Fascist Paradise for the Ultra Wealthy
More: Wealth Over the Edge
It’s midnight on a Saturday night at the Marina Bay Sands resort near the sparkling Singapore River, and all the boutiques are shut. But past a cosmetic-surgery clinic and a Ferrari accessories store close by, a large crowd is getting increasingly agitated. Dozens of hopefuls are clamoring to get in to what is billed as the world’s most expensive club, Pangaea.
Tight-fitting Herve Leger bandage dresses are practically a uniform here, often paired with Christian Louboutin heels and Chanel 2.55 bags, as women try to befriend club goers who are lucky enough to get past the red-velvet barrier and bouncers. It is frequently the leggy models, part of the club’s core demographic, who succeed. Out-of-town visitors who negotiated their way onto the guest list weeks earlier are turned away, even after offering to pay more than $3,000 for a table. The nightclub is completely full.
Past the bouncers, a walk through a long tunnel with blue ultraviolet lights and a ride up an elevator reveal one of the world’s most exclusive parties. Michael Ault, Pangaea’s founder, sits at the club’s most prestigious table by the bar, on cushions covered in exotic African ostrich skins. His table is covered with bottles of Belvedere vodka, Cristal champagne, buckets of ice and dozens of glasses for his friends. His wife, Sabrina Ault, a former fashion model and now his business partner, wears a fake shark’s head and wields a plastic gun while dancing on a table top. At Pangaea, all surfaces are made for dancing—even tables made from the trunks of 1,000-year-old trees and the crocodile-skinned couches.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a dance club does not need a dance floor if you are Michael Ault. A veteran of Manhattan nightlife and descendant of blue-blooded socialites—he is the son of a Van Cleef from the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry family and the stepson of Wall Street’s famed Dean Witter—Ault, 49, prides himself on one thing above all others: the ability to throw a good party. And he has done just that over the years at more than 25 clubs from New York to Miami Beach and São Paulo to London. He is credited with being one of the first nightclub impresarios to introduce bottle service—now commonplace globally—at the legendary New York Spy Bar in the 1990s, where even Kate Moss was turned away on exceptionally packed nights.