9 moments that defined Tony Pike's rollercoaster life - Lists - Mixmag

9 moments that defined Tony Pike's rollercoaster life

From building a hotel out of an "uninhabitable" plot to doing business with Frank Zappa

  • Harry Lye
  • 25 February 2019

Tony Pike didn't let trivial matters stop him opening Pikes Hotel...

When Tony bought the land that would become Pikes Hotel, the advert listed it as ‘inhabitable’ however he didn’t know ‘inhabitable’ is Spanish for uninhabitable. The structure was derelict but Tony pressed on nonetheless, working with his sons to build the majority of the hotel by themselves.

...And he ran the hotel with a certain kind of spontaneity

The hotel's earliest visitor was the head of MGM Studios, Bo Balk. Balk was meant to visit a house party nearby but when he arrived it was too crowded which left him searching for somewhere to stay. Fate led him to Pikes where, when he entered his room, the bathroom was still being built. Pike asked him where he would like the toilet.

Tony made a cameo appearance in the 'Club Tropicana' video...

Shortly after finishing the hotel, producer Simon Napier-Bell visited. He was scouting for locations for an upcoming group’s latest video. The group was Wham! and the video ‘Club Tropicana’ firmly pinned Pikes Hotel on the map. This connected Tony to the web of producers, singers and DJs that would become the hotel's mainstay. Tony himself got in on the video, pouring drinks as the barman.

...And organised a massive party for Freddie Mercury's 41st birthday

700 Guests, 250 bottles of Moët, and over 200 broken glasses was the bill given to Queen’s manager Jim Beach. The party lasted 3 days resulting in a wall collapsing and part of the hotel catching fire. Described as one of the most lavish parties the Mediterranean has ever seen, with guests including Kylie Minogue and Bon Jovi gathered to watch a fireworks display that was visible from Majorca, 10 miles away.

Freddie was at Pikes so much that Tony named the bar after him...

Pike has told off how Freddie Mercury asked why the hotel had a room named after Julio Iglesias: ‘“Why’s this called the Julio Suite?” he asked. “Well Freddie, it’s named after a famous international singer,” Pike told him. “If you keep singing, I’m not promising anything, but maybe I’ll name a tool shed after you…”’ Later the bar would come to be called Freddie’s, after the late singer who was a regular of Pikes. He spent so much time there, in fact, that the dancefloor is on the site of his former bedroom.

...And got into plenty of hi jinx with other celebs

In an interview with Vice, Pike opened up about his debauchery, telling a story of a year-long affair with Grace Jones which resulted in the pair returning to the hotel to find her clothes strewn across the hedges. Tony’s then wife had found out and later reportedly chased Jones around the hotel pool with a knife.

Tony also told of how he met Pepa from Salt N Pepa at the bar of his hotel and accidentally K-holed after mistakenly taking two lines of Ketamine believing it to be cocaine.

And speaking of coke, a famous star asked Tony if he could supply 5 grams of cocaine a day while staying at Pikes. This lead Tony to approach the Ibiza Chief of Police, saying "I want to supply cocaine to one of my guests". The Chief asked who it was for, and after finding out, the Chief told Tony to leave the office. After that Tony started supplying 5 grams a day to the unnamed celeb.

But Tony didn't always live on a high...

In the 90s the popularity of the hotel began to wain. In this time Tony was offered $5 million dollars for the hotel, however it resulted in him being conned out of $50,000 during the deal. His son travelled to Miami to try and resolve the situation but was murdered and later found on the beach. Tony travelled to Miami days later but when he got off the plane he was approached by police who smuggled him out of the airport for his own safety. After this Tony was brought to identify his son's body who was reportedly still wearing a Pikes hotel bracelet when he was found. Pike spread some of his sons ashes around an olive tree at the hotel where a plaque commemorates his life and death.

...And key business opportunities sometimes slipped by

When Frank Zappa came to stay Tony didn't really know who he was. Driving to the hotel, this exchange occurred between the two, with Tony trying to blag his way through:

‘“Course I do, you’re Frank Zappa.”

“Who’s Frank Zappa?”

“You’re Frank Zappa.”

“Who’s Frank Zappa?”

“I just f***ing told you, you’re Frank Zappa.”’

Zappa apparently enjoyed that Tony didn’t know him and later the two started discussing business. Frank Zappa had bought a vodka distillery in Moscow and wanted to make Pike’s branded vodka. The pair also discussed spinning of Pikes in a luxury hotel brand. The first location was due to be in Havana, Cuba. Zappa had apparently put in a good word with Fidel Castro. Sadly Zappa died before the project could materialise.

Although there was always space in Tony's life for the surreal

When the band Yes were staying at Pikes, Tony came back from a night out to find them all sat outside watching the sky. Tony greeted them but was quickly told to be quiet. That night there was an electrical storm on the island and they told Tony there was a spaceship hovering near the hotel, getting ready to land. The spaceship it turns out was a light on top of a telegraph pole. Apparently Tony “left them to it..."

Harry Lye is a freelance writer, follow him on Twitter

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