On the same day that the iconic Cafe Del Mar opened its doors in San Antonio, Tony Pike, embarked on another Ibiza institution, by opening the islands first ever Agrotourismo guest house, at the now legendary, Pikes Hotel. It was American Independence day, July 4th, 1980 and when we look back on the islands history and its unique contribution to modern culture, that date will represent an important milestone, as the birth of a new era for the island and its people. Pikes Hotel, was the first to bring quality tourists and international fame to Ibiza, putting it on the map as a destination for the upmarket and celebrity party goers of the 80’s. Seven years before Amnesia DJ Alfredo influenced the popular English invasion of ecstasy fuelled clubbers, led by Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold, Tony Pike, an Englishman by birth, had already made his mark on the island and most importantly, its people. I met Tony Pike at his beloved Pikes Hotel, a place he regards as “more valuable than my children”. I was expecting an interview of about an hour or two, but such is the depth and personality of the man, I spent over nine hours in his company. The Interview below, is just a brief synopsis, tailored to the modern digital media user. To truly understand and communicate Tony Pike as a person, I would require a book on the subject.
As I sat waiting for Tony, I tried unsuccessfully, to feel the aura that Pikes Hotel is said to have. The history of the place should have been seeping from the walls, such was its reputation for the wild parties it held for the rich and famous down through the years. My realisation was, that Pikes, like any other Hotel, is just bricks and mortar and its the people that inhabit a place, that give it its unique soul and personality. When Tony walked in, alongside his pool and bar, head held high and his tired and aged body upright with pride, I knew before I even shook his hand, that he was Pikes, and it was in this person, not the building, that the soul of the place resided. His face is now worn with the many years of excess and hard work. His body is lite, due to his ongoing fight with illness, but in his eyes, remains that steely glare of defiance and individuality. Like a shark, Tony Pike is a predator. He tells me he has slept with over three and half thousand women, is now engaged to wife number six, and at the age of 78, can still convert life long lesbians, to lovers of the male flesh. He has traveled the world as a sailor, employing his unique charisma to work as a model, actor and gigolo and built buildings with his bare hands. Most importantly, Tony Pike, has pushed the envelope of life and experienced all that it has to give…. both the good and the bad. I wanted to get to know the real person behind the tough exterior, the one that is not always performing for his public, the one that is much respected by the locals, as the extrangero “who did things the right way”.
It was only after the first hour of the interview, that Tony started to relax and open up to me. He had read from the script and delivered the same answers to the same predicable questions that he must have been asked a thousand times down through the years. He kept avoiding the personal ones, like his family background and where he came from. When he did eventually speak of his early childhood, it was clear that it had a huge bearing and influence on the direction of his life. ” My Father fought for his country at the Battle Of The Somme in 1916. A massacre of life. He was found buried alive under the corpses of dead soldiers in a trench. Both his legs were torn apart by German Machine gun bullets. He refused to have them amputated and lived the remaining few years of his life in complete agony, before he died of blood poisoning. I was six at the time and I remember vividly, like it was yesterday, the torture he went through. It was a dark, dark time.” It is because of the way his father was left to die, that Tony feels no allegiance to his country of birth. At the age of thirteen, Tony Pike left his home in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire England, to join the British Navy and served on the HMS Indefatigable. It was only due to a legal loophole, that Tony was able to escape the cruel beatings and strict discipline of the Navy at that time. “Kids that had signed up at a young age like me, were allowed to transfer to the merchant navy before the age of sixteen. I qualified by only a few days and jumped at the opportunity” It was the Merchant Navy that would lead him to Australia where a new life and an opportunity to be free, beckoned.
In his late teens and with no job in a strange country, Tony joined the Australian Army and rose quickly through its ranks. ” I wasn’t an Army Man as I didn’t enjoy ordering people about, so I left unfulfilled. I spent a further 25 years in Australia where I became an adult “. During that time Tony worked as a carpenter and set up his own production company which he sold in 1966. He married his first wife Pat in Australia who bore him a son. He then married Jennifer Robyn Fairfax-Ross, a member of a powerful Sydney family, during a torrid love affair after meeting her on a blind date in Tokyo. The couple hit World Headlines in 1978, when they were rescued from a life raft in a well publicised story called Love On A Life Raft. Its only now, with a wry smile, that Tony admits “I sank a couple of boats in my time”. Tony was fleeing his second wife, also called Pat, at the time. Robyn became the third, but less than than three years later, Tony had left Robyn and married his fourth wife, Lynn, who helped him build Pikes. Dounia, became wife number five and bore him another son, Ziad, in 2002. Tony, it seems, is always in search of the next, ex, Mrs Pike. Prospective wife number six, is a lady named Maria. I ask Tony how he found the Hotel and he quickly remembers the details ” I saw it advertised in an Estate Agents Shop in Santa Eularia. It was originally called Can Pep Toniet and as my name is Tony, it caught my eye. I paid 6.6 million pesetas for it (£32,000). I later paid more for the property, because of a traditional law of inheritance in Ibiza, that left the house to the sons and the land with the fruit trees to the daughters. I had bought the building from the sons but the daughters owned the land”. Tony respected the local culture and settled with the daughters of Can Toniet. His respect on the island started with that one gesture of fair play. He did not need the trees but felt as he was part of the local community, he should abide by its traditions. Money was never a driving force for Tony “When I built Pikes Hotel I never built it to make money….I built it to generate enough profit to maintain my lifestyle”
During the eighties, Tony Pike was the embodiment of the Islands mischievous God Bes, who symbolised earth’s fun elements, music, dance and sex. When Tony was 38, he underwent major heart surgery on his aorta. It resulted in a unique ability to pump blood around his body at a rate twice as much as the normal person. “It allows me to stand to attention much stronger and longer than most normal men” Tony smiles as he demonstrates his renowned erectile size and strength, by raising his clenched fist and forearm in Roman centurion style. “Its all about my power and penetrating eyes” he says. “When I am with a woman, it’s at the point of climax where I make the unique connection that allows them to fall in love with me…. I guess it’s a gift I possess”. One cannot doubt Pike’s ability and record as a modern day Casanova. It was in New York, that a smitten MTV female executive, first introduced Tony to Grace Jones. “Jane was a very erotic girl, a total nymphomaniac, every year she would send me a first class return ticket to New York to help feed her insatiable sexual appetite….she was my Rubenesque painting”
It was during this time with Jane, that Tony escorted her to an orgy hosted by Grace Jones. “We went down to a Marlon Brando style waterfront, a shipping warehouse where we took the goods lift to the third floor. When we reached the room it was total darkness. All I could hear was music playing and the smell of semen and marijuana. Big candles had burnt down to give a dark loom of light….bodies were everywhere on the floor. Jane introduced me to Grace at that party. All I saw of her in the gloom was her white eyes and teeth”. The attraction between the pair was instant. “The next day Grace rang me to say that I interested her. She was tired of all the poofs in New York who pretended to be real men but were fake. I told her, if she wanted me, she would have to come to Ibiza”. It was a year later before the couple were to consummate the relationship. “I was sitting at the pool bar, the place where it all happens, and I got this phone call telling me that Grace Jones wanted to book a room in Pikes for five days. Six months later, the manager at Ibiza Airport, rings to say that he had just put Grace Jones in a taxi and she would be at Pikes in ten minutes”
That first night in Ibiza, Tony brought Grace to Pacha ” I rang Ricardo to say I had Grace Jones with me and could he organise a VIP area for us. To avoid the paparazzi we arrived half an hour before the club opened. Kung Fu, the doorman, had the red carpet laid out for us and the whole VIP area to ourselves.” That night in Pacha, Grace had an unusual request for Tony. She told him, “I want you to pick the ugliest girl in the club and bring her back with us to the hotel. There I want you to have sex with her in front of me”. After Tony had complied with Graces wishes and had sent the poor girl packing, a sexual love affair,that would become the talk of Ibiza and the Spanish media, blossomed. “It was all over the papers. It raised my profile and that of the island” smiled Tony, as he fondly recalled those special days in his memory. We talked for much longer about Grace and what she meant to him. Tony became her European Tour Manager and traveled the World with her until the relationship ended.”Grace liked to perform on stage straight after having sex….it was her power and I was there to provide it”. It was clear that Tony had put Grace Jones on a pedestal and that she meant an awful lot to him, more than just a sexual fling. It was Tony Pikes golden era ” I was in my element then. If nothing else we were in love sexually. It was a magic, magic time”.
Everybody is aware of the famous names, people and celebrities that have graced Pikes with their presence, so I am not going to rehash old material. Suffice to say there were many people that visited the Hotel each summer, to experience the Hedonism that Tony could provide. People could do what they liked at the Hotel, as long as they did not offend the other guests, that was Tony Pikes simple philosophy. When the Hotel was full, Tony would send guests to grateful local Hotels. I am not going to go into much detail, about the Murder of Tonys first born son, Anthony, as I feel its not my place to ask such sensitive questions, that still leave open wounds on Tony’s heart. Today, Tony has sold his villa in Cala Salada and lives on the property that he has leased to Andy McKay of Ibiza Rocks. “Andy has done a good job with the place but its not the way I would like to run things. As an owner you are always protective of what you created. Andy pays the bills so he gets to call the shots…..Its not easy but I have to try and accept that now. I am happy to help him any way I can”. Tony smiles to himself as he tells me a story about Andy, “When I die Andy wants to have my body stuffed and have it sit at my usual spot by the pool bar. He wants to have a motor installed that opens my mouth and says, G’day mate… throw another shrimp on the barbie, whenever a guest passes by….I told him he could”. I laugh out loud at Tony’s reaction but one could see that he is not happy passing the reigns of power over to somebody else. He is adamant that he will never sell Pikes or leave Ibiza. ” I have put so much of my life into the place. Now that I am fighting illness the local Health Service is looking after me. As I paid all my taxes here in Ibiza I am entitled to free health care now that I am 78. If I moved, I would loose that care which I am very grateful for”
Tony admits that he is a “kinky pervert” and realises that ” I am not a saint but not a total sinner either. My word is my bond. I do not look down on people and neither do I look up on them. I run my own race and that is how I live my life”. Some people may disagree with this and many of them may be of the fairer sex. There are different viewpoints on the island circulating about Tony Pike. I would never leave my daughter or wife alone with him but I would have to say, that I admire him for what he has done. A life filled with adventure and spirit. A life where he has relied on nobody but himself. He had the bravery to escape the mundane life that awaited him in “old blighty” and went and explored the World, to seek out something better. You could call him a Pirate, but a likable and honorable rouge. One thing for certain, no matter how a person feels about the man, he deserves more respect than he is receiving from some. The locals, the true Ibicencos, will always have a special place in their heart for Tony Pike, so he will not be left wanting, they will look after him. Does Tony Pike still have the energy to embark on a final buccaneering adventure on the high seas? Does this monument to Ibiza hedonism, have it in him to raise the skull and crossbones and sail off into the horizon in search of plunder, fortune and glory?….. Only Tony Pike can answer those questions but I would think he would require a trusted crew around him. Tony Pike will never ask for help, it is not in the nature of the man to do so, as he is stubborn and independent. Tony Pikes glory days are behind him, but Pikey still has something left to offer Ibiza and maybe its time for the Island to recognise him for his contribution to its identity, because, in the words of his good friend, the late Freddie Mercury…..who wants to live forever.