A billionaire can do as he pleases. Where once millionaire signified that nebulous stratosphere toward which the most far flung fantasies flew, it has now been eclipsed. A millionaire still enjoys luxuries and privileges about which the majority of people will only ever aspire. However, with a fortune greater than the GDP of a small country, what a billionaire can do with a click of his fingers or the swish of his pen sends, through sheer numerical force, the imagination spiralling to barely conceivable heights.
Nestled in the undulating embrace of the Sardinian coast lies Costa Smeralda - a lasting tribute to the power of a rich man’s dreams. Prince Karim Aga Khan IV first learned of the brilliantly lucid seas, unspoiled beaches and untamed natural beauty of this North corner of the island from his friends, the beer magnate Patrick Guinness and banker Duncan Miller, who had spied this paradise from their yacht.
Enchanted, this Ismaili prince and spiritual leader to tens of millions of Shias put together a consortium of multi-millionaires and in 1962 transformed this undiscovered Mediterranean nook into one of the jewels of the re-nascent international social scene - a place for people like them made by them. Driven by the zest of the Aga Khan, who came to epitomise incalculable wealth for a whole generation with the sheer extravagance of his jet-set luxury lifestyle, Monti di Mola became Costa Smeralda - so named for the exquisite green of its seas.
The Aga Khan’s vision drew some of Europe’s finest contemporary architects like a magnet. Stella talents such as Busiri-Vici, Jacques Couëlle, Savin Couëlle and Luigi Vietti moulded the jet-set’s caravan of chic around the Mediterranean’s simple intimacy, leaving to posterity a series of luxuriantly sleepy ersatz Mediterranean fishing villages that even coined their own architecture. Featuring low structures constructed from natural materials such as juniper wood and decorated in a stunning variety of simple natural tones, this neo-Sardinian style took the Vietti designed Porto Cervo as its centrepiece.
Tucked between the folds of the Galluran hills and the natural port on which it sits, Porto Cervo to this day still reflects that sense of rustic opulence with the effortlessness that only those born of limitless wealth can enjoy. With such timeless class and enduring exclusivity this bejewelled hamlet has remained one of most exclusive destinations for the international community.
While these fabulously wealthy businessmen, models, celebrities, sports stars, glamorous aristocrats and playboy royalty always seemed to return to Porto Cervo on their endless tour across the globe of beaches, yachts, and openings, one of them felt something was missing.
Already a prominent figure in the globe-trotting jet-set community, a Formula 1 mogul and a swashbuckling business prodigy with impeccable contacts in Italy and beyond, Flavio Briatore saw that an air of seriousness had crept into in his beloved Costa Smeralda. In 1998, setting himself the task of reigniting the sense of playfulness and fun that had originally inspired the Aga Khan and his contemporaries, Briatore brought glamour fizzing extravagantly back to Porto Cervo like the finest champagne, and named it Billionaire.
Pulsing with the beat of cutting edge electronica and house that booms irresistibly from renowned sets by resident DJ Andrea T Mendoza, this stunning three-storey villa affords enviably spectacular views and over Porto Cervo and the gorgeous Sardinian coastline snaking into the horizon. It is also a stylishly significant addition to the short list of premier nightspots with bespoke and truly integrated open air sections.
And it is billionaires that return summer after summer, secure in the knowledge that they are at the best party on the Costa Smeralda, the finest of something already utterly refined - like eating the rarest caviar. With two world class restaurants - the global benchmark of Italian cuisine Cipriani and NOVE - Club Billionaire keeps its patrons in the standard of dining to which they have become accustomed. They, once fed, are sucked into the funky vortex of the club’s two discotheques and multi-level state-of-the-art dance floors.
Such has been Billionaire Club’s unfettered success that it has taken its unique blend of Mediterranean cool, unashamed luxury and floor-filling music to some of the most prestigious venues in the most glamorous cities on the global nightlife map, including Paris, Dubai and Moscow.
These temporary residencies and one-night stands are ever-increasing in popularity and importance on the international social scene - the Billionaire Grand Prix Gala at the Fairmont Hotel has been running for a number of years and is one of the must-go-to events during this most glittering weekends of Monte-Carlo’s star-studded calendar.
The Billionaire brand has expanded with the ambition, splendour and ease that its name suggests, operating prestigious venues in world class locations such as precious Kenyan coast resort Billionaire Malindi Beach and Lion in the Sun. This Spring, Briatore’s billion dollar baby again demonstrated its capacity for growth and its instinctive understanding of the community of fabulous travellers that treat it like home, by establishing its first sister club in city-of-the-moment Istanbul.
Based in world-wide hospitality sensation The Istanbul Edition, in the ultra-chic Levent financial district, Billionaire Istanbul brings to this titan of European and Asian culture, the gateway to the East, that sense of unlimited and fabulous possibility that inspires all who have visited Porto Cervo.
The multiple levels of intimate dance floor space are finished in the classic Billionaire blend of casual luxury and maximum style, and over which the simply stunning transparent VIP areas sit magisterially.
It is this facet of ingenious double voyeurism that perhaps holds the secret to the Billionaire Club’s enduring success with such a powerful and exacting clientele - it represents a singular kind of freedom for such rarefied revellers. They can bask in their notoriety whilst letting their hair down with their friends and peers, troubled by nothing more than the occasional glance from an admiring and glamorous throng.
- Ben Stewart
Billionaire Club Porto Cervo
Address: Via Rocce sul Pevero
Porto Cervo, 07021
Tel: 39 0789 94 192
Billionaire Club Istanbul
Address: Buyukdere Caddesi No 138, Levent
Tel: 90 212 317 7797