An overarching concept that has captured the imagination of many is “club culture,” where members have access to the best possible services, meals, events and amenities at discounted prices. The Quorum, launched by Vivek Narain in 2018, raises the bar for private clubs of this nature across the country. Described as the first private urban lifestyle club in India, it has two branches – in Gurugram and Mumbai and is set to grow further. Sunday Guardian spoke to the club’s founder in an exclusive chat. Excerpts from an edited interview:
Q. Why did you decide to create a private members-only club? What was your vision?
A. I was a board member and asset manager of SUJAN RajMahal Place – a heritage boutique hotel, part of the Relais Chateaux collection. It has always been touted as one of the best luxury hotels in the world. I also led the development of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, where I was responsible for the group’s development efforts in South Asia. Prior to that, I led financial restructuring and capital raising efforts for EWDL – a Tier II focused real estate company with commercial and residential asset portfolios.
Therefore, I have a strong background in the hospitality industry. I am also a qualified credit analyst with a BS/BA in finance and economics from American University, Washington, D.C. In addition to my professional qualifications, I am an avid traveler, avid reader of news and economic history, and a single digit handicap golfer.
I launched The Quorum at Gurugram, the brand’s flagship property, in 2018. We then opened in Mumbai in 2021 and will soon announce the launch of our third location. My vision for The Quorum was to provide hospitality in a community-driven, content-driven, design-driven and experiential space to a discerning audience of like-minded, global Indians.
The last two decades have seen a revival of private clubs in major cities around the world. This new genre of clubs, called urban lifestyle clubs, sits at the intersection of commerce, community, culture/content and creativity. With increasing urbanization, growing prosperity and a yearning to belong to a community of like-minded people with common interests, we have seen a big gap in the context of India. For the future, the need for spaces like ours has become evident. We are entering a world where, whatever 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, play and dine. You can host a dinner party or corporate retreat, while enjoying much-needed cultural food.
Q. What sets Quorum apart from traditional clubs and member associations?
A. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say The Quorum is not a one trick pony. There’s something for everyone, you could be a young entrepreneur or a career venture at the head of a multinational, and you would find value in being a member. We do this by providing our community with diverse, high-quality programming and more.
What we do well, and will always strive to continue to do at Quorum, is foster a community of people with a nuanced taste for the more eclectic things in life. Those who are curious and open to new experiences and who have a global sensibility. Your experience is not 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 about politics, literature, and art appeal to you. Or, if you’re an epicurean looking to explore world cuisine and push the boundaries of fine dining. 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 is a matter of sharing spirit. Building such a community takes time. We hold member referrals in high regard because it is the strongest and most organic way to build our community. The first 200-300 members act as a foundation and outline the membership base for years to come. I think starting slow is the way to go, because there comes a time when growth becomes exponential, so you catch up in no time. On top of that, the community drives every aspect of our business, from new memberships, F&B revenue, private events, club programs, and more. before our sales team can contact them. We have obviously learned a lot over the years and will continue to improve this process every day.
As we did at Gurugram, we also want to create a community of World Indians in Mumbai – a diverse set of people doing interesting things to shape the communities in which they find themselves.
Q. What kind of offerings does the Quorum have for its members?
A. In both cities, The Quorum places its members at the center of its unique and curated experiences. This includes world-class events that combine unparalleled thought leadership with a programming schedule spanning the spectrum of art, fashion, literature, technology, business, current affairs and more. We also have an ever-changing catering program, a strong and engaging arts program with Artery India, a unique and differentiated option to host both corporate events and social evenings in the transformative club event spaces that are available to private hire, and, specific to Mumbai, we have TBQ – The Business Quarter, a high-end, tailor-made coworking space for individuals and organisations.
On top of that, our members can also take advantage of our global reciprocal network, currently at 50 clubs in 28 countries – to truly get an authentic local experience when they travel. It is the largest global network of private clubs offered on a reciprocal basis, that any Indian brand currently offers. We’ve also collaborated with a host of brands in categories such as lifestyle, travel and hospitality, fashion and more, to provide exclusive benefits to our members.
Q. What plans for the future?
A. We are the only private member club in the country in multiple cities and our plan is to grow that footprint. Other cities across the country need spaces like The Quorum and we’re ready to give them that and more. It’s fair to assume we’ll be in two more cities in 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 discover!
Noor Anand Chawla writes lifestyle articles for various publications and his blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be contacted at [email protected]