Ibiza still rocks at music royalty’s favourite hotel

black and white photo of the band wham.

Grace Jones and Kurt Cobain made Balearic hotel, Pikes, an institution. It’s Creative Director and member, Dawn Hindle, discusses the lasting and somewhat debauched legacy 50 years on

By Jacquelyn Lumley   Above image: Wham at Pikes    Saturday 29 August, 2020   Short read

Freddie Mercury had his own personal suite. And he wasn’t the only rock ‘n’ roll regular. Kurt Cobain was seen sipping cocktails (well into the morning) at the hotel more than once. Grace Jones, too. Even, rumour has it, Princess Diana. The Ibizan institute, founded by British nomad Tony Pike after an existential crisis saw him jump on a ferry to the Spanish isle in 1978, actually originated as a farmhouse. Renovating the site into a hotel, and building the – now iconic – pool may have been the best decision Pike ever made. After doing so, the hotel quickly became the location for Wham!’s 1983 breakout song ‘Club Tropicana’. In the music video, a suntanned, speedo-clad George Michael floats carefee, singing: ‘Club Tropicana, drinks are free. Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone.’ Fame and VIPs soon followed. 

Pikes’ current Creative Director, Dawn Hindle, and her partner Andy McKay have lived on the island for 25 years. They themselves sparked monumental progress for dance club culture on the island with mega-club Manumission (they are cofounders). Clad in rose-tinted glasses and big silver curls (I’m told down the phone), Hindle took some time to reminisce with Soho House about the legend that is Pikes.
a woman and man posed together in film photograph.
Grace Jones and Tony Pike (Pikes)

From the early 1980s onwards, hedonism became the epicentre of Ibiza nightlife, and really, that’s in large part thanks to Pikes. The founder, Tony Pike, is as much the stuff of legends as the club itself. When did you first meet him?

‘I remember the first time I visited Pikes was actually for breakfast. We were doing Manumission with two American DJs and we brought them here for breakfast after the club. It was the 1990s and Tony was in his seventies then, so he’d had quite a few wives and tales to tell. We shared a joint love of Ibiza and for the history of the place. We really took the battle of Pikes off him, but we realised there was no way we could get rid of him. He built the whole hotel, so after we took over, he moved into Room 25. He’d sit at the bar every single day and tell a million tales. Some iconic, some X-rated, but there were lots of them.’

How does a Pikes party differ from clubs on the rest of the island?

‘Ibiza has all these giant venues for thousands of people, whereas at Pikes, we’re very intimate. We don’t have to fill up massive numbers, which means we can do what we want. Fatboy Slim comes every year to play his birthday, we do Seth Troxler’s and Jamie xx’s birthday parties, and we don’t pay any of them to do it. They do it because they want to come and hang out, and bring their friends. That’s the type of place that I think Pikes is. It’s a slightly older clientele than a lot of the clubs in Ibiza, and no one actually cares who anyone is; you can be 18 years old or 78 years old and both be on the dance floor. I remember being here with Kate Moss on a night when Kylie Minogue was here too, and there was some American rapper who I can’t remember the name of. They were just hanging out, just going to the bar. A lot of places try to conform to fit in, whereas I think Pikes doesn’t have that conformity element.’
black and white image of two men with two women.

You’ve brought out The Pikes Cocktail Book, which contains 65 drinks recipes inspired by, in your own words, ‘mischief and misbehaviour at this epicentre of Balearic excess’. Tell me about the drink that’s on the cover.

‘Crowning Glory. We serve it in a giant disco ball. It’s got spiced rum, passion fruit juice, lime juice… the perfect “summer in Ibiza” experience. We have a bit of a disco ball obsession. We made our own that we put in Freddie’s, which were inspired by a 1950s ballroom, and they have circular mirrors on them instead of the squares. So lots of mirror balls everywhere. When the light hits, it reflects in a really beautiful way. Basically, Crowning Glory is an homage to the disco ball collection.’

Pikes has some very audacious names for its cocktails. How did you come up with them?

‘Crystal Dildo actually came from this giant pink crystal that I found. It’s quite beautiful, but it actually just looked like a pink dildo. I just thought, well that is just the most bizarre object, so I bought it and we made this lovely cocktail to honour it. Glory Hole, because all the big families on the island make their own Hierbas Ibicencas. The cocktail has got lemon juice, rosemary and fig jam [in it] – these all come from the island, too. Rosemary grows everywhere, it’s as common as a dandelion somewhere else. And the name is, well, we actually have a glory hole in the DJ box. Red Snapper, because when we first got to Pikes, there was this little floating crocodile. I think it disappeared after a year, but I wanted to keep the vibe of the crocodile alive, so I bought this giant oversized red one. And then came Red Snapper: a bright red cocktail with the funny green bits coming out the eyes.’

Tony was the life and soul of the party – what was his drink of choice? 

‘He was quite partial to Champagne, but pineapple juice, vodka and Galliano. That was his summer drink. Yeah, sounds very 1980s. And, of course, Hung Like A Mule is talking about Tony...’
man with a tennis racket held up to his face.


a woman sat on a large rattan chair.

Dawn Hindle at Pikes (Pikes)

As somewhere that’s legendary for its parties, and has been for five decades now, what are the ingredients of a Pikes party?

‘You come in and Pikes is… it’s almost like walking into somebody’s house. It’s a 500-year-old finca that’s spread out over 35-year-old mature gardens with palms and olive trees. And you’ve got the Club Tropicana swimming pool – the original Pikes pool – which you know, I’ll never touch that one, that’s quite sacred in the middle. You’ve got a DJ box next to it, which was designed by DJ Harvey. We’ve got a secret bar, the Potting Shed, which you access through a fake library door. And there’s a pull-down bed which is homage to the old bedroom where Freddie Mercury stayed, because Freddie’s wasn’t always a club, it was a bedroom. We’ve got our taxidermy fox and our Playboy pinball machine. It’s just very much an experience made up of small spaces, rather than one big open space. Each time you enter a new space, you get a new sort of party.’

What’s the best thing about a night out in Ibiza?

‘You get two types of sunsets here: you get the one that’s like, “Oh, I’m very chilled, and I’m very relaxed”, and another that’s like, “Oh, I’m going out!” Ibiza’s got both sides; I think that’s the beauty of it. You can escape into the darkness and do nothing, or you can go out and quite literally not come back for a week. They have this Ibizan saying that the island either expels you or it sucks you in, and that’s probably why we’ve never left.’

The Pikes Cocktail Book is out now, published by Ryland Peters & Small
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