Atzaro Restaurant Ibiza

    It takes many attributes to look after one of the world’s top hotels and
    Alex; manager of Atzaro Ibiza, is charged with doing exactly that.
    Essential Ibiza caught up with him to find out how he manages the lofty
    expectations of his exclusive clientele…

    What made you choose to settle in Ibiza?

    I have lived in Ibiza for eight years now although I have known the island
    much longer than that; my grandma bought a house here in 1972 in San Jose.
    I used to spend all my summer vacations with my family in Ibiza. Then life
    takes you around the world, especially when you work in the hospitality
    industry, and after some time away, my wife and I decided to come back and
    settle here. Ibiza is like a little country with a lot of international
    visitors, there are a lot of opportunities in the hospitality business, we
    of course love music and dancing too, so we thought this was a great place
    to raise our family and it was easier to settle here as I had the family
    house and I knew people from the time I used to spend here on vacation.

    It must have felt like coming home for you?

    It did, I have some great memories of my time spent here growing up. The
    most important thing for me and the most helpful is that, now, in my
    professional position, I really try think back to my vacations in Ibiza
    and put myself in the shoes of the guest and ask myself, what would I
    expect if I was that guest and I have been a guest for a long time on this
    island, even although we had our own house, I’ve been to restaurants, to
    discotheques, to yachts etc, so I try to really understand what the
    expectations of the guest will be and in this place, where people come
    with much more expectations than normal, it becomes a much bigger
    challenge, which I love.

    What was your hotel experience prior to working in Ibiza?

    My previous experiences were mostly in business hotels, I have worked in
    France, Spain and the United States but always in business hotels and that
    was something that I wanted to change. I’m a marketing guy and when I came
    to Ibiza I had the opportunity to be the marketing manager of a large
    hotel chain for four years. During that time I got to know really well the
    type of guests who come to the island, I got to put myself in the shoes of
    people on vacation instead of business, which I wasn’t used to, the
    customer here is completely different from a business customer in terms of
    what their expectations are, which was quite funny. But at the end of the
    day I’m a hotel manager, I enjoy the marketing side of things, I think I’m
    very good at it but I like to be constantly on the move and challenged, I
    like doing new things every day so I prefer managing.

    Was it a difficult transition from business to vacation clientele?

    No, I have to say, I speak French, English and a little German, as well as
    Spanish, so that helps a great deal. I have known the island all of my
    life and I love hotels so everything was fine. The only thing I had to
    figure out was what is different between the expectations of a business
    traveller and that of someone on vacation, which took a little time but
    with a bit of patience and listening and observing, I got to know it. But
    as I said, I like problems because I don’t view them as problems; I view
    them as challenges and this I love.

    Atzaro must bring a different level of expectation from its guests than a
    normal holiday hotel?

    Yes, when I first came to Ibiza and was working in marketing with the
    chain of hotels, these included all inclusive hotels and all sorts of
    different types of customers, here in Atzaro of course it’s a jump up in
    terms of the level of expectation of the clientele. I also have to say
    that another challenge we face and something that for me is a beautiful
    challenge is rediscovering the real Ibiza. Ibiza is a growing market, one
    that is offering a bight future for business but there is a growing trend
    of new businesses that fail to understand the history or tradition of the
    island. I believe in Atzaro, I am in a place that respects the customers
    that we attract, many of who come from inspiring backgrounds such as
    fashion, who are at the cutting edge of their field but we also respect
    what the essence of Ibiza is. There are new businesses that also respect
    the island and I think that helps them to introduce themselves quickly on
    the island but there are also some new, growing businesses that think they
    can make money quickly on the island by introducing business models from
    other successful tourist destinations. I’m thinking about for example of
    beautiful places with very nice tourism models like Saint Tropez, which I
    respect a lot but they don’t work the same way here. I think you always
    have to improve, you always have to listen, you always have to do better,
    always have to adapt yourself to the clientele that you attract but on
    this island there is a karma that you have to respect.

    What have you brought to Atzaro?

    This is the sixth season for Atzaro and the fourth season for me managing
    it, there is good and bad in the evolutions of companies. I think the good
    thing is that we knew how to grow little by little I think it’s important
    to have the patience to grow little by little but in a steady way. You
    know what you are doing and you go for it. We are in a huge changing
    environment, every day, every week and this is the balance that you have
    to achieve. Respecting what Ibiza is, respecting the karma of this island
    but at the same time never forget to have your own challenge – increase
    quality, increase the offer and do new things and face challenges every
    day so that you don’t get in a comfortable position.

    How would you describe your relationship with the owners of Atzaro?

    I have a wonderful relationship with the owners; they are people that
    really have a matter of driving business that I like. They are the
    dreamers and I think owners have to be dreamers, I would love to die with
    five percent of the creativity and dreams that my owners have but I am the
    one that has to keep the feet on the ground and bring these dreams and
    images to something that is organized and sustainable because I believe in
    companies that are sustainable because sustainability brings also quality
    in the long term. You can give quality in the short term if you’re margin
    is zero percent but giving quality when your margin is 35 or 40%, that’s a

    What are the long term challenges for Atzaro?

    We have a mission statement of course, we question ourselves, we have one
    month of analysis at the end of each season where all the staff managers
    participate and we do an evaluation of the season, ourselves and we do an
    evaluation with the purveyors to see how they feel as a client of Atzaro
    and we put all of these in a melting pot and we draw conclusions from them
    and this helps us grow, become better people, to become better managers
    and to be better placed for my guests and for reaching easily the
    expectations for growing. The mission statement in Atzaro, one day we say,
    because Atzaro as you know is hotel, a spa, a restaurant or events, it is
    a lot of things, but lets take the restaurant for example. One day we say
    in our mission statement, we want to be a one star Michelin restaurant.
    Sounds great, sounds quality, sounds expensive.

    Really, that is really your mission statement? Or should your mission
    statement be to be one out of the three most recognized restaurants in
    Ibiza, doesn’t that sound closer to what you are, you don’t need that
    Michelin star for that and if you did have it, you wouldn’t be one of the
    three most recognized restaurants in Ibiza because what are the values of
    a Michelin star? Are they the same as the values of our guests that are
    coming to Ibiza?

    They are coming here to get away from that. That’s why we are now having
    dinner in a garden with a red lamp with nice sushi but then we are going
    to have a wild chicken from Ibiza and we will have tempura but we will
    also have Swiss chocolate, because we are in Ibiza! And this is what we
    have to focus on offering to our guests, a melting pot but with connecting
    dots and the connecting dots are the sense of humour, the quality, the
    open mind and the respect.