A global concept that has caught the imagination of many is ‘club culture’, where members are privy to the best services, food, events, and amenities possible at discounted prices. Raising the bar for private clubs of this nature around the country is The Quorum, launched by Vivek Narain in 2018. Described as India’s first urban lifestyle private members club, it has two branches – in Gurugram and Mumbai and is set to grow further. Sunday Guardian spoke to the founder about the club in an exclusive chat. Excerpts from an edited interview:
Q. Why did you decide to start a members-only private club? What was your vision for it?
A. I have been a past board member and asset manager of SUJAN RajMahal Place – a boutique heritage palace hotel, which is part of the Relais Chateaux collection. It has been consistently featured as one of the top luxury hotels in the world. I also headed development for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, where I was responsible for the group’s development efforts across South Asia. Before that, I led the financial restructuring and capital raising efforts for EWDL – a Tier-II focused real estate firm with portfolios of retail and residential assets.
Hence, I have a strong background in the hospitality sector. I am also a qualified credit analyst with a BS/BA in Finance and Economics from American University, Washington, D.C. Apart from my professional qualifications, I’m an ardent traveler, voracious reader of current affairs and economic history, and a single digit handicap golfer.
I launched The Quorum in Gurugram, the brand’s flagship property, in 2018. We then opened in Mumbai in 2021 and are soon going to announce the launch of our third location. My vision for The Quorum was to offer hospitality in a community-led, content-driven, design-focused, and experiential space, to a discerning audience of like-minded global Indians.
The last two decades have witnessed a renaissance of private member clubs across key cities around the world. This new genre of clubs which are referred to as urban city lifestyle clubs lie at the intersection of commerce, community, culture/content, and creativity. With increasing urbanization, growing prosperity, and an aspiration to belong to a community of likeminded people with shared interests, we saw a big gap in the context of India. Looking ahead, the need for spaces such as ours has become evident. We are entering a world where no matter the nature of your profession, you can work from anywhere. The Quorum was designed to be that quintessential third space – a place where you can work as well as entertain and dine. You can host a dinner party or a corporate thought retreat, while getting some much-needed cultural nourishment.
Q. What sets The Quorum apart from traditional clubs and membership associations?
A. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say The Quorum isn’t a one trick pony. There is something for everyone, you could be a young entrepreneur or a career corporate leading an MNC, and you would find value in being a member. We do this by offering our community high quality, diverse programming and much more.
What we do well and will always strive to keep doing at The Quorum, is to foster a community of people with a nuanced taste for the more eclectic things in life. Those that are curious and open to newer experiences and have global sensibilities. Your background isn’t as important as the future you want to create and the community you want to grow in.
You would be drawn to The Quorum if conversations on politics, literature, and art interest you. Or, if you’re an epicurean looking to explore world cuisine and push the boundaries of gastronomy. If you want to network or relax and channel your energies or let your hair down and connect with like-minded people… you will call The Quorum your home.
Q. How does the membership model work?
A. Our goal, when selecting members, has never been exclusivity, it’s all about like-mindedness. Building such a community takes time. We hold member referrals in high regard as that is the strongest and most organic way of building our community. The first 200-300 members act as the foundation and are descriptive of the member base for years to come. I feel starting slow is the way to go, because there comes a point where growth becomes exponential, so you make up for it in no time. In addition to that, the community drives all aspects of our business, be it new memberships, F&B revenue, private events, club programming etc. We have a membership committee that comprises me and select members from the membership advisory board, who review every application before our sales team can reach out to them. We have obviously learnt a lot over the years and will continue to improve this process every day.
Like we have done in Gurugram, we are keen on building a community of global Indians in Mumbai as well – a diverse set of folks doing interesting things to shape the communities they are in.
Q. What kind of offerings does The Quorum have for its members?
A. Across both cities, The Quorum puts its members at the center of its unique and curated experiences. This includes world-class events that piece together unparalleled thought leadership with a programming calendar across the spectrum of art, fashion, literature, tech, business, current affairs and more. We also have an ever-evolving food and beverage program, a robust and engaging art program with Artery India, a unique and differentiated option to host both corporate events and social soirees across the club’s transformative event spaces which are available for private hire, and, specific to Mumbai, we have TBQ – The Business Quarter, a premium, coworking space tailor-made to individuals and organizations.
In addition to this, our members can also enjoy our global reciprocal network, currently at 50 clubs across 28 countries – to truly get an authentic local experience when they travel. This is the largest network of global private members clubs offered on a reciprocal basis, that any Indian brand currently offers. We have also collaborated with a host of brands across categories like lifestyle, travel and hospitality, fashion and more, to offer exclusive benefits to our members.
Q. What plans for the future?
A. We are the country’s only homegrown private members club across multiple cities and our plan is to increase this footprint. Other cities across the country need spaces like The Quorum and we are poised to offer them that and more. It’s fair to assume that we will be in two more cities over the next 24 months. We are also on the drawing board to revolutionize the future of work through a new concept that you will have to wait a little longer to find out about!
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.