travel

Glitterbox returns to Ibiza for another season of hedonistic delight - review

Cliff Joannou gets the lowdown as the dance music night returns to Hï club, formerly known as Space.

2018-09-07

The disco begins on the beach for Glitterbox Ibiza when we run into the club’s parade of performers on Charingay, the beach that pulls in the island’s gay tourists.

I thought I’d found a quiet spot on the beach to read my book, but Jono kitchen lowers his glasses and spots me and runs over. Flanking him are Raven Mandella and Asttina Mandella, with the charge led by Glitterbox Ibiza queen/Bond-girl-in-the-making Becky Rascal. I guess the party starts now. J

We grab a bite to eat at the beachside restauraunt, down some tequila, and then LOL on the beach for a few hours, soaking up the fading sun before we head back into town to freshen up for Glitterbox Ibiza at Hï, at the club formerly known as Space.

I’ve been making annual pilgrimages to the white island since 2001 and seen it change, for better and worse. Space was one of the most revered venues in Ibiza, and became synonymous with the clubbing mecca. My first experience of it was in 2001 when it had a massive open air terrace and all night/all day parties went ahead uninterrupted by the police.

 

It was directly below the flight path and the arriving planes would thunder above, hurtling so close over the dancefloor you felt you could almost touch them as they came in to land at the nearby airport. Or at least we were so high we thought we could almost touch them.

Then Ibiza hit the skids as the island clamped down on its 24hour reputation, Space covered its famous terrace, and eventually it started to lose its sparkle as other venues started to take the spotlight. Its closing party two years ago was more a casual wave goodbye to the Ibiza of old in the face of an unrelenting tide of change.

But not all change is bad, it seems. As somebody who has seen Space go from its wild, unrestrained heyday boasting Ibiza’s best club brands such as the queer La Troya, gay party Matinee, and the infamous Sunday sessions, to one with little innovative nights to shout about, I had a lot of expectation for the newly revamped club. Now under new ownership it’s been renovated and rechristened Hï, and what a club it is.

Inside, it’s a sexy and seamless blend of steel and mirrorballs. The outside chill zones are a fantasy-like alien world that could be Avatar on acid. Meanwhile, the sound system is faultless and explosive when the bass drops, and perfectly pitched when the bouncy vocals of the Glitterbox sound kicks in. Rarely has a club been so perfectly matched to its host venue.

DJ Simon Dunmore is joined by the likes of house legends like Joey Negro and Dimitri from Paris on a regular basis, letting loose a blend of classic disco and house mixed with newer, edgier tunes that pay tribute to dance music’s legacy.

Over on the main stage the performers arrive, shoulders back, heads high and proud as fuck that this is their night. Emerging to throw colour across the stage they bring the sparkle from which Glitterbox proudly takes its name. Jono Kitchens and Raven Mandella serve up all the fierceness in the world. Asttina has us spellbound as he vogues, snaps open his fan, and whips his flowing hair back and forth.

The club offers plenty more surprises, too. We wander along away from the main floor and discover a huge room flanked by toilets… but this isn’t your every day water closet. There’s a DJ booth in middle of the room and it’s packed with clubbers.

On the night we visit (and we’re informed most other nights at Glitterbox) it’s the unofficial ‘gay room’. Of course, the gays would congregate in the toilets. It’s straight outta George Michael’s 'Outside' video.

Needless to say we’re still there when the lights come on and we’re swept out of the club. Slightly disco-damaged, but still sparkling, we sashay off into the rising daylight. Glitterbox Ibiza will most definitely be a regular fixture on our future visits to the white island.

Glitterbox is Friday nights at Hï, Ibiza. Dimitri from Paris headlines, joined by special guest DJs Roger Sanchez and Horse Meat Disco on 7 September, Todd Terry and Joey Negro on 14 September, Horse Meat Disco and Barbara Tucker live on 21 September, and Louie Vega, Roger Sanchez and Joey Negro for the closing party on 28 September.

glitterboxibiza.com