Sonia Irvine - The Amber Life!

You want to party? Do it at the best haunt - Amber Lounge. But sorry folks, you got to wait till next year now. In the meanwhile, here's a little glimpse as we talk to Sonia Irvine

By: Soumya Jain

Posted on: November 14, 2012

You want to party? Do it at the best haunt – Amber Lounge. But sorry folks, you got to wait till next year now. In the meanwhile, here’s a little glimpse as we talk to Sonia Irvine.

India loves to party. You just need to look at our festivities and the amount of money we spend on celebrations to ascertain this fact.

So when Amber Lounge followed the footsteps of Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula 1 race and came to India last year, we knew no bounds of our happiness! This mother of all after parties is not only the most exclusive, but the most expensive as well. Their many options of tables, seating eight guests, started from 5,200 euros going up to 15,000 euros, while the individual passes cost one 650-800 euros, depending on the day of the party you wanted to attend. And a dinner at Amber Lounge cleaned people of 250 euros.

While the crowds frenzied over Lady Gaga last year, they swayed and sashayed to the tunes of Taboo (from Black Eyed Peas) this year. Belvedere Vodka became the official pouring spirit of Amber Lounge and they even created six special cocktails which were only served at Amber Lounge. The lovely Dom Perignon champagne flowed freely of course at the party place which was located at The Claridges Surajkund.

After all this excitement and whirling around, we caught up with Ms Sonia Irvine, the founder and owner of the Amber Lounge party concept, who gave us a short, candid interview.

Soumya Jain: How did the concept of Amber Lounge come in your mind? What led to the planting of the seed? Was it your brother Eddie, who is a F1 racer, who gave the idea?
Sonia Irvine: I was with the Ferrari team in Brazil when I came up with the idea. We were trying to find a place to party and celebrate the end of race but gave up and it was then that the seeds of Amber Lounge were born – a place where everyone from the F1 fraternity could come together and enjoy themselves over the Grand Prix weekend. As for Eddie, well, he knows what is and isn’t a good party and he keeps coming back!

SJ: How has Amber Lounge grown from strength to strength? Was it difficult to implement the idea for the first time?
SI: I wanted it to be stylish and different – a fun, lively party rather than a formal black-tie affair. I was lucky that I had been involved in F1 for quite a few years and knew the teams and drivers who all supported me with my new idea. Ten years on, I still have their support for which I am grateful.

SJ: Comparing with Monaco, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, do the Indian rich demand something different from Amber Lounge? Any unique experiences you had in this country which you can share with us?
SI: We have found that our Indian clients want a more exclusive and intimate party. So the number of guests is more limited in Delhi.

SJ: Amber Lounge is the most luxurious F1 after party. How do you manage to raise the bar every time? How difficult is it?
SI: The key to a really great party is the atmosphere. We work hard on the seating arrangements to ensure people get to sit where they feel most comfortable and so relax. We know who to put on the dance floor tables and who will stand and dance on the sofas… Music is also key. We have DJs who play for VIP guests and know music which will invigourate the crowd. Live acts have now become an element of Amber Lounge and we make sure this act adds to the night. In Delhi, we had Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas. He was incredible with his singing, dancing and DJing. He really did bring a world class element to the two nights!

SJ: Do you consider the many other Indian after parties in India as competition?
SI: Amber Lounge was the first Grand Prix after party. We have such a strong reputation now. I always believe on focusing on what you are doing. Do the best you can rather than look at others and lose yourself. Just do what you do to the best of your ability and one can ask no more.

SJ: What three things you take care of diligently when creating the exclusive Amber Lounge experience in each country?
SI: Inside Amber lounge, we always have our signature white sofas, black walls and carpets, lit branding boxes and bars and our Moroccan chill out terrace.

SJ: How do you define luxury and how do you incorporate your concept in Amber Lounge?
SI: Being able to enjoy life is a true luxury, and at Amber Lounge, clients are encouraged to really let their hair down and have fun in a magnificent atmosphere. The concept is to give people a VIP experience, to make them feel special from the moment they enquire about Amber Lounge right to the service they receive inside the club. Nothing is too much trouble. Amber Lounge has no roped off VIP area as we believe everyone there is a VIP. It’s a place where people relax and do business as well as have fun. So we try and tick all the boxes for all needs.

SJ: Where do you go from here? Any future plans?
SI: Next year Amber Lounge will celebrate its 10th anniversary and will host its first party in the USA along the Austin Texas F1 Grand Prix race. I am really looking forward to 2013!

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