Party time: William and Kate leaving the Boujis nightclub. While Boujis has become synonymous with the names of both its fun-loving royal patrons, it is also a magnet for cocaine abuse. Prince William is said to have run up a bar bill of £11,050 ($22,000) at Mahiki the week he separated from Miss Middleton (that’s around half the average national annual salary).
By NATASHA PEARLMAN
At a darkened London nightclub at 2am on a Wednesday morning, a crowd of twentysomething partygoers are dancing with utter abandon to the thumping beat of a fashionable rap song.
Champagne glasses, brimming with £500-a-bottle vintage Cristal, clink together as beautiful young girls chat to rich young men.
This is a place where Sloanes collide with Eurotrash, and the place reeks of money.
But if you want to seek out the true face of this painfully exclusive London haunt, take a look at the toilets.
For it is in these elegantly appointed rooms, behind locked cubicle doors, that the real – and far more disturbing – “partying” goes on.
Welcome to Boujis – the discreet and secretive South Kensington nightclub, which has become virtually a second home to Princes William and Harry and the rather fast set with whom they have surrounded themselves.
It was here that Harry infamously cavorted with TV presenter Natalie Pinkham, and was photographed with his hands over her breasts.
It was here, in March this year, that the young Prince allegedly assaulted a paparazzi photographer after stumbling out of the club and all but measuring his length in the gutter.
And it was here that Prince William was photographed last week with Kate Middleton, as a clear sign that their romance is very much on again.
While such august guests may invest the club with the gravitas of royal approval, what really goes on inside gives the lie to the notion that it is a suitable favourite for the young Windsors.
For, as the Mail reveals today, while Boujis has become synonymous with the names of both its fun-loving royal patrons, it is also a magnet for cocaine abuse.
An investigation conducted over a number of weeks has uncovered evidence of the illegal Class A substance being taken in the club.
On more than one occasion, so obvious was the drug use that large, white flecks (which tested positive for cocaine) were clearly visible to the naked eye in the toilets.
And Boujis is not the only royal haunt tainted by cocaine, we can reveal.
Two other nightclubs in London have also become familiar features of the royal set’s social life – a set which includes Kate Middleton, Chelsy Davy, Princess Beatrice, Guy Pelly and even actress Sienna Miller, as well as many of William’s former Etonian schoolfriends and the children of tycoon Richard Branson.
Though Mahiki, in Mayfair, and the Cuckoo Club, near Piccadilly, are – like Boujis – private members’ clubs, the Mail was able to gain access to both. And in both, we once again discovered significant traces of cocaine.
Perhaps in this day and age, however disturbing the findings, we should not be surprised.
After all, Britain has the fastest-growing consumption of the drug in the world – up 30 per cent in the last year alone – and a UK Drugs Unlimited survey published last year found that nearly half the young professionals questioned had used the drug, a four-fold increase from a decade ago.
But such statistics will be of little comfort to Prince Charles, and those courtiers whose job it is to protect both the Princes and their reputation.
For while there is no suggestion that they have any involvement in the taking of cocaine in these clubs, the sleazy reality of these establishments – so regularly frequented by the future King and his younger brother – must surely disturb their serious-minded father.
Two months ago, I set out to investigate the world of the Princes’ set – the high-earning, high-spending young professionals and “trustafarians” who inhabit London’s most elegant nightclubs, and indulge themselves without a thought for the eye-watering bar bills which have become the norm in the capital’s increasingly hedonistic nightlife.
I witnessed wild- eyed, drunken partygoers who barely bothered to disguise their sniffling noses, and jaw- dropping excess among the monied young – remember Prince William himself is said to have run up a bar bill of £11,050 at Mahiki the week he separated from Miss Middleton (that’s around half the average national annual salary).
And most disturbing of all, on every surface you care to mention in toilet cubicles, in all the London nightclubs, was the stark evidence of drug abuse.
Sometimes, it was even detected on filthy ledges close to the even filthier floor of the women’s toilets, painting an undignified picture of party girls so desperate for a fix they will literally go down on their knees in the dirt to get it.
Posing as a fashion student – living off my fictional millionaire Daddy’s money of course – my first target was Mahiki.
The club itself – which was the location for the send-off party for Harry’s regiment before they flew to Iraq – is designed to look like a tropical island paradise.
My first visit is on a Tuesday and the bar is buzzing but not full.
Fifties music blares out of the speakers, a few scantily clad blonde girls dance provocatively in a corner.
All of the tables are occupied by twentysomething men in a uniform of chinos, white shirts and navy blue jackets.
Treasure Chest cocktails – a house mix of brandy, lime, peach liqueur and champagne served in glass-lined pirates’ treasure chests at £100 a time – are brought to the tables by waitresses decked in Polynesian attire.
For the less adventurous, there are the ubiquitous bottles of champagne at £300 a pop.
I order a Lover’s Cup cocktail – at £21 a glass, one of the cheapest drinks on the menu – but before I can pay, a man, who I soon learn is a hedge fund manager, signals to the waiter and my money is ignored.
The amount is small change to a man who is about to rack up a bar bill which will total nearly £4,000.
As well as buying my drink he also feels, of course, that he is buying my company.
I am immediately beckoned over with my female friend to join the table of “Ilan” – an Israeli-American who, after graduating from Harvard, came to England to cash in on the growing hedge fund opportunities.
“There is a lot of money to be made in this country and why shouldn’t we celebrate our success?
“I like to enjoy myself, particularly if I’ve done a big deal. And if I can’t do it when I’m young, when can I?”
Drugs, according to Ilan, are part of the celebration.
“There are always drugs in these places,” he adds later.
“I don’t personally take cocaine, but I know plenty of colleagues who do. They’ll take it in nightclubs or at home on their way out.
“We work such long hours that it’s a quick way to wake up and get enough energy for the night ahead.
“I promise you, even tonight when there aren’t that many people out, they’ll be people snorting cocaine in the loos.”
And he’s not wrong. Behind a locked cubicle door in the ladies’ toilets, I take out a Nark Cocaine ID Swipe – supplied by drug testing specialists Drug Aware.
The swipes are used in America by forensic teams, and these “wet wipes” can test for even the tiniest traces of cocaine and crack cocaine.
All I have to do is wipe the cloth across a surface, and if there is cocaine present it will turn blue.
In Mahiki, the club owners have clearly already anticipated the cocaine problem.
Typically, the drug is snorted off a flat surface, and Mahiki have tried to combat this by removing the toilet lids.
The cisterns have also been encased in the wall and toilet attendants are on hand to stop girls in pairs entering cubicles together.
But drug-takers are tenacious. On top of the toilet roll holder is a small flat surface, perhaps five centimetres long and three centimetres wide.
Close to the floor there is a small ledge of about the same dimensions.
Swiping my cloth over both surfaces, it immediately turns a bright blue. Thirty minutes later, I return to the second cubicle, and it too is equally covered in traces of the Class A drug.
Placing my swab carefully back into its packet, I return to the bar and discover that Ilan’s table has been joined by another girl – a blonde 26-year- old investment banker.
She seems impressed by the bottles of champagne at our table (which in a place like Mahiki can only mean money). She is also very drunk, and has attached herself and her face, quite literally, to one of Ilan’s friends.
Less than 30 seconds later they leave the club together. And not long after, so do I.
A week later, I visit the Cuckoo Club, which claims to deliver “high octane glamour to London’s party cavalry”.
Only members are allowed on the guest list and potential members must be nominated by another member and then approved by the club’s committee.
If non-members are allowed to book tables – a rarity – the minimum “spend” is £1,000.
In the past three months, Prince Harry, Chelsy Davy, Sienna Miller, the teenage Princess Beatrice and Jemima Khan, have all been pictured emerging from the club.
On entering, I descend to a cavernous, underground room, this time lit with the sparkle of endless crystal champagne flutes glinting under the disco lights.
It is a Thursday night and the room is packed with impossibly thin, tall and beautiful women, their dainty, Eastern European features set off with sparkling diamond necklaces and the shortest of designer frocks.
Young men with floppy fringes and striped shirts pour endless glasses of champagne and vodka.
In one corner, I see Spice Girl Melanie B chatting with comedian David Walliams. They soon retire to a discreet VIP area of the club.
Other revellers clamber on sofas, waving their arms frantically to the music.
Damage to the exquisite soft furnishings is disregarded by the management – for them, these guests are the cash cows who must be indulged at all costs.
In the bathrooms, there is plenty of opportunity for further misbehaviour.
The toilets come with their lids intact and there are plenty of flat surfaces for snorting drugs.
Behind a locked door, I pull down the loo seat and swipe for cocaine. The swab turns blue.
Half an hour later, I repeat the process in a second toilet. The result is the same.
My male friend has the same result in the men’s bathroom. So, another royal haunt, where celebrities and society mingle, awash with cocaine.
But these are only two of the clubs which make up the Princes’ London circuit.
The final venue, Boujis, is their home from home. I visited this week, just days after Prince William and Kate’s “reunion” appearance.
This club has, the Princes will be relieved to know, the strictest door policy in London.
“Members Only” means just that – though I am finally able to gain access thanks to the help of a very well-connected male friend.
But rigid security on the outside is accompanied by a rather more carefree attitude inside.
Thanks to the strict door policy, every guest is either a member or a personal friend of the manager, William and Harry’s friend Jake Parkinson-Smith.
Boujis, it seems, is little more than a very exclusive – and expensive – house party.
The place oozes the decadence of unlimited wealth. I overhear a twentysomething young man boasting about how he’s recently bought a £200,000 Lamborghini (or “Lambo” as he so irritatingly described it) on his father’s credit card.
And it seems that where money and alcohol mix, for this clientele, cocaine is never far away.
David, a 27-year-old part-time DJ educated at a top English boarding school, tells me: “I’ve taken it in here. Everyone coming out of the toilets is probably on it. It’s an open secret in here. Why else are the toilet queues so long?”
Although he declines to tell me where I can buy some cocaine, or indeed, from whom, it is abundantly clear that the club has a problem.
Waiting in line for the ladies’ toilets, girls stumble out of cubicles before me, rubbing their noses hard and making no attempt to hide their sniffing.
On four occasions, I enter the cubicles and each time the tops of the toilet roll holders are covered in large white flecks.
I don’t need a swab to guess what the substance is, and, sure enough, the test for cocaine is positive every time.
Returning to the same cubicle twice during the night – after it has been cleaned by a bathroom attendant – I find fresh evidence of further cocaine use.
Back on the dance floor, the party continues.
At 2am, no one shows any sign of slowing down. For the rest of the country it is just another damp mid-week night; for this group of privileged youngsters, it is simply an excuse to indulge every hedonistic whim.
Last night, Boujis manager Jake Parkinson-Smith, said: “We have a zero tolerance policy against any type of drug at Boujis. Anyone found with drugs is immediately ejected and the police informed.”
Meanwhile, Guy Pelly at Mahiki declined to comment, and at the time of going to press, the Cuckoo Club had not returned our calls.
It is hard to see what it is about this dingy, frenetic world that the Queen’s grandsons love so much.
And without the kudos of their presence, one wonders whether such clubs would do nearly so well.
But for their own sakes, and for the sakes of the hangers-on who clamour around them every time they appear, it must be hoped that the Princes will take a hard look at the crowd with whom they choose to share their evenings – and whether their patronage of these particular nightclubs is such a good idea after all.