Obituary

Tony Pike: Hedonistic hotelier of Ibiza

10 March 2019 - 00:00 By The Daily Telegraph


Tony Pike, who has died aged 85, was a roguish adventurer, philanderer and hotelier who, with his establishment Pikes (usually pronounced "Peekays"), came to embody the Spanish party island Ibiza's reputation for hedonistic excess; but his life had an undercurrent of sadness.
He arrived on the "White Isle" in 1978, having worked his way through three marriages and a variety of careers - including male model, bombardier in the Australian army and brickie in Harlow New Town. Smitten by the island's beauty, and not realising inhabitable in Spanish means "uninhabitable", he acquired a ramshackle farmhouse near San Antonio which had for decades been used for storage.
As he laboured single-handed to turn it into a country residence, a friend suggested it would make a boutique hotel. When the first guest, a US music executive, arrived, the place was still in such a state that Pike asked him where he would like his lavatory sited.
But Pikes gained cachet almost overnight when in 1983 it was chosen as the backdrop for a music video by pop duo Wham! called Club Tropicana - "where strangers take you by the hand / and welcome you to wonderland" - it became the blueprint for a generation's idea of summer fun.
Pikes attracted guests from the music industry, among them Jon Bon Jovi, Joan Baez, Mike Oldfield and Boy George, who dubbed Pike "the Hugh Hefner of Ibiza".
Hollywood stars who enjoyed its decadence included Tony Curtis and Brigitte Nielsen. Pike became especially close to Freddie Mercury, though the hotelier had little interest in music and initially had no idea who Mercury was. Having bonded with Pike over their vigorous cocaine use, Mercury entrusted him with organising his 41st birthday party there in 1987. "Budget? Oh, do f **k off, Pike - I want the works and I want it remembered for years to come."
In the late 1980s Pike discovered he had HIV. Though he would survive the disease, the news made him decide to sell up. He did eventually sell the hotel, but he had not saved much money and continued to live in a room there into a suitably disgraceful old age.
"The do-gooders out there live a boring life, which I refuse to accept," he declared; doctors treating him for skin and prostate cancer in his 80s ticked him off after finding traces of the powerful hallucinogen ketamine in his urine.
His remaining children survive him.
1934-2019

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