The CEO of one of the world's most famous luxury beach clubs told us the craziest things she's done for A-list guests

nikki beach founders with mariah carey

  • Nikki Beach owns some of
    the most famous luxury beach clubs in the world.
  • From Saint Barth to Miami, the properties are frequented by too
    many celebrities to name.
  • CEO Lucia Penrod told Business Insider that every guest is
    treated like a VIP — but some A-listers have some pretty unique
    demands.
  • From making it “rain Champagne” to treating a guest like a
    Caesar for the day, she shared some of the most outrageous ones
    with us.
  • Visit
    BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Picture this: you’re on a white lounger by a pool, listening to
the sound of the ocean. There’s mellow music playing, and you have
a glass of rosé in hand. Suddenly, Leonardo DiCaprio pulls up a
chair beside you — he’s just there to relax, too.

This is a scenario that’s not entirely unlikely at a Nikki Beach
beach club, of which there are 14 around the world.

Lucia Penrod, CEO of Nikki
Beach
worldwide, told Business Insider the
family-owned-and-operated business started as a tribute to her
husband Jack’s daughter Nicole, or Nikki, who died in a car
accident at the age of 18.

“It was a business, but a tribute to a beautiful life that left
too young,” she told Business Insider. “We decided as a family that
instead of spending our entire lives mourning her life, we would
celebrate her life.”

It began as a garden by the sea in Miami Beach, where the duo
raised butterflies.

“She loved birds and animals [so we] created this magical garden
by the sea and called it Cafe Nikki,” she said.

©ArtmanAgency_

At the time, the modeling and film industries were booming in
Miami — and Nikki Beach “took on a life of its own.”

“Every celebrity you can imagine was in town filming, directing,
doing business,” she said. “We had Leonardo DiCaprio when he was 18
years old.”

Read more:
This is the one thing you should always ask for when ordering hotel
room service, according to a chef trained by Gordon Ramsay

She added that celebrities like DiCaprio started to come to
Nikki Beach because they “felt safe and loved the vibe of the
place.”

o LEONARDO DICAPRIO at nikki beach

Since there was a beach right behind the garden, the couple
eventually decided to expand the property to include that, too.

“When we expanded it to the beach, people were saying “it feels
like we’re in St. Tropez, in the Mediterranean,” she said — so
her husband decided they should launch another location in St.
Tropez.

The third launch was in Saint Barth.

“From there global expansion just took off,” she said. Now,
there are 14 beach clubs and four hotel and resort locations
including the US, France, the Caribbean, Spain, Thailand, Monaco,
the UAE, Turkey, Italy, and Greece. 

Nikki Beach Miami Beach

The six pillars of Nikki Beach

There are three divisions of the business; the Beach Clubs, with
headquarters in Marbella, Spain; the hotels and resorts,
headquartered in Barcelona; and lifestyle, under which an
e-commerce platform, ShopNikkiBeach.com, will launch in May.

There are also six “pillars” Nikki Beach focuses on, according
to Penrod — music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film, and
art.

“Our DJs go through good training,” she said. “We avoid hardcore
bump music. The music plays with your senses. They read the
crowd.”

She added: “When you come and spend time and money with us, we
want to make sure you have the best time of your life.”

Nikki Beach Saint Barth

She said that “fabulous food” is part of the package, too.

“It’s not Michelin-starred food, it’s homestyle,” she said,
adding that Bono was among the guests who complemented their
cuisine.

Copy of Copy of Copy of ©Artman Agency6992

The beach clubs also have “art in every location,” are home to
fashion shows and boutiques, and often host film premieres or
interviews with the Hollywood foreign press.

However, Penrod stresses the vibe is “very simple,” describing
Nikki Beach as “a very feminine brand.”

“We don’t stress in creative, latest, coolest, or newest
decorating styles,” she said. “We want people to feel at home.

“The basis of the brand is organic — the basics are mainly
white furniture, cushions.”

Nikki Beach Marbella 1

She added that in memory of Nikki, “everything we do is to make
sure ladies feel safe [and you can] spend time as a group or with
girlfriends.”

The VIP treatment

“When you talk to our customers, they say the staff make them
feel at home. [Whether you’re a] big celebrity or [not], everybody
feels like a VIP. It’s one of our main elements of making people
want to keep coming back.”

Read more:
Meet the manager of Saint-Tropez’s most star-studded,
Champagne-fueled hotel, where Lady Gaga once arrived hiding behind
a handbag

While everyone may feel like a VIP, there are some A-list guests
that require a bit of extra attention.

“Some of our VIPs have special requests, [and we] go out of our
way to make sure they get exactly what they want,” she said. “We
don’t have concierge services [but] if you are a good customer
we’ll go out of our way.”

Nikki Beach

She said this can involve anything from bringing in
specially-designed dishware embossed with a family name to planning
wild parties.

“Celebrity guests expect to party like everybody else,” she
said. 

“One gentleman came in and wanted to celebrate his wife’s
birthday with a surprise party. He wanted 1,000 bottles of
Champagne around the pool to be used for spraying, then had a
helicopter full of rose petals [drop them in the pool] when they
started opening the Champagne.

“It was incredible.”

nikki beach champagne party

She added that another VIP guest wanted to be “Caesar for the
day,” so they got him a throne and the staff dressed in
costumes.

“Another one wanted it to rain Champagne, so we got a huge crate
and lifted [him] higher, [then] got a hose connected to Champagne,
and Champagne was raining at Nikki Beach and he was directing the
rain.”

Read more:
The world’s only Michelin-starred brothers tell us why not showing
up to a reservation is the worst thing a diner can do

‘Celebrities were a big part of forming who we are’

Penrod said that while they “try to make everybody feel like
they’re the most special person in the world,” celebrities have a
special place in the business.

“Celebrities were a big part of forming who we are,” she
said.

mariah carey nikki beach

Every year, the company hosts an all-white anniversary party —
a tradition that started with Naomi Campbell.

“When we first opened in St. Tropez it happened to be Naomi
Campbell’s birthday party,” Penrod said. “She’s friends of a good
friend of mine.

“She came in and was undecided what she wanted to do. She first
wanted all pink, all green, then said she wanted it all white.

“We went out of our way to get everything white, and everyone
had to dress in white. It was freezing that day, [so] every shop in
St. Tropez ran out of white jackets because everyone had to wear
white.”

nikki beach white party

She said the party “looked like heaven, like you were in the
clouds.”

“It goes so perfectly with our celebration of life, so we said
‘from now on, that’s it.’ Naomi was a big contributor to what we do
today.”

Nikki Beach white party

20 years of epic parties

In 2019, Nikki Beach is celebrating its 20-year anniversary —
and, naturally, there will be some pretty epic parties.

“We’re going to host our 120 best customers from around the
world for an invitation-only dinner party during Cannes, creating
our own special show,” she said, adding that every other Nikki
Beach location will also host a big party throughout the
season.

Read more:
$15,000 dog weddings, Justin Bieber after parties, and disco ball
installations: Concierges at 6 world-renowned hotels tell us the
insane demands of super-rich guests

The brand has also created a coffee table book, a fragrance, and
an album.

“We are shocked and surprised at the growth of the company,”
Penrod said. “There was no business plan. It’s a brand that started
as a tribute from father to daughter and grew organically.”


Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH:
12 everyday phrases that you’re probably saying incorrectly

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
The CEO of one of the world's most famous luxury beach clubs told us the craziest things she's done for A-list guests