House Hunter: I want countryside not clubs in Ibiza

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THE PROBLEM

Adrian Tucker writes: "After many years in business, I'm now in the fortunate position of being able to buy a second home. While I was once a party animal and preferred clubbing to working, I was considering Mallorca but haven't found the perfect house and lately have been thinking about concentrating on Ibiza where I enjoyed several holidays. Ibiza certainly has a reputation for attracting glamorous celebrities but I wonder if this has driven up prices?

I vividly remember that the island had a special atmosphere all of its own but I am wondering if it has been spoiled by its reputation in recent years as a place for the young who want to hang out in nightclubs? I would appreciate some advice as to which areas to target to find a typical country house in a rural position and also which areas have suffered from over-development - so that I can be sure to avoid them.

While I want a location which is reasonably secluded, at the same time I don't want to be based anywhere too remote. My children are young now but I'm sure they will appreciate being able to have some independence and enjoy themselves when they are older so it's important to not be too far away from the action. It's important to be near a year-round resort; I'd hate to be somewhere which closed down for the winter.

As for the property itself I don't have any fixed ideas, but I remember some wonderful cubist-looking buildings from my past visits. As I am keen to let the property, it would be great to find somewhere that has separate guest accommodation so that we could have holiday tenants in part of the property while still enjoying being there ourselves."

THE ADVICE

"The special thing about Ibiza is that, unlike Mallorca, which mainly appeals to German and British buyers, Ibiza is popular with everyone. We get British, German, French, Italian, and of course Spanish buyers, which gives the island a truly cosmopolitan feel. British buyers of course know the island as a party place, they have heard all about the nightclubs which are of course world renowned, yet Ibiza is also a great place to relax and enjoy a quiet life. We have over seventy beaches on the island, and there are still unspoilt inland rural areas.

To find a typical farmhouse it's probably best to look inland, to the centre of the island and particularly around San Juan and San Carlos. In both of these areas you get a sense of what the island was like 20 years ago; there are still hippies living here who've been here since the Seventies. As well as a broad mix of nationalities, you get many people from what I'd call creative backgrounds such as Adrian, who's in advertising, buying here; we also get people from the fashion and music industry, they all love this place. Some are buying for second-home use, others are buying here to live here permanently. Buyers like the fact that there's none of the formality you find in some places in Mallorca: you won't need to wear a jacket and tie in any of the restaurants.

As for areas to avoid, I'd say that maybe San Antonio is now too over-developed. It's become known for attracting the British on all-inclusive holidays so I'd head for Santa Eulalia, which still has nice surrounding areas. Ibiza hasn't really suffered too badly from over- development, you don't get the huge urbanisations with identical properties which are springing up on the Spanish mainland. Even on developments the houses are all different and perhaps that's because of the spirit of Ibiza.

Adrian could do well with renting out his property, as rental values are on a par with Madrid, the highest in Spain. In the peak summer season months of July and August a nice house with pool could rent easily for €200 (£133) per day. Here are three fairly typical properties in areas which may suit Adrian; they are all in the good locations I've mentioned."

Florian Fischer heads Engel & Völkers' Ibiza office: 00 34 971 311 336 or London +44 (0)20 7590 3170. email: Ibiza@engelvoelkers.com

THE SOLUTION

Property one: Finca style in Santa Eulalia.

Price: £469,000.

Agent's details: A charming, three-bedroom house centrally located between Santa Eulalia and Ibiza Town. The spacious living and dining area has an American kitchen and open fireplace. There is a landscaped inner courtyard with pool area, perfect for relaxing and sunbathing, plus a stable block. Guests can stay in the separate apartment with its own entrance.

Property two: typical farmhouse in San Jose, Cala Jondal.

Price: £529,300.

Agent's details: This enchanting country house, lovingly restored with great attention to detail, is located close to the popular Cala Jondal bay well known for its restaurants and beaches. The house features a spacious dining area with open plan kitchen and salon with an open fireplace. Separate from the main house is a cosy guesthouse, which has a private bathroom and small kitchen.

Property three: Grand villa near San Carlos.

Price: Prices from £502,500.

Agent's details: This enchanting five-bedroom villa, completed in 1996, provides the highest levels of comfort and luxury including air-conditioning and central heating. On the ground floor there is a spacious living/dining room with kitchen and two bedrooms with a bathroom each. An elegant tower accommodates a bedroom with bathroom. Outside stairs lead to a generous pool.

THE VERDICT

"I'm glad to hear that Ibiza still has that something special. The atmosphere is, I remember, like no other and it would be wonderful to spend long periods there. I don't mind being inland as the coast is always within fairly easy reach if you're driving, although I suspect the nearer you are to the beach the easier it would be to let. I like the idea of the grand villa which, despite being fairly new, sounds like it has an interesting feature in its 'quirky tower'. Property one sounds good as it has separate accommodation for guests which perhaps could be rented separately long term. The country house also sounds like it has a wonderful location in the middle of pine forests and near a well known bay. My next step really has to be a visit to the island to find out more."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail with full details: househunter@independent.co.uk

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