Nikki Beach Ibiza is happening! The most recognisable beach brand on the planet has been threatening to add Ibiza to its extensive list of establishments throughout the world and summer 2013 sees it finally come to fruition. Located on the coast just outside Santa Eulalia, it enjoys breathtaking views over the beach and out across the Mediterranean, offering a tranquil destination complete with the world famous Nikki Beach level of service and facilities. The family owned business, which started life as a poignant celebration of daughter Nicole’s life, has grown and shared the family lifestyle, bringing joy to thousands around the world, adding venues in Cabo San Lucas, Koh Samui, Mallorca, Marbella, Marrakech, St Barth and St Tropez before finally coming to Ibiza. It’s a major addition to the Ibiza landscape and one we are looking forward to, ahead of the launch we caught up with owner Jack Penrod to get his thoughts on Nikki Beach Ibiza…
There has been talk of Nikki Beach Ibiza on numerous occasions in the past, what made this year the right time to come to the island?
Ever since December 1998 when we opened our first Nikki Beach, one of the most frequently asked questions has been “When are you going to open in Ibiza?” so it feels amazing to finally say we are. We have come to Ibiza multiple times over the years and were always keeping an eye out for the perfect spot for Nikki Beach but it was only this past year when we saw the location (where we are opening very soon) and immediately knew it was for us. We are situated on the East side of the island, in Santa Eulalia, which offers a more relaxed pace than other parts of the island. This location is more in tune with our beach club concept. We are not just about the party. Every Nikki Beach combines the elements of Dining, Entertainment, Music, Fashion, Film and Art into one thus creating our own concept of daytime party.
While Nikki Beach has a philosophy and style that is consistent in all of the units around the world, each brings something unique to the table, what does Nikki Beach Ibiza bring?
We opened our first location in Miami Beach, Florida in December 1998 and now (in addition to Miami Beach) have locations in St. Tropez, France; St. Barth, French West Indies; Marbella, Spain; Marrakech, Morocco; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Koh Samui, Thailand; Mallorca, Spain and pop-up locations during the Cannes, Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals. Nikki Beach Ibiza will be our 9th permanent location (and our 12th location including the annual pop-up locations). I think what makes us unique is that many brands started in Ibiza and then expanded around the world whereas we started elsewhere 15 years ago and are now coming to Ibiza. The concept is the same all around the world. The uniqueness comes from the actual locations and the different landscape and views.
Having visited a couple of the Nikki Beach locations around the world, you get a real sense of family, from the management throughout the staff, how important is this to you?
We are a family owned and operated business. My wife Lucia, my son Mike and my son-in-law Peter are active members of the Board of Directors. Each one of them handles a specific area of the business. We also have our Nikki Beach family which is made up of managers and members of our staff that have been with us since the very beginning. There is a strong sense of family within the entire organization and I believe this message is clearly present at all our locations. We have customers who have visited every single one of our Nikki’s throughout the world because we strive in making them feel comfortable and at home. Also, we never forget who we are and what we are about. I have over 1,000 employees all over the world, many of which have been with the company since the very beginning. Each decision that is made with regards to our brand is based on one simple question “Is this good for Nikki?” It’s never about any one individual person. It’s always about the brand.
Even though our company has grown tremendously, the sense of family and camaraderie within our staff is the same as when we opened our first Nikki Beach almost 15 years ago. I have seen our staff grow up with my family. We are all committed to a continuous celebration of life. This is our job. We have built a culture of family unity, common goals, friendship and team work. Every year, all of our managers, chefs, marketing staff from all over the world come together with our corporate team for our Annual Managers’ Conference and let me tell you, it feels more like a family reunion than a corporate conference. I’ve seen Nikki Beach employees get married, have children, buy their first homes, get grey hair… it’s a wonderful gift and a beautiful thing to see.
What do you look for in a potential new recruit that makes them part of that extended family or is this something that happens naturally once someone joins the team?
One of the most important things to us is staying grounded and true to our beginnings. Nikki Beach was founded to celebrate and honor a beautiful life. We have no room for egos. And we have a very good army of soldiers to protect and guard our brand integrity and standards. Those are the type of people we look for when hiring, people that believe and take pride in the brand and concept; people that will be committed to look out for the brand and not for themselves. The new recruit has to be able to work in a team environment. There is no room for “I” it is all about “we”.
You have found a stunning location for Nikki Beach Ibiza but it might have surprised a few people in that it is in more of a family resort than the more vibrant ones of the south, what was the thinking behind that?
We always look for locations that have beautiful beaches and friendly people. Our current Nikki Beach locations are where the jet-set travel, live and play and Ibiza is one of those places. Most of our locations are not in the city center but we are right on the water in a scenic beach setting so it’s a perfect place for those traveling by yacht to access (and of course, by car as well). Also, Nikki Beach is a lifestyle and a destination within itself.
When you look at the collection of Nikki Beach Restaurant & Beach Clubs and Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts now, located in some of the world’s most beautiful spots, what gives you the most pride?
In life, my source of energy is my family and business, which is our own family lifestyle. Seeing our customers smiling faces from the moment they arrive at Nikki Beach to the moment they leave is everything to us.
Is the success something you had aspirations towards when you opened the first Nikki Beach in 1998?
Nikki Beach was born to celebrate the life of my daughter Nicole. It started as a beautiful garden by the sea, which we called Café Nikki where friends and family could get together and share great times. We did not have any plans for a global brand. However, the magic between our family concept and our customers created a demand. It was then that we decided to strategically expand worldwide. Now, as any businessman, success is always planned and expected but it was not my first motivation.
The thousands of people who visit Nikki Beach every day around the world will all take something different from the experience, what does Nikki Beach mean to you?
Someone once told me that we changed the way people party around the world. I am not sure if we did or not, but our commitment is to celebrate life and I believe that is what our customers experience every time they visit us.
Nikki Beach has a loyal fan base that follows it around the world, are you expecting some of those existing clients to travel to Ibiza to see you?
Absolutely! After 15 successful years in the beach club & restaurant business, we have acquired a great global database of loyal customers. They tend to follow up every where we go around the world, so yes, we will have a lot of Nikki Beach friends visiting us in Ibiza, especially those whom frequent our St. Tropez and St. Barth locations.
What would make 2013 the perfect debut summer in Ibiza?
The imminent opening of Nikki Beach Ibiza, of course!