AHL INSIDER

Dawn Hindle

Creative Director of Pikes Ibiza

Dawn Hindle

– follow Dawn –

‘We’ve had hail stones that have settled and look like snow, which is very strange because usually at this time of year you can be sat on the beach,’ Ibiza resident and hospitality legend, Dawn Hindle, explains. Currently, ‘curled up in front of the fire’ it might be easy to forget that Hindle once made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing the busiest weekly parties in the world. After fifteen years at the helm of the hedonistic super club Manumission, Hindle and her business partner Andy McKay set up Ibiza Rocks before buying the iconic Pikes hotel in 2011. Famous for being the location of Wham’s Club Tropicana video as well as for its rock ‘n’ roll clientele, Pikes remains an authentic piece of Ibiza’s rock ’n’ roll history.

However, that’s not the end of the story as A Hotel Life’s UK and Culture Editor, Caroline Lever found out when she caught up with Hindle on why Ibiza has changed for the better and future plans for Pikes in Ibiza and abroad.

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Caroline Lever: Have you noticed a change in the vibe or type of tourism on the island since coming out of lockdown this summer?

Dawn Hindle: I actually think it has changed for the better. It’s made us appreciate the island and everything it has to offer. It’s not all about the nightclubs, you don’t need to spend thousands on VIP tables to have a good time, you can appreciate the real authentic parts of the island which are the beaches, the scenery, the people, great food, special cocktails, getting a boat out for the day.

Caroline Lever: For those uninitiated could you explain a little about the philosophy of Manumission in the context of the scene at the time?

Dawn Hindle: We started Manumission in 1994 in Manchester, then we came over to the island and found the home that we had always wanted, which was very much based on a freedom of expression, a way to be creative. Manumission is actually derived from a Latin word which means to set a slave free and that is what we felt coming here from northern England at the time.

We had crazy, out of wack ideas like serving cornflakes as the sun came up and then there were obviously the really extreme things like having my ex-husband’s brother have live sex on stage which propelled it into the infamous. But I think it was all part of the same thing which was to expect the unexpected.

We also had really great DJs and a whole cast of acrobats and entertainers. It was the year of house music in Europe, a whole era of excess and opulence, and just doing things that hadn’t been done before. But then it went from being a hobby to being a massive business, with DJs commanding these crazy fees for playing someone else’s music, so that’s when Andy and I started Ibiza Rocks.

Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza
Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza

Caroline Lever: So Ibiza Rocks was a reaction against the commercialisation of the scene?

Dawn Hindle: We started Manumission because we wanted to do something experimental and great, and we stopped because we were paying 50 year old DJs to entertain the youth. When you are part of a scene you don’t want to own and control the scene you want, other people come through and do greater things. Promoting live music on an island that wasn’t ready or wanted it was actually quite a punk thing to do. We felt that dance music scene was almost imploding because the money that was being generated and the money that was being charged by the DJs was quite obscene. We wanted to chase something else so that’s when we came up with the concept of Ibiza Rocks. We would bring in bands like the Prodigy, Madness, Primal Scream, the whoswho of the music scene and then we moved on to get Pikes.

Caroline Lever: How would you describe Pikes in your own words?

Dawn Hindle: Well it’s an Ibiza institution, an authentic part of the island. It’s an old Finca that was taken on by an island eccentric, Tony Pike who very much wanted to create his own alternative lifestyle. He loved to live a very free life, so he created this little hub where he could do that. It attracted a lot of rockstars and celebrities — George Michael, Wham! did the Club Tropicana video there, Freddy Mercury had a giant 41st birthday party there where everyone came from Queen to Grace Jones, Kenny Everett, Spandau Baller and Kylie. It was the first boutique hotel in Ibiza and it was very much the place where the stars would come because they could have a good time and no one would care. When we went to Tony it was tired. It had had its glory days, so it was a way to continue what he had established and build on that. For people that really love the island its these beautiful, unique, one of places that really make the difference, and Pikes is one of those.

 

Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza
Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza

Caroline Lever: How have you evolved the brand and what are some of the changes that you’ve introduced since taking over the hotel?

Dawn Hindle: We’ve just brought out a coffee table book with a collection of all the best bits of what we’ve been doing over the last five years. We’ve been really trying to build on it culturally. We set up a literary festival with Irvine Welch and a comedy club with some people from Barcelona called Lust for Laughs and we had people like Michelle Wolf. She’s got a new Netflix show in America, so she was practising a lot on our audience. We do a meatopia festival with Richard Turner, and we’ve also got an interiors collection with Rocket St George, so developing those areas. I really think it’s about celebrating a lot of different people who come through the doors but also expanding and having a little cultural hub on the island.

Caroline Lever: It sounds a lot more mature. Would that be fair to say?

Dawn Hindle: I think it is and I think that’s the way forward for the island because that has longevity. We’ve managed to carve quite a unique area. For example the restaurant has been fully booked seven nights a week this year and the spend per head has almost doubled, so what we’ve done is become much more about quality over quantity.

Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza
Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza
Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza
Photo Credit: Pikes Ibiza

Caroline Lever: This past summer you brought Pikes to the UK for a series of pop up glamping weekends. Was that the first time that Pikes had left the island and how did it translate to rural England?

Dawn Hindle: Do you know what? It was amazing. Some of our favourite artists played. We had Groove Armanda, Horse Meat Disco. We dipped into the wellness side with yoga classes, fresh water swimming, and the arts with collage classes, basket weaving and textiles. The plan is to do five more events next year, the first weekend of every month starting next May. And we’ll probably theme each one so one will be more literary, one will be more foodie and so on.

Caroline Lever: Will we find Pikes popping up anywhere else soon?

Dawn Hindle: Well actually we’re looking for a hotel site in the UK. We’ve got such a natural audience there that really understand the brand and it was just so successful and fun. I think there’s a natural desire for it at the moment and then I think after that definitely California, Palm Springs or Joshua Tree.

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