It’d be easy to end this piece (or start it) with “Whatever you do, don’t go to the new Cavalli Ibiza Lounge”. But you’d be missing out on one of life’s more memorable experiences. My best advice is to stay away before nightfall. And under no circumstances eat anything.
Most of the Cavalli Ibiza Lounge is open air and, before the Balearic dusk descends, it looks like David LaChapelle has been roped in as the wedding planner for the unlikely union of the late Lynn Perrie and a gay Blackpool hairdresser. It’s a kaleidoscopic mental breakdown of florals and leopard print and feathered table settings – Dubai on acid. Before sundown, when fairylights and the Cavalli vodka cocktails make the whole thing feel moderately enchanted, it looks like it was all thrown together by emptying out the dead stock of a few of the gaudier shops in the Kingsland Centre in Dalston. It’s not that it appears cheap (which it does), but that it looks like it might all be packed up in a box shortly after 3am and driven off in the back of a van.
We arrived about half an hour before sunset and were the only people there, marvelling at the boisterous, well-groomed, bare-torsoed youths dancing on daddy’s yacht, which was moored in the harbour on the other side of the hedge. We had a drink and lounged on the sofas until a Cavalli-clad waitress (who would have made Gisele look like something the cat dragged in) came over and ordered us to our table. “Erm … we haven’t finished our drinks,” we explained. And off she tottered, to strongarm someone else to their amuse bouche.
Half an hour later, we settled down for dinner. A few bits and bobs were distributed to share: octopus salad; foie gras with fig jam and toast; tuna, salmon and seabass carpaccio. All fine, all unremarkable. Airline-style, there was a choice of main course: “white fish” or “beef”. Feigning vegetarianism would be your better option. The fish was bland, the beef an abomination – a poor cut, poorly cooked, as if on a domestic grill, without skill or seasoning. “This wasn’t good,” I told the waitress who hadn’t asked my opinion to begin with, when she came to collect the plates. “Ah,” she replied, smiling. After I’d elaborated what was wrong with it she moved on, in total silence, to remove my neighbour’s barely touched but very much finished with fish.
Cavalli himself knows it too, because on the night I was there, he was propped up in the garden, like a kind of permatanned Eurotrash deity
Despite first appearances, the Cavalli Ibiza Lounge isn’t just an outdoor version of Caesars nightclub (RIP) in Streatham – though the male guests do opt for the shirts-n’-slacks-n’-no-jacket combo that made up the queue in SW2 on a Saturday for so many years. It’s far, far fancier. Promoters include Le Baron, which is a brand name that gets celestial bells ringing for a certain kind of Armand de Brignac-swilling crowd – though they are different bells chiming for me, since my sole experience of Le Baron’s Paris mothership involved an altercation with the Gallic-shrugging doorman and approximately three minutes inside, marvelling at the elite Parisians frugging away – without any discernible sense of irony – to “Rabbit” by Chas & Dave.
The music in the inside club area at the Cavalli Ibiza Lounge offers few surprises. It’s low-key, warm, Balearic and striving to be “classy” and – for what it is – it works. There’s some Prince and Talking Heads and a few Paradise Garage-style 12 inches. God knows what the obsession with in Ibiza for Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”: I heard it six times in 48 hours. The seating is reserved for bottle service, and the women dancing around an invisible handbag are all dressed up to the nines and then some. (How can any woman, I marvelled, even a six-foot glamazon, stride at such a pace in such vertiginous heels?)
And here’s the real point of coming to the Cavalli Ibiza Lounge: the people watching. There might be a gold throne to the side of the DJ booth, but there’s nothing provincial about the patrons. These really are some of Europe’s most gorgeous and privileged people, having a big night out and clearly a good time. Cavalli himself knows it too, because on the night I was there, he was propped up in the garden, like a kind of permatanned Eurotrash deity – part lothario, part bog body – posing for pictures with anyone who wanted to drape their arms around him. “Beautiful… beautiful…” he muttered, as one Louboutin-heeled woman unhooked herself from him and another took her place. “Beautiful… beautiful… you’re all beautiful.” C
Cavalli Ibiza Lounge, Paseo Juan Carlos 1, 13, Ibiza, Baleares
+34 971 192 197; ibizacavalliclub.com