The Quorum: Changing the status quo
The National Capital Region’s newest club will be, as the promoters explain, “your home away from home and your workplace away from work”. It will also be an attempt to bridge the gap between Delhi’s iconic clubs, where it is almost impossible to get a membership, and five-star hotels. Founded by Vivek Narain and his wife Sonya Jehan, The Quorum, a members-only lifestyle club, will open its 20,000 sq.ft space in Gurugram, adjacent to the Capital, in November.
It will be the latest in a series of private-member clubs. The Indus, for instance, opened in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex in April and is expected to expand its footprint to Delhi early next year.
Narain describes The Quorum as a sophisticated creative environment where people can work and conduct business, combined with elements such as art, culture and music. “We are by definition a very collaborative space. We have surrounded ourselves with some very smart people... Dynamism comes from diversity and that’s our No. 1 goal.”
The private business club will also provide its members additional club facilities in London, Dubai, Singapore, Lagos, Nairobi and Bahrain, through its tie up with four international clubs.
“We are inspired by what’s happening in the club business around the world. There’s a new genre that’s emerging and I’ve been studying that for the last couple of years.
“Outside of the condominium clubs, which are new and cater to a community of residents, there are the old clubs of Delhi, like the Gymkhana or the Golf Club, which are almost 100 years old. So I think there is a big opportunity in the massive new India out there, filled with new aspirations,”explains Narain, a banker with a degree in finance and economics. He acquired a taste for the rigours and nuances of hospitality while heading development for Fairmont and Raffles (of FRHI Hotels & Resorts) across South Asia, owned by hospitality group AccorHotels.
Narain hopes The Quorum will be comparable to The Belvedere and Chambers, the clubs at the Oberoi and Taj hotels, respectively. He visited over 30 clubs around the world before setting up The Quorum. “At the time, I also sowed the seeds of reciprocity with them and we have a reciprocal relationship with four clubs. So our members will have access to these clubs when they travel abroad,” says Narain. London’s Devonshire Club and The Hospital Club, two of the four, are among his personal favourites.
The club, which aims to have around 2,000 members over five years, will start with about 300-400 founding members, drawn from the network of friends and families of the founders and the board of directors. “We want the corporates, we want the entrepreneurs, the technology mavericks. I definitely want the youngsters. There is a separate under-35 membership category. We are very focused on youngsters and, most importantly, we are very focused on gender balance here. We want 50% women members here in their individual capacity. It’s a stated goal for us. We didn’t want to filter by the size of your wallet, we wanted to filter by what you’re doing,” he adds.
According to Akash Sheth, managing director at the Magnanimous Group, a Mumbai-based luxury consultancy, the emergence of private-member clubs in India gained momentum three-four years ago. “Club culture in India has been around for a while but unfortunately, most private-member clubs are limited to five-star hotels, unlike globally,” he says.
“Over the last 10-12 years, and particularly the last 3-4 years, these individual private clubs have started to come up driven by lifestyle changes, in response to the demand for co-working spaces. These clubs will work as venues for private meetings, a place to meet like-minded people,”adds Sheth.