Ocean Drive was Ibiza’s first boutique hotel and remains one of the most innovative hotels on the island to this day. Situated in Botafoch Marina, enjoying stunning views out to sea, across the Marina and over to Dalt Villa in Ibiza Town, it is one of the island’s most popular stopping points. It attracts the educated traveller as well as its fair share of international DJs who love the hotels attention to detail and rare understanding of technology, which makes their life so much easier. Essentialibiza caught up with Enrique on the roof terrace of Ocean Drive to get an idea of what makes this stunning hotel tick…
What made you decide to open a boutique 12 years ago when there were none on the island?
When we opened Ocean Drive 12 years ago all the investors said it was ridiculous opening a design hotel here on the island because size wise, season wise and time wise it didn’t make any sense. But at that time the president of design hotel was a very good friend of the one that built the hotel and he was interested in building it up and giving it a certain spirit. The old owner was a good friend of Sven Vath and he said that Cocoon was coming to the island as well at this time so they said lets build it up together. Cocoon was one of the first clients, they were very supportive and a lot of the DJs started using the hotel, which is still the same today. There was a certain USP that the hotel found and it actually worked so well.
Ocean Drive is famous for providing a home from home for many of the island’s big DJs?
Yes, we sometimes wonder did the big DJs start Ocean drive or did Ocean Drive start the big DJs. When you think of all the big names now in Ibiza DJs such as Sven Vath, Carl Cox, Paul van Dyk, all of those started their parties around that time and as there was nothing else like us at that time they all stayed with us. It started really small but it worked well and we grew a lot.
What makes the hotel so popular within the DJ community?
First of all because we know them all. In the music industry they travel a lot, every day you are going to a different destination and seeing different people, staying in different hotels but your needs stay the same. We made some adjustments to meet their schedules, breakfast is until 4PM, there are almost no check in or check out times because some of them will not get in until very early and so we let them sleep. We have cooperation with Pioneer so they have their music equipment as they would have it in the club in their room so a lot of these small details add up to making their stay enjoyable for them. A lot of them of course are coming up to 20 times minimal to the hotel a season and some of them on their travel schedule stay two nights, so you have them 40 nights in a three month period, which is probably as much as they see their family during this time. We have an intimate relationship with these clients. Danny Tenaglia did a song called ‘The Ocean Drive’, which is quite famous. It’s funny you see them in the lobby and there’s the DJ from Pacha, one from Space, from Privilege and Amnesia and they all know each other and they arrange to work together or swap tunes, there’s a real community feeling around them. Some of them, the really big names, have gone to other of the nice hotels on the island but sooner or later they all come back because they know we have a special understanding of their needs.
Is it this attention to detail that sets you apart from your competition?
We do like to make sure we have every detail taken care of; it’s not just CRM or customer relation management but I think now that people like to feel like a real friend, they don’t want to feel at home and definitely don’t want to be at home but as a client they appreciate being treated as a real friend. Keeping this tiny little difference between client and friend, calling them with respect and valuing their profession, if you call them with respect and say I am sorry, I know you played late last night but we really need the room at three, at least now they understand that you value their profession. In other hotels they have to be out of the room by midday and there is no discretion showed for what they do.
How would you describe a typical Ocean Drive client?
DJs are one of our clients but we couldn’t survive with just the DJs. Our normal client would be 32 – 45, well educated traveller, mainly from Europe and someone that comes to Ibiza to enjoy the variety of experiences that it offers, from the beach to nightclubs to nice restaurants. They enjoy the flexibility that we offer and they know exactly what they want from their holiday. They go one day to Yemanja, they go one day to Es Cavallet and they go another day to Cala Basa, they are people that like to have a nice table at a restaurant after their day on the beach. They are, as I said, educated travellers.
Do you find not having a pool is a disadvantage to you?
No we don’t find that. A lot of people do enquire if we have a pool and I tell them that it cost us a fortune to build the sea on the back of the hotel. A lot of people definitely want a pool but our hotel is full anyhow, we are running with a fantastic occupancy, we have a lot of super loyal clients. Of course having a pool would have its advantages but also it would take a lot of maintenance as well and I think with our level of service that we provide to our clients we never have someone not enjoy their stay with us and more often than not come back again. We like to promote that we are a city hotel in a vacational destination. It is clearly marketed and people clearly know that there is no pool when they book, it may be a disadvantage but I don’t think so, we couldn’t fit any more people into the hotel. In Ibiza the sea is the most beautiful thing that you can have, there are so many beautiful beaches and our clients are so well educated on where to go, we don’t have a problem without the pool.
As the first boutique hotel on the island how aware are you of having to constantly improve to stay ahead of the other boutique hotels that are now appearing all over the island?
I think we are doing fantastically well, of course we can always do better, if you don’t always think that you could do more then sooner or later you will disappear. We are doing a good job, there are always new ideas for improving the attention and the service and every year you have to develop. In general I think we always find at the end of the season that there are things that we would change, for next year we already have a list of things that we think we can improve.
As a technologically aware hotel, is it difficult keeping up with new developments?
It can be, we always like to keep up with developments in technology and make sure our guests have everything they need and especially with our clients, they always keep us informed if there is new technology that we haven’t picked up on yet, whether its communication tools or internet service that we can improve, not only us as a hotel but Ibiza as an island can improve to provide a level of service to the general traveller that they have come to expect.
How much does your location help market your hotel?
Of course, we, as with all the major players around the world are acutely aware of the importance of location, you only become a major player if you have the right location. Location is definitely the key but it counts for very little if you don’t follow that up with a level of service so I think now you always have to be smart. All the hotels on this area are doing very well and they all have different positives, we may not have the pool as we talked about earlier but we have this location and we have a stunning rooftop terrace which allows our clients to look over to Ibiza Town or out to sea or across the marina. You can always admire what you have but never take it for granted.