Tagomago Private Island, Ibiza
12 November, 2018
Even among wizened Ibiza old-timers and locals, the off-shore outpost of Tagomago holds a mysterious allure. In the days leading up to our stay on this fabled private isle, whenever I mention my destination I get the same raised eyebrow and hushed "really??" in response. And with good reason. Other than an ill-fated branch of famed local restaurant El Chiringuito, which used to cling to the rocks but has since closed down, Tagomago is off-limits to everyone except the odd researcher or student group - and of course, guests of the sole villa that sits atop it.
After being picked up from the airport and driven far away from the busy beaches and bar-lined streets of Ibiza's resort towns, we find our speedboat waiting for us at Cala Mastella, a twinkly turquoise cove fringed with paint-peeling boathouses and the location of the charming El Bigote restaurant. A five-minute zoom across the waves later and we alight on the surprisingly large Tagomago, where we follow the curious sound of disco music to the billowing curtains and caster-sugar-white stone of our villa. There's an element of it's all Gone Pete Tong to the beefed-up 'beefa interiors - think animal-skin rugs, long white curtains and expensive artwork - that might not be to everyone's taste, but which we secretly love, relishing the chance to channel our inner superstar DJ (fun fact: Justin Bieber and Liz Hurley have both stayed here, although when we ask for Biebs' bed we are met with only a wry laugh). We spend many hours pretending to be similarly A-list while soaking up the sunshine on one of the numerous shuttered daybeds by the pool or on the roof and feasting on fresh, delicious fare whipped up by the private chef.
However, the star feature here is the villa's seclusion and its proximity to nature. One afternoon we take a speedboat trip around its rocky outcrops as the sun sets, painting the cliffs a shade of perfect peach, before driving up to the 1909 lighthouse to witness the sun sink behind the navy horizon, streaking the sky rose and lilac. Unlike Ibiza mainland, nights are unbroken by the caterwauling of drunken revellers (other than one impromptu burst of The Lion King throughout the villa's linked-up sound-system after too much complimentary rioja) and the days start with a swim in the clear waters at the bay. Diving and fishing expeditions can also be arranged, as well as yoga, spa treatments and (we get the feeling) almost anything else you care to mention.
There are five bedrooms in total, four of which have floor-to-ceiling views to the wide, glassy sea outside. The look is almost identical - charcoal-tiled floors, all-white walls, fluffy cushions - but with a different accent colour in each and variously sized bathrooms. We stayed in the "red room" at the tip of the villa, which had sliding doors on to the terrace and a huge bathroom with Bulgari toiletries and the biggest towels we've ever seen.
What's for breakfast?
Whatever you want - the villa comes with a private chef who'll make anything from a simple bowl of granola to eggs benny or a continental spread.
How about lunch and dinner?
Again, it's completely up to you whether you want something light and lean, a casual barbecue or a total blowout banquet. Alternatively, we'd recommend at least one long, rosé-soaked lunch at rustic waterfront restaurant El Bigote on nearby Cala Mastella (if you can nab a table, that is).
Is there a bar?
A stay comes complete with an unlimited selection of house wine, beer, champagne and spirits, so the only challenge is knowing when to say no. We went from champagne by the lighthouse to G&Ts by the pool and wine at dinner (the line was probably somewhere around the third glass of fizz).
If all of the above isn't enough for you, certain packages also include the use of the island's own 33-metre Mangusta yacht so you can live out your hip-hop video fantasies.
Things I should know
If you want to party, it's not impossible but does require a little bit of planning to organise your boat (or helicopter if you're feeling particularly bling-y) to Ibiza proper. We'd probably take advantage of the island location to completely zen out post-hedonism.
Within a short walk I can find…
You're in the middle of a nature reserve, so when you've had your fill of high-octane glamour a sense of true tranquillity is just a short stroll across the rocks away. There are also several running trails for those who don't want to let their normal routine slide and you can organise trips by boat to the mainland or Formentera (about a 30-minute trip).