside the box when it comes to
how we might most cost-efficiently “slive” in 2022 and beyond.
It’s why I recently started to reconsider the notion of the
so-called package holiday. These days, the term doesn’t conjure the
most… chic of images. Beige dinners courtesy of an all-inclusive
deal, a block of over 100 uniformed terracotta apartments to let, a
pamphlet listing reduced-price tickets to theme parks and
swimming-with-dolphins experiences all immediately spring to mind.
Not chic. But what if I told you I’d discovered a new, updated
twist on the package holiday, tailor-made for the culture-loving,
party-going modern traveller?
Eclectic conversations happen both in sessions, left, and by
Step in, the Beat Hotel, a holiday promising a distinctly different
sort of “package” that’s a far cry from the hellscape of bus trips
and pool Pilates. This self-described “roaming event” first found
its feet at Glastonbury Festival over a decade ago. Since then, the
concept has travelled to various locations across the globe. This
year, it landed for a week-long, cross-island experience in
OK, so admittedly it’s not quite the whole package. You have to
sort your own flights (boo) and there is no literal
bricks-and-mortar “hotel” in which to seek overnight shelter
(instead, Beat has relationships with island stays, offering
bookings at reduced rates), but hear me out. This is a holiday that
requires almost no forward-thinking; the kind folk behind it have
carefully curated a bespoke itinerary bursting with all the best of
island life, amalgamating classic Balearic club extravaganzas with
a schedule of wonderfully wacky speaker events and tranquil
wellness experiences. It’s a build-your-own-bear proposal; tickets
are available to purchase either per session or as day passes,
meaning you needn’t commit to events that seem less to your taste
(although I’d say take an open mind – my favourite experiences were
had at sessions I ordinarily wouldn’t have looked twice at on the
schedule of an English festival).
Beat travellers can mix-and-match nightlife events with lux
Touching down on the White Isle in late-September of this year,
ready for a multisensory immersion in Ibiza life, my seven-day
itinerary was already well populated. By day, I found myself
joining psychedelic sound meditation sessions (dutifully guided by
Valentina Olper, a psychotherapist and sound healer there to help
us explore the depths of our own mind) and getting involved in a
discussion on the history of the foghorn (hosted by author Jennifer
Lucy Allan, a bona fide expert on foghorns and other esoteric
sounds). Other sessions sought to pull back the curtain on the
mystical worlds of lucid dreaming and tarot card reading. Most took
place poolside at a secret villa nestled between hills on the north
of the island, and I opted to enjoy them with a complimentary
tequila cocktail in hand – we were still in Ibiza, after all.
The island’s young, pierced and scantily clad queer population mingled harmoniously with Ibiza veterans
In essence, the Beat Hotel offers all the luxurious trimmings of
a premium stay without the confining four walls of an actual hotel.
Peckish? The hotel “restaurant” provides numerous pop-up dining
experiences in some of the island’s most beautiful restaurants, from Balearic lunches served up at
the HQ villa, to once-in-a-lifetime culinary collaborations between
London’s gold-tier restaurants and Ibizan institutions (or twice in
a lifetime, in the case of trendy London tapas restaurant
Barrafina’s two-evening residency in Hostal La Torre’s mesmerising
clifftop restaurant). There’s no buffet table or inclusive-only
drinks list in sight; instead, I found myself feasting on an
eight-course tasting menu cooked up by the team behind Hackney
Wick’s Michelin-starred Cornerstone restaurant as they took over
the rooftop at Ibiza Town’s Montesol. Squid ink cacio e pepe, steak
tartare, cured bream, and oysters served with a seaweed hot sauce –
a menu Paris Hilton herself wouldn’t turn her nose up at.
To unwind, I booked in for a jam-packed schedule of nighttime
events, including club takeovers and sets from world-class DJs,
across a selection of quintessential Ibiza venues and
under-the-radar locations I might not otherwise have stumbled upon.
One night, I’d be enjoying ambient back-to-back sets from the likes
of Andy Wilson, Cici and Willie Graff; the next, I’d be dancing
poolside at the iconic Pikes, enjoying 11am-to-early-hours
performances by Bradley Zero, Raw Silk and Sun Junkie.
The Beat Hotel offers a quintessential White Isle
The crowning jewel in the hotel’s itinerary fell on the Thursday
night of my visit, which boasted not one, but two performances from
one of dance music’s most beguiling forces, Róisín Murphy. The
Irish songstress brought her unique disco stylings to a free,
open-air gig in Las Dalias, before later performing a more intimate
set inside the venue’s club space, Akasha. Murphy attracted a
diverse crowd that only she could be responsible for: the island’s
young, pierced and scantily clad queer population mingled
harmoniously with Ibiza veterans, everyone equally starry-eyed over
the singer’s singular stage presence and amapiano-esque renditions
of her catalogue of hits.
Perhaps the best act on Beat Hotel’s line-up, though, was the
crowd. As a solo traveller, I needn’t have worried about making
friends. We were a diverse group of holidayers, connected only by
involvement in this transient island experience. People of all
ages, nationalities and backgrounds converged, letting inhibitions
go. I had original conversations with folk I, a 27-year-old Irish
journalist, would likely never otherwise have crossed paths with.
Idly threading water in the villa pool with a mid-30s Gibraltarian
solicitor and a Birmingham-born Ibiza regular in his mid-50s, I
fell into a conversation reflecting on a recently experienced tarot
card reading by the eccentric novelist David Keenan. Someone
referenced the writer’s comment that anyone can learn to read
tarot; that there’s no psychic ability required. The cards are not
designed to predict your future, he’d argued, but rather to help
you see what might be holding you back in your present. “Sure,” I
agreed. “I mean, it’s not magic.”
“Well, but it is,” my new Brummie friend countered. “The magic
comes from within you, to make the change in your life afterwards,”
he posited, before taking a final sip of his mango and chilli
margarita, diving underwater and emerging out of the other side of
the pool, leaving the remaining pair of us to ponder his words.
Travellers have access to iconic music venues across the
That the Beat Hotel organisers also tended to favour smaller,
intimate venues just slightly off the beaten track helps show a
different side to the island, too. Put it this way, you’re not
likely to encounter a sunburnt 18-year-old pushing wristbands to
any of these events on the strip.
This isn’t a full-whack, all-inclusive week in Marbella, bar
crawl included. It’s no flop-and-fly. There are a few (simplified)
sums required to work out what you’re wanting to pay for, with
events varying in price. Some are free, like the open-air Róisín
Murphy concert, and others can cost up to £80-odd. Plus, you have
to pay separately for your (discounted) accommodation and flights.
Villa day passes – purchased for £22 – offer the closest you can
get to the all-inclusive experience, providing access to both
morning and afternoon sessions, plus lunch and a cocktail. But in
some ways, this still feels like a package. It’s more the spirit of
an all-inclusive that I found in the Beat Hotel. It was an
experiential introduction to island life; a way to encounter the
sequin-stitched facets of the Ibiza experience that I otherwise
might have missed. And anyway, there will always be additional
drinks to be bought. Ibiza is a notoriously pricey destination, so
I can’t promise you’ll return home with a bulging wallet after a
week of fine dining and clubbing till the early hours, but hey, we
can just put that down to the cost of sliving.
(including lunch and a cocktail) start from £22. Additional
individual events, including wellness sessions, cost from £13.
Accommodation at Las Mimosa and La Torre is available with a 20 per
cent discount for Beat Hotel attendees. beat-hotel.com