Rooftop Nine, Seventh Heaven on Floor Five
- Words Nick Gibbs,
- José Padilla Photos Max Lawless, www.maxlawless.com
The bay of San Antonio is undergoing something of a rejuvenation. The 2016 season has brought considerable investment, but alongside it a good helping of style.
With the owners of what was a non-descript GPS hotel taking it through a reinvention to the much acclaimed Beach Star, and a few metres along the bay the destination of our visit tonight, what was the Pinet Playa hotel but now owned by Melia and rebranded as Sol House mixed by Ibiza rocks.
The partnership combines Melia’s corporate resources in the hotel sector and Ibiza Rocks‘ pedigree in providing the entertainment, plus their own very special something.
Rooftop Nine is, as the name suggests, on the rooftop of the hotel, however not as the name suggests it is actually on floor five. I mention this as it may save you the dithering I went through trying to find a number nine button in the lift and then looking for stairs upwards from floor five which of course do not exist. Despite my visit starting in this hopeless tourist fashion, the moment I stepped out onto the fabulous terrace I felt immediately at home.
This is no small feat on the part of Rooftop Nine. It is easy to create a high end bar with luxury trappings but much more difficult to make it feel accessible and not intimidating to those of us with more modest day-to-day aspirations.
To explain this, let us start at the beginning.
Rooftop Nine is open to all; you do not need to be resident in the hotel nor pre book for any particular events or functions. There is no charge for entry and everybody is welcome from its opening at 11am through the day and night.
All sunbeds and seating areas are open to all with no charge or minimum spend. The only exception is for the few Bali beds, but even there with a 60€ full day tariff and lots of goodies thrown in, it is a bargain in Ibiza’s world of beds.
The only caveat I would add to the refreshingly inclusive approach of Sol house is I would expect that in the not too distant future, it will have become so popular that they would have to restrict numbers in some way shape or form, but as Ben Hartmann, Rooftop Nine’s Promotion Manager and host for this evening told me, it was most unlikely that would need to happen in this, its first season.
Continuing on the ‘accessible to all’ front, the pricing at the bar and on the menu is extremely reasonable, and frankly way below that of what you can expect to pay in many similar venues. By example a white wine is 3.50€ and a pint of beer 5€.
The menu is exactly what you would want poolside. A range of international favourites but with that little extra pizzazz that comes with such a chic setting.
I particularly liked the look of the brisket of roast beef, roasted for a mouth-watering 12 hours and evidenced by the OMG reactions of those eating it close by. The menu is all about this slow roasting technique with only the salad not having a 6 or 12 hour roasting time shown on the menu.
Unfortunately tonight was not about the food, but we couldn’t consider ourselves hard done by as we had come along to see Ibiza’s Café del Mar sunset legend Jose Padilla play his weekly Tuesday night session.
This is where you have to start pinching yourself as it does all seem – in Ibiza terms – somehow too good to be true.
Prices you can afford, no VIP or entry restrictions, contemporary and comfortable surroundings and routinely not just any old DJ, but one of Ibiza’s true legends. And I haven’t even mentioned the infinity pool and spectacular 360 degree views of the entirety of San Antonio, the Bay and the surrounding countryside—which has never looked as good as it does up here. Come to think of it, even Ben is one of those chaps who is annoyingly handsome—and that is not something you will find me writing often, or as I recall ever.
So am I overstating it? Seriously no. I was expecting somewhere that I would consider fantastic for the upper end of our tourist visitors. but only for special celebration days for those of us earning a regular living. But it simply isn’t, it is somewhere that we residents will be very pleased to go any day of the week.
Talking of days and more specifically nights, Jose Padilla is not alone in big names on the Rooftop Nine decks.
During September History of House will be holding three more nights with no less than Elisabeth Troy of Clean Bandit heading the bill.
A regular event Thursdays is one of Ibiza’s most successful new parties for 2016 – Faction, who hold a mellowed out version of their night time parties during the day, and on Mondays Rooftop Nine’s resident DJ Camilo hosts their ‘Homies’ party which is also broadcast live on Sonica Radio from 4-6pm.
Showing the eclectic scope of their terrace – Thursday 25th they have the hugely popular Paco Fernandez and on September 8th in as opposite a direction as you could think to go they have Craig Charles.
In closing I can’t help feeling that towards the end of this season when the time becomes available for a leisurely afternoon on Rooftop Nine, I will regret having given this rave review. When I step out of the floor five lift and through the floor five door, like a local, only to find it already full of lots of other locals I’ll probably wish I’d kept it to myself. Actually forget everything I have said, er, Rooftop Nine, er, decidedly average, er, overpriced, er, and too VIP. Please don’t go.
Sorry, I can’t do it, please do go. It’s brilliant.