60 Seconds with Gella, owner Blue Marlin
After discovering Ibiza on holiday in the late eighties, Dutchman Gella entered into a love affair with the island that has lasted 25 years so far, resulting in numerous return holidays before he eventually built a home and launched Blue Marlin, the pioneering VIP beach resort that has seen a slew of imitators pop up across the island, creating Ibiza’s hugely popular beach resort culture. Essential Ibiza takes him up on an invitation to chill out amongst his beautiful clientele, grab some delicious food and shoot the breeze
How did you end up in Ibiza?
I visited Ibiza the first time with some friends from Liverpool in 1987 and visited every year since on holiday. I eventually bought a piece of land here in 1996 and built my house and ten years after that I started this place (Blue Marlin). I’ve been on the island for 25 years.
Where did the inspiration for Blue Marlin come from?
I think I’m an entertainer, I like to entertain people and over the years I think I have become quite good at it. There was nothing like this on the island before, the beach places had plastic chairs and table outside, like anywhere else. We changed the way people can enjoy the sun and the people that visit Ibiza are getting a little bit more high end. The only thing that I do is offer something to my guests that I would expect myself, it’s not a very special thing.
Given Ibiza’s history and relationship with VIP’s, it’s strange that this concept has only just taken off.
It is strange that no one has tried this before but of course, now there are a few more places on the island along the same lines. I don’t mind that we have been copied, as long as we stay on top of them. Coca Cola has been copied numerous times and in the end, there’s still only one Coca Cola.
How do you stay on top of your competition?
To be on top of it every day with my team. I have a great management team, with Giorgio and Mattias, and we are busy making sure we get better every day and we never stop, we’re never satisfied. We can always get better.
What makes a potential Blue Marlin employee?
I look for hard workers with an eye for details; people who are aware of their duties but also aware of what is going on around them, not to go blindly from the kitchen to a table and back ignoring everything else around them, they need to be aware of all the guests and react to their needs accordingly. I like to work with the staff and get involved in everything, not to be the big boss but to be part of the team.
What kind of parties do you host in Blue Marlin?
On Sundays we host live events, they start around seven o’clock, ranging from hip-hop bands to flamenco music and then after the live music we throw some DJs. Before I was doing Blue Marlin I was in the record industry, I had a couple of labels in Amsterdam so I have some very good connections, I know all the guys.
Who is the most famous person you’ve had lying on a bed?
That’s a difficult one because everyone has been down here now, Sylvester Stallone, Lewis Hamilton, all the football players fro Germany and England, Ruud Gullit, the rest of the Dutch ones always here, Tim Burton Leonardo DiCaprio.
Blue Marlin is popular with celebrities from various scenes; from sport to movies, that must be very satisfying for you?
It is very satisfying, we also get a lot of celebrities from the states; LA and New York, also from many of the big European cities, they come from everywhere. I think also Prince William was here a year or two ago.
Did you have to close the bar to accommodate royalty?
No, the good thing about this place is that no one gets bothered; people can come here, relax and not be interrupted or have their photograph taken. If a famous person goes into a normal Ibiza restaurant, it can be like everywhere else, they might get bothered for an autograph but here; they are left in peace to enjoy themselves.
What do you do to relax?
That’s a good question; it has been very difficult for me in the last four years to be relaxed, now this year, when I see that everything is organised and in control, I go to my house and relax by the pool or I take the boat out and go to Formentera and of course I still enjoy a little bit of clubbing at night, which always very relaxing.
What’s your favourite party on the island?
Luciano, Sundays at Pacha, Cadenza.