From a swim in the ocean to a Moulin Rouge-esque dance performance, Pacha Ibiza in Dubai is a thriving lifestyle destination, says Amy Fernandes
So many of the world’s fun destinations seem to have moved closer to our doorstep. For instance, you don’t have to travel to Vegas these days. Macau, a short flight away will give you the same experience. Similarly, Dubai now boasts the Pacha Ibiza. Which means, rather than take a 15-hour journey or more to Ibiza, a brief two and a half hours on a comfy Emirates flight will take you to Dubai. Check in at the plush Madinat Jumeirah and work the weekend wind-ups at the recently opened Pacha Ibiza in Dubai.
That’s how it was for us. We board an Emirates A-380, go into a dither whether to bundle oneself off to sleep on the plush flat bed or watch a film from the myriad choices. I opted for the latter and goggle-eyed, I found myself a few hours later in my large and well-appointed room at the Mina A’ Salam Hotel of the Madinat Jumeirah. A word about this resort before I move to our raison d’etre. You’re spoilt for choices here. You can explore the 3-km canal way in an abra or take a buggy ride to discover the landscape, the spa and the theatre. With 40 restaurants to choose from, where should you eat? A souk that runs parallel to the resort gives you an amazing run for your money. Swim in the ocean or in the many aqua pools? And if you call all of this relaxation, think of what you can do on the 2 km private beach!
You can do all of this only while the sun is up, because once it’s evening, Pacha beckons. A blood-red carpet and discreet bouncers signal the exclusivity you’re being ushered into. Inside, once the darkness melts, the strobe lights sweep across the dimly lit club revealing in flashes, a three-storey multi-layered sensory journey. At eye level, the seating is around a circular stage that bursts into activity every 15 to 20 minutes with short international acts.
This evening we are treated to an international repertoire of daredevil acrobatics, a scintillating revue, a Moulin Rouge-esque dance performance, a Broadway teaser, a Vaudeville number, a breathtaking trapeze act, so on and so forth. As we go to press, we are informed that Prince has only just concluded a performance here.
All around food (Pan Asian) and drinks keeps you comfortable. “We prefer to look at this as a lifestyle destination, not merely a nightclub,” says Umesh Amarnani, who’s brought Pacha Ibiza to Dubai. “It’s a place people can come, unwind, relax and spend the entire weekend or a couple of days and not see a repeat act.” He points out to other avenues in the venue. The Red Room on the mezzanine level is like a pre-dinner lounge. It offers a spectacular view of the city while you’re listening to house music, drawing on the hubble bubble (raspberry, chocolate— take your pick) and nibbling Moorish food on a grill. And if fine dining is your thing, then head next door to Frioul, the very French restaurant.
Back to the main room, there’s a fierce acrobat with an ultra-strong upper body who’s swaying dangerously up the ceiling and comes spiralling down to our table like Zorro. In the wings, the next act will burst on the stage while you’re enjoying your sashimi. While all this is happening, at some point you discern a change in the atmosphere. Where once was a drop-down curtain, it’s lifted to reveal a bar with a flamboyant mixologist. The beat has changed, the rhythm is faster, the stage has cleared and people who were sitting around are now on the floor moving to the rhythm of the international DJ’s music. We’ve just turned into a nightclub! “See how dynamic this place is?” Umesh asks.
We have to agree. This place teaches you that it is easy to transform yourself from a lounging beer-slugger, into a chic dress-coded theatre enthusiast, to an oyster-shucking gourmet, to a night-clubber all within a matter of a few hours in the evening. Pacha Ibiza Dubai manages to do that to you.