You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
After burning wheels on track, Formula One drivers come here to unfasten themselves. Meet Sonia Irvine who creates most amazing parties at Amber Lounge during Grand Prix weekends in Monaco, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and now in Delhi.
By profession she was a physiotherapist and never in her wildest dream had thought of hosting parties for top Formula One (F1) drivers. Sonia Irvine came in touch with the world of F1 in 1996 when her brother Eddie Irvine started racing and she became his personal physio. Then the idea of Amber Lounge kick off when they were celebrating in a finale in Brazil, everyone was confused where to go for party. After that as they say, it’s history!
Today Amber Lounge parties are one of the most loved spot for F1 fraternity and celebrity race-goers. “I wanted to create a setting where people from the F1 community could come together and have a good time. We rarely have the opportunity to get together in one place and I thought there was a need for a VIP nightlife experience where the teams, drivers, sponsors, and guests could all enjoy together,” says Sonia. “Our first party was a great success. It fascinated unbelievable number of celebrities as well as the grand prix drivers and team sponsors. Everybody had an amazing night; afterwards people said I should take Amber Lounge to other races and, with their support we’ve continued to grow from there,” talking about the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix.
So what is it really about the Amber Lounge that makes it exclusive from the other parties? “We treat every single guest as VIP, dedicted personal waitress service at their table, unlimited access, no queuing – it’s all part of making them feel special and means that our guests get straight on and party. On that, we spend a long time on our marketing material, getting the right DJ for our clients, the right singer to perform on the nights and all drinks are premium. After all, it is a one weekend in a year event for all the four destinations,” says forty eight year old enterpenuer.
It is the second year for Amber Lounge in India at The Claridges Surajkund Delhi. This time they have brought in Toboo of Black Eye Peas to perform exclusively for both Abu Dhabi and Delhi. “This time for Amber Lounge Delhi events we have partnered up with some of the best global brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Belvedere, Luxor and The Claridges, Surajkund.” She is not going to reveal the names of the celebs who are going to be there in that mega happening. “My lips are sealed. You will have to join the party and see it for yourself or read afterwards!”
Like the intresting party, intresting is the interiors of Amber Lounge she says, “The concept is to make the guest feel special from the moment they enquire about Amber Lounge. It has no roped off VIP area, as we believe everyone there is a VIP. Depending on the number of guests tables are made into areas so they have their own area to network and have fun.” Over the top, more intresting is the theme, white sofas, water bodies, and mindblowing light display. “I wanted to create that WOW factor, something which will look cool, something different and yet naughty. There is something naughty about dancing all over on white sofa. Men, drivers, women love to get on the sofas and dance!” Indeed, it sounds naughty but hope those sofa can take the weight of big Indian man?
“I have no doubt that the interest in F1 will dramatically grow in India over the next couple of years. For us it means that Amber Lounge will have a similar success in India as it did in Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi,” talking about her romance with India which started last year. “There are so many wonderful things about India: its diverse culture, amazing architecture, vibrant festivals. However, one thing in particular I love about this place is the warmth and hospitality of the Indian people. I always knew India will be fascinating and colorful country to experience, but it wasn’t until my first visit last year that I realized how much more beautiful it really is. I brought my two daughters to India, as I wanted them to experience the culture here. We did a lovely trip to the Taj Mahal.”
Talking about the family, she thinks that it was her brought-up which made her successful in her life. “We grew up in the countryside and my parents were very supportive in whatever we choose to do. But financially not stable so we learned at a very young age to think outside the box. And to be innovative with things for example going to an old dump and getting parts of bikes in order to make one bike that worked. My Dad gave us a working ethic, to work for what you want and if you want it enough – it will happen!” says Sonia Irvine knowing that a new chapter has just began.
(Published in Society Dec ’12, Page No. 54)