It’s been hyped up for months, and to Miss W, the Wonderland opening party couldn’t have come any sooner. I’d seen the posters around town, I’d glimpsed the all-new Eden at the opening party and I’d even been chatting to Mr Tong himself throughout the week about what to expect from his new extravaganza. And finally, the big night had rolled around.
Starting with a swish press dinner at the Eden-owned Kanya with visiting journalists from the UK, Miss W was wined and dined by the fabulous crew at The Shop, who have been responsible for making the Wonderland concept come to life. Complete with a performance from the Burlesque themed Wonderland dancers and a fireworks display from an almost sinister sequin-clad warrior by the sparkling pool just after sunset, it gave us an alternative – and entirely pleasant – start to our night in San Antonio.
Miss W has to admit she had just a teensy little bit of trepidation regarding the crowd heading into Eden, but from the minute she was whisked through the fairy light studded VIP entrance (complete with enormous framed pictures of Pete from the Wonderland artwork) and into the exclusive candlelit area behind the DJ booth, she knew that this wasn’t just another night at Eden.
As I sipped on chilled Moet – thanks Pete, you do know Miss W loves a glass of bubbles or two – Rob Marmot warmed up the rapidly expanding crowd in the main room, followed by a classic set from Groove Armada, who were broadcasting live for BBC Radio 1. Then it was time for the man of the hour to step up and show the world just exactly what he’d been plotting and planning for the majority of the year.
It was now that the crowd seemed to literally erupt – throngs of younger, clubby types swarmed the front of the DJ booth making it almost like a mosh pit, while the beautiful people in the VIP area – including Pete’s stunningly gorgeous wife Carolina – all got out of their seats to start dancing – a true party atmosphere.
The most amazing element of Eden’s revamp for Wonderland was the installation of a multi-million dollar visual display, thanks to acclaimed production company Microchunk. With huge curtains made up of LED balls – which looked a little like oversized light globes to Miss W – and enormous almost cinema-like screens beaming with colourful lights, laser beams and moving projections that morphed and made the inside of the club like a giant video game, this was a whole new ball gamer for the club and certainly made it stand out from its competitors in terms of modernity and ‘wow’ factor.
Best of all, for The Looking Glass upstairs, the room hosted by local favourite promoter and DJ duo Charlie Chester and Jo Mills, these visual displays were hung from the roof of the club and backed onto the glass encased room – which meant the DJs playing in the third room had their very own visual showcase going on behind them the entire night, adding a whole new dimension to the room – in fact, we think the visuals were even more spectacular when viewed from this height – on the main dancefloor you had to crane your neck to look up at them!
THE GOOD: ‘The Looking Glass’ was jam packed all night. If they weren’t behind the DJ booth, VIPs were sneaking up here to hang out and dance with the many island faces on hand show support to Jo and Charlie – we think the old school ‘back room’ party vibe will be making a comeback in this room.
THE BAD: There’s been a lot of talk about Groove Armada making the transition from their coveted We Love Space Sundays slot to their own personal ‘Lovebox’ in the Funky Room at Eden on Fridays – sadly, the room remained quite empty for the majority of the night – we think this may have been due to the fact they also played the main room and then started in the Lovebox time as Pete hit the main floor – just a glitch in the programming, we hope!
THE GOSSIP: Apparently the VIP area behind the DJ booth wasn’t quite ready by the time the club threw open it’s doors for the 11pm curtain call, due to the fact that the über chic – and some might say very expensive – new furniture ordered especially for Friday nights had arrived in the wrong colour scheme and needed to be re-covered. So simple deck chairs stayed in place – not that anyone actually sat in them anyway, as most people were mingling and dancing!