The Luckiest Man In Ibiza: A Chat With Mambo Group Founder Javier Anadon

Posted on June 4, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

Images: Tamara Sini

His face is one that anyone who has enjoyed a sunset cocktail at the world-famous Café Mambo Ibiza will recognise – and those who have had the pleasure to chat to Javier Anadon for a while will remember with warmth. Coming to Ibiza 42 years ago, the Mambo Group founder has shaped the island’s gastronomy and hospitality landscape like few others and this year his hard work and commitment to creating spaces that preserve the magical essence of the island has been acknowledged with the IMS 2019 Legends Award by the International Music Summit.

After starting out with a successful pub called Bucanero in San Antonio Bay, 25 years ago the keen businessman founded what would become one of the most iconic sunset spots on the White Isle and a name that is revered all over the world: Café Mambo Ibiza. Now, the Mambo Group portfolio also includes a selection of gorgeous boutique hotels, picturesque seaside restaurants and bustling city hotspots – so who better to have chat with about life, luck, the importance of hard work and, of course, magical Ibiza?

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal005

Meeting us at his favourite venue, the boho chic La Torre Ibiza on the cliffs of Cap Negret, Javier is warm, friendly and incredibly modest for a businessman of his calibre. The pride he has for the places he has created with the help of his family – his two sons Christian and Alan are well known as DJ duo Mambo Brothers but also heavily involved in the business – and his dedicated team is obvious. Yet, despite his sharp instincts and continuous hard work, Javier describes himself over and over again as ‘a very lucky man’. Here, he talks 25 years of Café Mambo history, his love for the magical island of Ibiza and the secrets to his on-going success…

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal010

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal014

You have been named the IMS 2019 Legend. What does this accolade mean to you?
For me, this award means a lot because when I started Café Mambo I began to work with all of these promoters and DJs [some of whom are now part of the IMS panel] and, in a sense, I grew up with them. I started around the same time as David Guetta, Pete Tong, Danny Whittle, Roger Sanchez and Erick Morillo over 20 years ago and all of them have been part of the Café Mambo journey. We all grew up together in this industry and the success of house music has shaped all of our careers. Frankie Knuckles, for example, played with me over 60 times. I am so lucky!

Is it luck, or the hard work you put in?
I do believe in luck and I am a very lucky man. Of course, I also work hard. I used to go out every night, but I have never missed a day of work. I like the parties and I like a drink, but most importantly, I like to work every single day in summer. But I also believe that luck exists.

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What brought you to Ibiza?
I come from the North of Spain, a beautiful town called Pamplona. But it’s cold and rainy there and I love the sun, so I tried Benidorm, Lloret de Mar and Marbella. But when I came to Ibiza, I fell in love on the first day. Ibiza for me will always be the centre of the world. I love that everybody is welcome here and that it’s a very free-spirited place. People can – within reason – do what they want, which is why the island has attracted artists and musicians since the 1960s. It’s a very special place.

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal008

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal007

Can you tell us about the early days of Café Mambo?
I was in the right place at the right time. When I found the spot for Café Mambo, it was a very old house with four apartments. But it was close to Café del Mar, and I had always thought very highly of that place. A Scottish friend of mine gave me the idea to start something of my own. From the first year, Café Mambo has been a success and it has grown so much. In the beginning, it was very cool and we had some very important artists coming. Of course, as the island has changed, it has become more commercial but every big DJ in the world has played at Café Mambo and I think that’s fantastic. They come to us because I am friends with them and because I have amazing relationships with the clubs and promoters.

Fat Boy Slim Cafe Mambo EssentialIbiza2017 By Andrei Oprescu 12

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal018

Mambo 2018 Closing BobThis year you are celebrating the 25thanniversary of Café Mambo and your portfolio keeps expanding. What is your secret to success?
It’s not very easy to have a business for 25 years and it’s been a long journey, but Café Mambo is getting more successful every year. I have a great team, and my two sons, they help me. Within the Mambo Group, we look after people – that’s very important to me. For example Javier, the manager of Cala Gracioneta and Villa Mercedes, has been with us for a long time. He is a superstar, my boys know him from Barcelona and I consider him my third son.  A business needs to have a soul and it’s our staff who give the soul to our places.

Your sons, Christian and Alan, are very involved in the Mambo Group, too…
It was very important to me that my sons understand the business and they have worked in every part of the venue. Growing up, they were in the kitchen, they were cleaning glasses and they were waiters. They know the industry. And they also know every single DJ and every single manager. When they go around the world, they see new restaurants and bars and connect with people. But most importantly, they are nice. That is the only thing I ask of my sons, to be nice people.

You now have several very popular restaurants, sunset bars and hotels. How do you find these places and make them a success?
We are very confident in what we do, and we love Ibiza. We always try to do things with a touch of Ibiza magic! My sons and I are very passionate and we believe in the places. With Casa Maca, for example, I had never been before and someone in London gave us the tip. I went to see it with my son and within five minutes we made an offer because the atmosphere is unbelievable.

And we are doing the interview at La Torre today because it is one of your favourite places in Ibiza!
For me, La Torre is the jewel in the crown of my business. My house is only a few hundred metres away and I have always loved this place. The owner had been telling me for 15 years that one day it would be mine. When I finally got it, I bought the house next to it one week later to get the parking spaces across the road – that’s how much confidence I had in it. In the 1960s, San Antonio was one of the most important places in the world for artists and I want to preserve some of that original Ibiza essence here. I love the bohemian vibe.


It might be impossible, but can you tell us a personal highlight from 25 years of Café Mambo?
There are hundreds… But a big one is always when BBC Radio 1 comes to play. Last year, there were 30,000 people but everything was controlled and with a great, positive energy. When you do something big, it’s important that everyone collaborates and it’s a good vibration.

What keeps you inspired in both life and business?
I like to travel a lot. In the winter, Ibiza is very quiet and I like to go to South America, Australia and many other places. But the best moment for me is always when I come home to Ibiza. I can go on big holidays to New York, Los Angeles or Mexico – but Ibiza for me is really magic.

Further Information

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal015

Javier Anadon Interview Essentialibiza 2019 By La Skimal020