There’s a certain fascination with members-only clubs. These are places where you are waited on hand and foot, where luxury is the norm and exclusivity is so predictable that the very expectation is passé. With beautiful surroundings, snazzy amenities, and a chance to hobnob with the who’s who of the business, political, sports, and entertainment worlds, it’s not surprising that the waiting lists to get in are long and memberships need to be earned. Here’s a look at some of the best private members clubs in India. Welcome to the inner sanctum.
Soho House was founded in London in 1995 as an inspiring space for working creatives. The first one in Asia, the Mumbai venue is the 23rd Soho House property. Overlooking the Arabian sea, the atmosphere here is relaxed and a little more casual than most clubs of these kinds. Termed an ‘inclusive members’ club’, this 11-storey club offers amenities open to non-members as well. The décor was envisioned as chic-bohemian with a splattering of Indian charm and accents. The property boasts 38 beautiful rooms, two restaurants, a rooftop pool and bar, a 24-hour fully equipped gym, and steam room open only to members and hotel guests, a members’ club and library, a cinema, an indoor bar, and event spaces open to all. They also hold interesting events throughout the year like talks, workshops and House parties that are only for members and hotel guests. There are eight types of memberships starting from Rs 1,13,300 per year and they request that an existing member act as a proposer.
The Quorum, a 22,000 sq. ft. urban lifestyle club in Gurugram, was founded by couple Vivek Narain and Sonya Jehan. This members-only venue designed by Studio Lotus blends luxury, exclusivity, art, design and impeccable service. Facilities include a cheery and sophisticate Members’ Lounge, a sleek Business Quarter, a wood-panelled library, Scandinavian-inspired event rooms, a fitness studio that turns into a screening room, a state of the art gym, the Q shop filled with carefully curated brands, a multi-use conference room as well as a café, restaurant and bar. The Alley, a space designed to get those creative juices flowing, holds a host of incredible art exhibitions and there is always a full calendar of interesting programs to entertain. There are six membership categories and applicants require recommendations from at least one existing member.
The very first line on their website is “Welcome to the private world of newsmakers, leaders and legends” – so you know this club is as exclusive as it gets. Becoming a member is quite difficult in itself and is strictly invitation or referral based. Designed by Zubin Master, principal founder of Design Matrix, the sophisticated interiors take a cue from luxurious gentlemen’s’ clubs of days gone by but add a contemporary flavour. There are elegant meeting and business spaces, private dining rooms, a cigar lounge, a café, bar and a restaurant, a cinema, an indoor golf turf, fitness centre and spa. They are also linked to international private clubs in Singapore, London, Los Angeles, and New York that are open to their members.
Another swanky club in the capital is À Ta Maison. A venue for a select few, membership is strictly by invite only. They even have a cocktail bar located in South Delhi called Pass Code Only (PCO) that requires you to show a pass code that changes a few times a week and is only sent out to a private list. The property itself boasts spaces like a beautiful teak wood bar, formal and casual dining areas, elegant library and cigar lounge, and areas to unwind like the sunroom and terrace. Pampering here includes bespoke dining, butler service, and in-house salon and styling services to name a few.
Labelling itself India’s first members’ only workspace and social club, The A is filled with cosy networking alcoves, posh business areas, a gaming and a virtual reality zone, a library, a spa, wellness and fitness amenities, a bistro serving seasonal ingredients and offering a sommelier service, brew area for artisanal coffees and the speakeasy bar that is inspired by the Prohibition era. They hold engaging events like whiskey appreciation workshops, culinary experiences, literature and leadership talks among others. They also partner with international private clubs spread out around the world. Membership, which is by invitation, has three categories – individual, corporate and atelier plans.
All images: Courtesy clubs