When San Diego luminary Michael Kelly opened the Ivy Hotel in Downtown San Diego, he wanted it to be equipped with nightlife possibilities that would be the envy of the entire Gaslamp Quarter. With bottle service, multiple VIP hosts and designer décor, the Ivy's triple nightclubs are rich havens for those desiring a Vegas-like experience with extraordinary elements.
"The Ivy is intended for an upscale crowd of people who want to come and escape from their own reality," says the Ivy's media and marketing director, Jessica Cline.
Better described as an adult playground than a nightclub, the three-tier, after-hours extravaganza consists of the Ultra Lounge on the ground level, Envy downstairs and the rooftop bar, Eden.
When you enter the Ultra Lounge, you're immediately immersed in warm tones of orange and brown, enlivened with dark wood beams, cream-colored couches, and a large sand art piece on one wall. A theatrical performer (not to be confused with a go-go dancer) dances on a table with an LCD screen top in a showgirl-style outfit complete with a top hat and long, sleek feather prop.
"The night scene experience starts in the Ultra Lounge," Cline says. "It's sort of a warm-up where people can start up the evening before they're ready to dance."
After a cocktail or two, walk down the spiraling stairs and through a fog-lit screen. Let your eyes turn green as you enter Envy, a dream for the most devilish of socialites. Patent leather couches, chain walls, a glowing red dance floor, and live performers are all part of the club's envious experience.
"Envy is a heathenistic playground where fantasy comes to life," Cline says. "The voyeuristic scene is a predominant feature. Because it's multi-level, people can watch the dance floor with (guests) not knowing someone is watching them and that's kind of fun."
If underground Envy represents "hell", than Eden is a rooftop "heaven" served up with altitude and attitude.
During the day, Eden is more of a resort with a sparkling blue pool, lounge chairs, cabanas equipped with LCD screens and plush furniture, and two bars whipping up tropical drinks.
At night, Eden transforms into a nightclub with a 180-degree view of twinkling lights from the city's skyline. Relax on a VIP lounge bed under luminescent violet light as a cocktail waitress in a flowing-white number brings you a vodka-something. Or stand around the crowded bar with the hopes of catching someone's eye under the moonlight.
Each of the Ivy's three clubs plays different music to set the mood of the scene. Don't expect to hear Top 40, but rather an eclectic mix of old school beats, 80s rock and today's electronic. In Envy you might hear a mash up of Joan Jett and Notorious B.I.G., while on the rooftop you might groove to down-temp house.
"Through the course of the evening, people are in different moods. We have the ability to deliver just what they're looking for when they're ready," Cline says. As a result, no one leaves the Ivy's triple-threat nightclubs disappointed-or unimpressed.