Visiting One Of Mumbai’s Most Exclusive Clubs Revealed A Surprisingly Inclusive Culture
We spent a night at one of the most exclusive clubs in Mumbai. Here’s our experience
Ever since I received an invitation from the Soho House Mumbai, my phone had been buzzing with a flurry of messages, ranging from “How did you get in?” to “Can I come along?” I know where I stand in terms of popularity amongst my friends and acquaintances, so imagine my surprise when suddenly everyone wanted to be my best friend. What was the catch?
A little bit of digging and social media stalking revealed that Soho House is ‘THE’ place where the who’s who of the Mumbai social scene hangs out. My initial impression was to brush it off as yet another elite club that judges you for the shoes you wear, but that changed when the folks at Soho House Mumbai mentioned that their club is more “geared towards artists and creatives of all professions.” They now had my full attention.
I knew I had to check the place out and see if the hype was worth all the spam I received from long-forgotten friendships. Here’s my exclusive, all-access experience staying at one of the most happening places in town.
Grandiose? No. Minimal? Yes
Situated in the posh locality of Juhu, the 11-storeyed building of Soho House Mumbai is inconspicuous. While my cab pulled over near the entrance, for a moment, I wasn’t sure if I was at the right place.That’s, however, done on purpose. The club doesn’t want to welcome you with ivory plated gates, with a bouquet in one hand and a glass of rosé in the other.
Instead, the theme here is minimal. This is something you’ll notice as soon as you enter the property. For me, it was like stepping into The Tardis. The muted yet tasteful interiors, the soothing music playing in the background… and for a second I forgot I was in Mumbai!
Not A “Luxury” Property
My perceived notion of Soho House being a hangout spot for the elites went out of the window the moment I walked in. While there’s a certain sophistication to the place, you won’t see some 60-year olds talking about golf. Instead, you’ll find a group of mid-20s and 30s millennials, going about their day.
The best way to describe it would be to call it a very polished co-working space, with one exception. Soho House promotes itself as a “collaborative space for artists.” The highlight here is being the ability to network with some of the top creatives in the country. This includes different writers, photographers, actors and artists.
One such member, Ishaan Nair, photographer and visual artist, spoke to us. He said, “Apart from having the best view in town my membership at Soho House Mumbai has led to multiple new professional opportunities; it’s a melting pot of creative people where even a casual conversation with a fellow member can end up giving me a new perspective on my art form.”
Soho House Member Perks
This brought me to my next question. For the amount Soho House charges for its membership, it has to be something more than an in-person Linkedin, right? And in a way it is.
Members of the club and their guests have full access to the entire property. This includes access to the ‘The Rooftop,’ which houses a pool with cabanas, an open bar and an area for members to lounge and dine in. There is a main member’s area on the 8th floor with a dining room and a vintage speakeasy attached to it. On the 9th floor, there is the cutest little library I’ve ever seen! I could’ve spent all my time just there.
Additionally, the house organizes a number of events. These can be booked using the Soho House app, which also allows you to connect with other Soho House members across the globe. These events could range from a Gin & Jazz night to a discussion on NFTs. I attended the Gin & Jazz night and had a ball of a time.
Non-members need not worry. They can access the sea-facing Italian restaurant, Cecconi’s, and alsorent the ‘Eva’ room (a recreational space) or the screening room.
Heart Of The Matter
“What about the food?” you may be wondering. Soho House’s in-house Italian restaurant, Cecconi’s, is open to the public. Let me tell you the view from here was just something else, and evenings are the best time to check it out.
Then there’s The Club, where the Gin & Jazz event was held, and the Rooftop, which is exclusive to members. The food at all three places was delectable. I shamelessly gorged on the ongoing Spanish menu at The Club.
One aspect of Soho House that I really appreciate is its no phone calls or pictures policy. This isn’t limited just to the restaurants but is applicable through most of the property.
Keeping It Classy
During my walk from the reception area to the bedroom allocated to me (from the 38 rooms), I must’ve spotted over a dozen distinctive interior and antique pieces. Each piece is different from the other. While I am no expert in interior design, nor do I have the eye for it, the whole place has a very unique pre-colonial look to it. The attention to detail here is quite impressive.
The rooms are huge, especially considering Mumbai’s limited real estate. Just like everywhere else on the property, the attention to detail here is awe-inspiring. Every little nook and cranny is bursting with details; be it the antique furniture or the classic Indian artwork. There’s also a cute little rotary-dial-type telephone, and I may have wanted to take it home.
Credit where credit is due, founder and CEO Nick Jones and director of Soho House Design, Linda Boronkay have put a lot of thought into the place. They claim each of its houses are slightly different, depending on the location. The Mumbai house is covered in over 200 pieces of art, from artists like Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Thukral and Tagra.
Sign Us Up!
During my day-and-a-half at Soho House Mumbai, I never felt the need to straighten my collar, or hold my wine glass a certain way to look “proper.” Folks at Soho actually prefer you dress up in casuals and not suits. The whole atmosphere was quite inclusive and welcoming. So, would I consider applying for a membership? Yes.
If you feel the same way, membership at Soho House Mumbai starts from Rs 67,260, and goes all the way up to Rs 2.67 lakh a year (excluding a one-time registration charge). However, don’t expect to fill out your application and get handed over the card keys. Soho House follows a certain selection criteria, which they’ve remained tight-lipped about despite my repeated persistence.
However, in case you do apply, Soho House Mumbai wants us to highlight that it will not judge your application purely on financial or social merit.