I’ve only ever been to Ibiza once before in my life – back in 2013 on a trip that was meant to be the last chance to try the nightlife before starting a family.
As it was, a few weeks after we booked our all inclusive hotel, Sarah found out she was pregnant and the holiday ended up being slightly less alcohol-inspired than was originally intended!
However, we did still manage to visit the awesome Space and Ushuaia, do a decent bit of dancing and bankrupt ourselves on €12 bottles of water!
This time around there was no intention of hitting the clubs – apart from perhaps the Kids’ Club as this holiday was very much Joshua-focused as we visited our fourth different First Choice Holiday Village. Since Joshua came along we’ve been to HV Kos, HV Cyprus and HV Montenegro, so how did HV Ibiza compare? Let’s find out…
Similar to our last trip to Ibiza, the flight out was at annoying o’clock in the evening and the flight back was at stupid o’clock at night. I guess they assume that if you visit Ibiza you can’t be trusted to wake up before mid-afternoon.
This meant that the flight out on the less-than-thrilling Titan Airways arrived in Ibiza at the family-unfriendly time of 11pm! By the time the transfer bus got us to the hotel it was 11.45pm and by the time the check-in staff crawled into action we finally made it to our room at just gone 1am.
The scene in Reception with a coach load of families trying to get a room to sleep in was probably in my top 5 least favourite holiday moments of all time. It was like a scene from Platoon with young bodies dropping to the floor all around us, and we were the lucky ones as a few people didn’t get a room until coming on for 3am!
HV Ibiza Tip 1 – when you exit the transfer bus at the hotel, run as fast as you can to Recpetion to get to the front of the queue. Sod your suitcases. Push other families to the floor if you need to. Buy new clothes if you need to. Just. Get. To. Reception.
Arriving to your room at 1am with a 4-year-old crying and screaming that they hate Ibiza and want to go home for a solid 30 minutes is not the one. I’m getting flashbacks and cold sweats just thinking about it…
The room itself was fine. We were in a family room in Sunflower Block with a pretty lush sea view. There was a main bedroom area, and then a second bedroom area behind some sliding doors with the balcony on the other side of that.
There was also a random kitchen area, in case you decided that after spunking your yearly salary on an all inclusive holiday that you’d actually rather spend your time in your room cooking a casserole. Useful for warming up / sterilising bottles though I guess, albeit those days are fortunately a long way behind us.
The bathroom was perfectly pleasant with a shower bath arrangement, a sink and a toilet. No toilet brush, randomly, but all good apart from that.
The beds were a bit naff, I thought. Joshua’s room had a sofa and then a fold-up bed wedged next to it. I guess the theory being that you could put the bed down each morning and use the room as a lounge, but we were about as far away from being arsed to do that as is humanly possible.
The bed in the main room was unfortunately two single beds pushed together. I guess the assumption being that if you’re a family with kids the idea of doing anything together in a double bed is so far from your mind that you’d rather keep your distance from each other.
It wasn’t even two single beds pushed together with a king-size set of bedding. It was literally two completely separate single beds with their own separate bedding, thus ensuring a minimum of 50cm of separation at all times.
The room was cleaned every day apart from Thursdays. I assume people in Ibizan hotels don’t make any mess on Wednesdays, which was certainly true in our case given we’d only been in the room since 1am! The cleaners made the beds and had a quick sweep around but don’t expect spotless floors or towels folded into wild animals. Or glasses being cleaned / removed.
The Pools & Water Park
One of the main reasons we went for HV Ibiza this year was because of the water park, which is part of the hotel complex and shared with the hotel next door. We really enjoyed it in there and they had a splash pool for younger children plus a decent range of slides for the older ones. There were also a few massive slides for teenagers / adults etc so plenty to keep you occupied for an hour or so.
The only drawback of the water park was that you can’t take drinks or food in with you and you also can’t buy alcohol in there. Whereas in HV Cyprus you could stand in the pool for hours with brightly-coloured cocktails watching your little one plummet down the slides and shouting encouraging words, in HV Ibiza it’s very much the case of going in there, having a go on the slides and heading out again. Unless you don’t like to drink alcohol or eat food on your holidays in which case you’re golden…
HV Ibiza Tip 2 – Take a hip flask with you if you feel the need for booze whilst in the water Park!
The pools were very nice across the complex, albeit testicle-shatteringly chilly at times. I’m sure they’ll be warmer later in the year, and to be fair they were OK after a few minutes spent catching your breath, but warm they were most definitely not!
There was a main pool area, split into different sections, with quite a decent amount of shallow areas for young ones. There was also a separate infinity pool at the edge of the complex which was gorgeous, but colder than a snowman’s extremities. It played chilled-out dance music throughout the day and had bloody lovely views of the sunset in the evenings. It even hosted two mermaids on Monday evenings from 830pm which provided top quality photographic opportunities.
HV Ibiza Tip 3 – Go visit the mermaids at the Infinity Pool, who seemed equally popular with children and adult males alike. And see the sunsets too. Maybe do both at once. Treat yourself.
The Infinity Pool even sells proper cocktails in the evenings in proper glasses, rather than plastic cups of pre-prepared goo. You have to pay for them, unfortunately, but they looked nice. Alternatively you can bring your freebie cocktails with you from the other bars.
HV Ibiza Tip 4 – Buy one round of proper cocktails and photograph them so you look cool on social media. Then bring your freebie cocktails with you from the other bars for the rest of the evening.
If you have the urge to reserve sunloungers at the crack of dawn, and then return to your room for a few hours kip you’ll find on your return that your towels will have been removed as reservations pre-8am aren’t allowed. We didn’t have too much of a problem getting 3 sunloungers together, so as long as you don’t have a massive obsession with lying within pissing distance of the pool you should be OK after a bit of a search.
Unlike HV Montenegro last year, the umbrellas actually stay attached to the ground too, so that’s a definite bonus, especially if being twatted in the face with a brolly isn’t on your bucket list.
Food & Drink
If you were to believe a lot of people on the HV Ibiza Facebook Page the food is similar to digesting luke-warm roadkill. Personally we found it to be OK.
I mean, Michelen-starred it definitely isn’t but we found the choice to be fine and it was generally well-cooked and warm. The main gripe we had was the bloody queues for it!
Fortunately the hotel caters primarily for Brits, so we are pretty accustomed to queuing for any old shit already. But Jeeeeeeeeez, the queue for every section definitely does your head in after a while. There’s a ‘show kitchen’ area where some bloke carves up some stuff in front of you but if you’re expecting Toby Carvery speed of chopping you’re in for a rough ride…
HV Ibiza Tip 5 – Take it in turns to queue up on behalf of your whole group. You might get some dirty looks when you grab the last 3 lumps of the painfully-slowly-hacked-up meat product that awaits you, but it’ll be worth it.
They have a Russel’s Patch area where kids can pick up colourful trays and cutlery and some children’s food options and Joshua loved going there every day because it reminded him of school. The choice there was OK too.
There’s also a range of pizzas each day, along with some main meal options, lots of salad things, pasta and stir fry stuff so the restaurant is probably a 6 out of 10 overall.
Breakfast options aren’t bad and they have a nice omelette bar which I went to a few times. If you like a full English whilst on holiday you’ll be OK too as they have the full range of stuff there, although the bacon seemed to alternate between traditional yummy British bacon and some kind of cremated slice of fat.
The main problem with the restaurant apart from the queues is the noise. It’s like having 1000 people shouting at you for 30 minutes, so it’s not what you’d describe as a relaxing dining experience.
HV Ibiza Tip 6 – There is an outside eating area with about 30 tables so head straight there for every meal. It’s got lovely views, you can have a conversation and you can pretend you’re not sitting in an average restaurant with 1000 arguing strangers and their children.
Unfortunately getting served alcohol whilst in the restaurant is like waking the dead. There are no self-serve wine and beer like in every other HV we’ve been too and there is no one at the serving stations to serve you unless someone happens to be walking past.
HV Ibiza Tip 7 – Take drinks into the restaurant with you if you fancy a glass of wine with your meal!
There are 3 speciality restaurants at the hotel, Italian, Grill and American Diner. They’re probably lovely but we left it too late to book them.
HV Ibiza Tip 8 – If you fancy visiting a speciality restaurant book it as soon as you arrive. Ideally book it before you arrive. In fact, book it now.
Drink across the resort were actually pretty decent with soft drinks all being branded and cocktails being fairly pleasant, albeit pre-mixed from a machine and only a choice of 5 on the all inclusive.
I developed a taste for slushies with vodka, which are stronger than rocket fuel and definitely recommended.
Wine was OK too, and they do a sparkly Cava thing on the AI too, so no complaints from us there.
The selection of ice creams on the AI was also pretty good with two types of lollies, 3 flavours of Cornetto and a Magnum type chocolate and vanilla thing. Yum!
It’s sad, I know, but I love the entertainment at Holiday Villages. Last year was the first year we really got involved with it, but Joshua insisted on going to bed early last year. Rude.
This year he was much more ready to stay up to the bitter end so we got to see a lot more!
In the evenings it all starts with The Widgets at 730pm, followed by Live & Loud at 8pm. The Widgets are furry things that go on adventures and teach your kids stuff along the way. You can also buy cuddly versions of them for £12 a pop, which your child will insist on you purchasing one of each of.
Live & Loud is a sort of game show thing for kids where you all earn points for dancing and taking part in games and stuff. If you all earn over 10,000 points from Wednesday to Monday there’s a party to celebrate on the Tuesday evening. It’s all very jolly and pleasant and we genuinely enjoy watching it each year. Joshua loves it too fortunately, and there are a variety of songs you can all dance along to which have special moves.
Joshua decided this year that his ‘stage’ was a tree with a wall around it so he was up there pretty much all evening every evening dancing away.
After Live & Loud there was some kind of show each night, such as an Olly Murs evening, or classics from the last 20 years and a magic / R&B classics type show. The entertainment team were excellent with Liam, Shaun, Jordan, Charlotte and Carl being the main stars. All very talented, and friendly and exactly what you’d expect from HV entertainers. Really, really good.
They even arranged for Joshua to go up on stage for his birthday and to get a certificate so he loved that.
There are a few different sessions on each day for each age group, much like every other HV location. Sessions are free, apart from a few parties which you have to pay for and are much longer than the standard 1hr 30mins.
Joshua loved Kids’ Club last year but this year only went to one session, which was a shame! He very much enjoyed the one he did go to, so no idea why he didn’t want to go to any more sessions after that. All staff are fully-qualified UK staff, and it’s a very professional, safe environment. Age groups are 3-5, 6-9 and then 10+ I think and there’s also a paid creche there so there’s plenty on offer.
There are also the Swimming and Football Academies which you book and pay for in advance and were very popular. There’s also a Stage School during the busier months, an aerial course and an Escape Room so there really is lots to keep the family busy.
Local Area & Beaches
There is a really nice little beach just outside the hotel, which is a couple of minutes’ walk. Nice and sandy and with a couple of lovely beachside restaurants. There were quite a few jellyfish knocking around though, so it’s worth watching out for them when you’re dipping your feet in the sea!
There’s also a few shops just over the road for essentials and you can also walk to San Antonio Bay which is about 20 minutes away as you turn left out of the hotel. There you’ll find loads of bars and restaurants and another slightly less nice beach.
You can also get a taxi boat across to the main San Antonio which is popular with younger tourists for the big clubs etc but also good for a bit of sunset action with a few cocktails in places like Cafe Mambo and Cafe Del Mar, if you feel so inclined.
All in all we had a lovely time at HV Ibiza, despite a couple of days of rain. What the place lacked in cuisine and modern rooms it more than makes up for in location, the water park, the beach and the views.
It’s much more suitable for 5-10 year olds than HV Montenegro and much better for beaches than HV Cyprus and HV Kos. However, Kos and Cyprus were better for food and the actual look of the complex itself and Montenegro was obviously a lot more modern and fresher.
With a bit of a freshen up and better food, HV Ibiza would be awesome, but as it is it’s still well worth a visit, especially if you already love Ibiza.
Now, where shall we try next year…