The island has always been a big of an enigma for many - (is it in the Canaries? can you even stay the night there?) - which has handily kept it relatively crowd-free for its aficionados. Only accessible via quick ferry from Ibiza, the lack of an airport has kept development low. Admittedly more is being built, but it’s all relative to what was there before (not much) and the paradisaical feel of the island endures away from the port.
The hotel at Gecko is a refurbishment of a previously unlovely hotel, and traces of the quite ugly or should I say functional, building remain. The beauty is in the public space. The restaurant and veranda look onto beautiful gardens, now replete with a pool and pool bar, and the sea is all of ten steps away. The furniture is designed for lounging, and the Ibicencan ethno-lite chill out music emanating from hidden speakers in the greenery creates a genuine calm.
It’s completely unforced and the concept of having nothing to do except relax and live your days slowly eventually does permeate this itchy city-dweller. I usually take about four days to forget work and genuinely kick back, but at Gecko it happens within the hour.
The bar and restaurant area cater for refined tastes (the wine list is quite something) but are also completely unpretentious. On the particular day below, the chicken Caesar salad and spaghetti pomodoro were exactly what the doctor ordered, but cuisine ranges from some Med-Asian fusion (I know, but it’s actually very good) to burgers and club sandwiches. Cocktails are camp, kitsch and ridiculous, exactly what you want from a beach club.
Everything is engineered so that you don’t need to leave, and you really don’t except when it comes to beach time. The Migjorn Beach sweeps along Formentera’s south coast, but the particular strip by Gecko isn’t the best bit. There is a boardwalk which leads to a fantastic beer and pizza shack along the beach, but the best part is much further east, close to Flipper & Chiller – a showy beach bar.
Or even better, head to Ses Illetes at the north of the island (about a ten minute drive from Gecko) and you could be rewarded with scenes like this, with water so perfect and clear, you can hardly believe it was a two hour flight, rather than twelve.
Gecko’s rooms aren’t the most exciting, they’re functional and lacking a little in flair but with the superb lounging space and Formentera’s pine-scented landscape and coastline, it doesn’t matter one bit.