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BALEARIC BEAUTY – EMMA THOMSON

Keeping up with the stylish White Ibiza Villas director is like a full-time job in itself!

Keeping up with Emma Thomson is like a full-time job in itself. As director of White Ibiza Villas, it’s her business to be in-the-know, on-call and up-to-the-minute with island trends and happenings, all the while managing her team of multi-lingual concierge managers and villa marketeers, focusing on owner relations and enjoying island life.

“I’m a morning person… and I’m a night person,” she admits. “The thing I love about Ibiza is you can mix it up and be both. There’s so much opportunity in the day because it’s so long – it’s much more of a 24-hour place than New York or London. I love the flexibility and freedom you have to work at any hour, grab time on the beach, catch a sunset or DJ between check ins or meetings, go for dinner at 11pm – you can just see where the day takes you.”

Moving to Ibiza and running a villa agency wasn’t a conscious decision for Emma, who was previously a producer in the high glam world of London television. Though she’d always loved Ibiza for summer holidays and found the jet set clubbing scene ultra glamorous, her first summer season in 2012 was meant to be a sabbatical from her career – a new experience in between projects.

That first season segued into a winter season (“I’d spent so long getting myself set up I thought why leave now?”) and before she knew it, she’d picked up concierge work through a long-term London contact – applying the same organisational skillset she’d used as a TV producer to organising people’s holidays. It was obvious to Emma that villa rentals were always her clients’ first port of call, and the concierge company grew to become luxury rental agency EC Villas. In 2016, Emma co-founded White Ibiza Villas, where she curates our collection of high-end luxury villas, with her main role being that of owner liaison.

A natural born ‘people person’, Emma admits she is fascinated by people and loves the variety of people who cross her path on a daily basis. Finding new villas to add to the collection is never a precise science – she’ll meet owners through friends, via the website or from sales agents among other ways and she says her relationships with villa owners are the most important part of her job. “I appreciate when you’ve invested the time and effort into creating a beautiful home, you want to feel safe and secure that you’re with the right person to put the right clients in your house,” she says.

Day-to-day life is ever-changing for the gorgeous blonde – from early morning kickboxing in the Marina area (“I feel so privileged to have the view of Dalt Vila while I train – it would still be dark and cold in London!”) and catching up with her team to keep abreast of client itineraries, supervising villa check-ins, personally meeting clients as they step off their jets at the private airport and lunches with villa clients to advising owners on how to make their properties more ‘rentable’, creating unique marketing strategies for each property in the portfolio and keeping up with sales targets.

Emma fuses corporate professionalism with a warm and friendly Ibiza attitude and it’s easy to see why her high-end clients entrust her with their valuable holiday homes. Knowing the island inside and out is part of her job, but in addition to having a little black book of contacts in all the hip, must-visit destinations, she’s also more than willing to share ‘her Ibiza’ with her clients. “I get great pleasure from reading people and recommending places they may not have thought they’d like,” she explains. “I can be confident they’ll love it and it’s really satisfying, because you can make such a difference to people’s holiday experiences.”

A self-confessed, well-travelled ‘foodie’, Emma loves recommending restaurants to friends, family, owners and clients alike and her personal culinary satisfaction comes courtesy of the hustle and bustle of small Spanish eateries serving up authentic local cuisine. Can Costa in Santa Gertrudis, Bar Anita’s in San Carlos and Comidas San Juan in Ibiza town are places she’ll pop in for a bite between meetings, relishing the opportunity to indulge in home-cooked rabbit and onion or other typical Ibicenco dishes.

Emma is also no stranger to fine dining however, and the most recent crop of new additions to the island’s gastronomic scene have impressed her. “Cala Bonita at S’Estanyol really excites me, because they’re using the same local ingredients as the Spanish restaurants, but with modern techniques. I love the Goan and Asian influenced cuisine at Lamuella Ibiza too. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good paella or black rice with sangria at Es Boldado, it’s amazing – but I also have been lucky enough to enjoy the full Sublimotion experience, plus dinner and cabaret at HEART Ibiza.”

Downtime comes when friends, family or her London-based boyfriend fly in to visit. Frequenting the old town is a favourite pastime – from dinner at La Dispensa and drinks at La Mezcaleria or Montesol, to hitting the gypsy quarter of Sa Penya for drinks at Bar 1805 or La Tana. And then there’s the simple pleasure of strolling along the port with an ice cream. “I think it’s nice to go and do the ‘tourist’ things to remind yourself you live in a holiday destination and don’t take anything for granted,” she says. By day, the northern beaches are her favourite – Cala Xuclar, S’Illot des Rencli and anywhere the sound of the sea is louder than the voices of people on the sand.

Trips to Formentera are a must in order to disconnect with the hustle and bustle of the island, and Ibiza’s sister island is on Emma’s hit list of places to further explore when the season slows down in October. When the island switches into off-season mode, Emma loves cycling and walking, beautiful sunset dinners at Hostal La Torre. White Ibiza Villas keeps her busy all-year-round however, as winter is the time when new season enquiries start to come in, new marketing plans are devised and owners start to make renovations or improvements to their properties for the season ahead.

Five summers into her ‘sabbatical’, Emma now calls Ibiza her permanent home. Home is a gorgeous apartment on Ibiza town’s regal main street Vara de Rey – just a few doors down from her stylish office, making the daily commute a pleasant brief walk. Being exposed to some of the island’s most jaw-dropping properties on a daily basis does give Emma ‘villa envy’ on occasion, with her aim to eventually renovate an ancient Dalt Vila property to include a rooftop garden for her gorgeous rescue cat Milo and plunge pool for herself. A luxurious contemporary finca with a pool, huge kitchen, herb garden, veggie patch and alfresco entertaining areas wouldn’t go astray either.

In the meantime however, she’s happy to be ‘house proud’ on behalf of her villa owners, loving the moment she gets to do the big reveal of a view to rental clients. “It’s the goosebump moment,” she explains. “When you know a house so well and you see the reaction of your clients, and you just know they’re going to have an amazing week.”

Photography by Sofia Gomez Fonzo

Hair & make-up by Marie Duchar Clark

WHITE IBIZA SS 16

Emma wears clothing from the White Ibiza SS16 collection, ultra wearable pieces that can go from day to night, beach to bar and holiday to home.

The Jondal Jumpsuit

The perfect little party piece, this sassy jumpsuit makes packing for your Ibiza holiday a breeze.

The Galera Gown

Almost Grecian in appearance, but with the addition of some Balearic bling, this gorgeous, vibrant gown makes a stunning style statement.

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