1. Great nightclubs
2. Great daytime party scene
3. Luxury accommodations for recovery
4. Great food to keep morale and energy up
The Ushuaia hotel in Ibiza, Spain – hospitalities Killer App – may be as close to perfect as you can find.
The term “Killer App” was born in the world of software. It describes a program that becomes the overwhelming standard in a given category, so much so that other developers don’t even try to compete. The Killer App drives people to purchase a piece of hardware just so they can have the software. This market domination is achieved by solving the one insurmountable problem that developers spend years trying to fix. In the case of Microsoft Excel it’s crunching and organizing numbers.
The Killer App, like the killer whale, has no known predators and in the territory of footloose frivolity, Ushuaia rises to the top of the food chain.
Granted, a long weekend at The Cosmopolitan or The Wynn in Las Vegas definitely deserves discussion. Or, over on the East Coast, how about three days at the Fontainebleau, Miami Beach? Nope, nope and nope. Ushuaia has them beat for a few subtle and not-so-subtle reasons. The daytime party scene in Miami stinks so DQ South Beach right off the bat.
That leaves room for a comparison between Ibiza and Las Vegas. Learn how Ushuaia barrels through the four criteria below:
1. Great Nightclubs
Ushuaia has two main party venues: the iconic stage/pool at the main hotel and the roof of the Ushuaia tower. On Monday July 15th, Nervo, Nicky Romero and David Guetta did back-to-back sets from 8 p.m. – Midnight at the pool. Afterward, diehards could head upstairs to hear house music legend Frankie Knuckles spin. Step back for a moment and think about that lineup.
Nicky Romero is partially responsible for one of this summer’s anthems, David Guetta is arguably the biggest EDM star of all time and Frankie Knuckles is a founding father of the genre. All of this without setting foot off the Ushuaia grounds. In fact, with the right room, you don’t have to leave your balcony. Snag the best room in the house of house and the madness can be seen from an outdoor private hot tub (do that with a hottie or two and Ushuaia becomes the Kama Sutra king of Killer Apps.) From a DJ talent perspective, Ushuaia competes with any Las Vegas resort. This summer, for instance, Avicii headlines every Sunday and David Guetta follows on Mondays.
Beyond Ushuaia’s oasis-like walls exist the clubs of Ibiza. It isn’t necessary to say much here, just three words: “Pacha,” “Space” and “Amnesia.” These are three of the most famous nightclubs in the world and they continue to attract top talent on a nightly basis. They also pull in an attractive global crowd with an understanding of and appreciation for music. The more hardcore diehards find solace at Amnesia and Space (across the street from Ushuaia) while Pacha is the place for the higher-end crowd. And last, Ibiza is the platinum standard for after hours – there is a place to hear loud 130 BPM tracks around the clock.
Here is a little taste of the scene at Ushuaia Ibiza:
And 20 steps from your hotel room is this:
Las Vegas (For the sake of ease, call The Cosmopolitan and The Wynn a tie and use The Wynn to compare.)
The best nightclubs in Las Vegas (Marquee, Hakkasan and Light aside) are in the Wynn/Encore complex. XS took the Las Vegas club experience to a new level and nobody has been able to match its luxurious appeal. Surrender and Tryst are both excellent venues and book top-notch talent. At The Wynn, a world-class club night doesn’t even require a taxi ride.
Three things afford Ushuaia the nod:
People – Las Vegas is great and there is a fun time to be had there but the crowd mostly hails from the West Coast. Not nearly the same as Ibiza where people come from all over the globe. Melting pot nightclub scenes always make for better morning-after stories.
Cost – Staying at Ushuaia means free entry into the main stage party each day. The balconies attached to the stage view rooms double as super VIP bungalows with full bars, private bathrooms and privacy if needed. Also, tables in Ibiza are much less expensive. At Pacha’s famous Tuesday night Flower Power party, VIP table minimums are €200 per person, tax included and with an expectation of a 10% tip. That basically amounts to a bit over $1,000 all-in for four people. Good luck finding a decent table in Las Vegas for that price. With tip and tax factored in, expect to pay twice as much.
Experience – Situated right on the beach, Ushuaia benefits from the breeze rolling off of the Mediterranean Sea, so while dancing to the sounds of David Guetta, the cooling powers of natural air conditioning double your pleasure, double your fun. Alternatively, “dry” and “heat” comprise the extended list of adjectives used to describe Las Vegas’ weather. Las Vegas does a great job of working with its limited resources, but in the end, it’s still in the middle of a desert.
Advantage Ushuaia. Nothing compares to the party potential of its stage view balcony hot tub set up. NOTHING. $25,000 may get you a dance floor table at XS, but a four-legged piece of wood with bottles and browning fruit garnishes on top it remains. With the hot tub, the imagination knows no bounds. Wink.
Daytime Party Scene
One important thing to note about Ibiza: during summer it stays light out until around 10 p.m. The Ushuaia pool party kicks off at 5 p.m. and the crowd starts to show around 6. Given the late hours people keep in Ibiza, they call this a daytime party.
For dalliances before then, a quick walk down Playa d’en Bossa beach introduces a bunch of interesting fun-in-the-sun options like La Plage and Bora Bora. Further away from the hotel, the Pacha 67 boat takes the party to the water. And, making the proper connections at the clubs the night before may open the door to some interesting daytime yacht schmoozing invites.
Las Vegas has perfected the daytime party. While Wynn was not the creator of this trend, they took it to a new level with Encore Beach Club. Top notch DJs, very attractive people and great facilities make it a guaranteed fun time. Don’t like the DJ lineup at EBC? Marquee, Daylight or Wet Republic are sure to have someone up to par. While many complain that the pool parties end too soon while the sun still shines at 6 p.m., never underestimate the importance of a power nap to reinvigorate before night begins.
If money is no object, Las Vegas gets the check mark, but otherwise, Ushuaia once again wins out for one main reason – the cost vs. comfort calculus.
At Encore Beach Club a bungalow, cabana, table or daybed is necessary. While you can survive by just paying the cover and hanging at the bar or in the pool, the lack of shade and a home base make sticking it out for 5-6 hours pretty tough. In fact, this drawback stimulates the sale of bungalows and cabanas for thousands of dollars.
Massive groups of thong-wearing women spend a lot of energy trying to attach themselves to cabanas so they can access “free” drinks and safely store their purses. The cabana renters generally don’t mind; a handful of guys drinking $10,000 worth of alcohol makes for a handful of wasted guys.
Ushuaia’s more egalitarian (but only by comparison) approach means that, as mentioned, hotel rooms can function as uber-cabanas. This impacts the economics of going to Ibiza vs. Las Vegas significantly:
Luxury Accommodations for Recovery
The hotel is beautiful. The rooms are well appointed and the facilities are excellent. The shower has this futuristic Kohler rain showerhead and the temperature of the water can be set electronically. The spa/fitness center is being renovated but their sister hotel down the road works as a great temporary fill-in. The staff is quite helpful and the concierge gets things done.
The conclusion could easily be drawn that a hotel with a huge party venue in the middle of it would be a tough place to rest and relax. However, the music shuts down promptly at midnight. In fact, one could have a very full night from 6 p.m. to midnight, call it quits and be up and running on the beach by 8 a.m. Also, don’t forget about the proximity to the sea. A quick dip in the water soothes what ails, especially if only a 50-foot jaunt from bed.
The Wynn and Encore have the best rooms in town. With only the finest linens, towels and accessories, they exude comfort. The staff at the Wynn is also great and the spa is tremendous. Sleeping off a big night at the clubs or at the tables comes easily.
Location, location, location. Proximity to the sea and beach is tough to compete with. The Wynn probably has better facilities (the thing did cost billions to construct), but Ushuaia has the Mediterranean. Match point Ushuaia.
Food for Morale and Energy
Each room reservation includes a spectacular breakfast buffet. Nothing cures a hangover better than cured ham. Scrambled eggs with truffles, jamon iberico, a Mimosa (yes, free Cava) and a strong cup of coffee create a pretty powerful elixir. For lunch and dinner, choose from a few restaurants in the hotel or a ton of other great options in the surrounding area and throughout Ibiza. Lio takes the cake for great food and really fun entertainment.
Did someone say buffet? Well, of course. Buffets and Las Vegas go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Wynn buffet has fresh seafood, carving stations, vegan options; pretty much anything fit for consumption. The challenge is not to overeat. And it does cost money, $30- $40 depending on what time of day. Food assembly lines aside, the Wynn / Encore complex offers great traditional dining on both the high end and the low end. Try the new restaurant Andrea’s – it is special.
Wynn and Encore definitely have the advantage in terms of selection, however they all cost moolah. Meanwhile, the free buffet at Ushuaia provides the perfect sustenance for a party power up.
If the goal is a weekend of gambling, getting down and relaxation, stick with the Wynn – the food options are better. But if hitting every party comes first and meal planning second, Ushuaia’s breakfast buffet does the trick. Again, advantage Ushuaia.
Ushuaia ekes out its Killer App status over intense competition because of a very unique opportunity it brings to the table. Hosting a hotel room party while watching mega DJs from a spectacular birds-eye perch is priceless. Seeing this kind of talent for the cost of a nighty hotel room; also unheard of. The added bonus of beaches, the sea and everything Ibiza has to offer makes Ushuaia unmatched when it comes to accommodating revelers looking for a retreat.
Clearly, getting to Ibiza requires a lot more legwork coming from the United States (and the flights can be pricey). So don’t completely discontinue the periodic runs to Las Vegas for Memorial Day, Electric Daisy Carnival or Labor Day. Instead, think about swapping one of those Vegas trips out for three nights at Ushuaia. ADANAI knows first-hand the outcome is well worth the effort.