It’s Thursday evening and a trail of people is heading towards Grosvenor Square. They mostly go with two, in some small giggles, all well dressed in very different ways. Some are in shirts and some are in clothes, some are in hoodies and some are in trainers which cost the same as a second hand car. It seems that their destination is the same as mine. Portland is a large, gray, shining rock carved out of a beautiful Edwardian mansion.
We pass a doorman dressed in a gray cape and walk through the heavy double swing doors into the high-rise room. The chandelier reflects infinity through the endless mirrors on the walls and ceiling. There are feasts of blue velvet carved in gold, and the white and black cabochon marble floor is so shiny that you can use it for your lunch. If you were one of the members they could give you permission – they would not say exactly how many but it is said to be a few hundred – who were invited to join the London New Members Club. Has been, The Twenty-two. It’s only been open for a few weeks and they’ve already included Madonna, FKA Twigs, Idris Elba, Little Sims and Christian Lobton.
It was founded by hotel owner and restaurateur Naveed Mirturabi, a former Blacks owner in South Kensington, and a property tycoon of Jamie Reuben, one of the billionaire Reuben brothers. When I ask someone later how much it all costs, I keep quiet. But then again, everyone who works here is an experienced London club. They know their onion: it counts. Its managing director is none other than Darius Namdar, who has worked at Wollesley and is a member of the Burley Clubs.
Namdar described The Twenty-two as “a meeting point in London, east-west … it’s a melting pot of creative and curious people.” Would it be difficult for East London designers and artists to come to this glittering part of the city?
“First of all, I think it’s important to say that you don’t have to be an artist to be a part of people. I’m not what you traditionally call creative, but I generally talk about the creative arts and creativity. Also, we’ve worked hard to reduce barriers to entry in terms of cost and we don’t have a dress code and application progress for other clubs is different.
Certainly, the food in the dining room – which is also open to non-members and offers a wonderful octopus and white bean dish – is surprisingly reasonably priced for Mayfair. You can eat well and drink for about £ 30. (“It’s a five-star service, without white gloves,” says Namdar). Members under the age of 33 will pay £ 750. That would be £ 1,750 on Annabelle Road.
They are probably able to keep prices reasonably low by pricing their 31 bedrooms – one of which is The Muse House, which has its own stand cottage with its street access – normal Mayfair prices. On. The rooms are definitely impressive. Each one is different and their inspiration is wider than Mike Tyson’s. They range from the red-walled Paris Flats of Christian Dior to Josephine Bonaparte’s chat outside Paris. It’s not all fun, playful and serious.
Nick Vinson, director of design consultancy at Vinson & Co., describes the bedrooms as “a pleasant update to the old-school classics, but with a bit of humor, like trompe-l’œil herringbone parquet-patterned carpeting. It is too early to say who the customer will be but I have already shared it with some of my favorite design and fashion people. Because guests have access to member areas, including a living room, where dogs and laptops are welcome until 5 p.m., and a basement club at Maximus and Studio 54 in Paris. There is a cross in the middle.
The economic situation as it is, it is difficult to predict how any new inauguration will take place in the city. But of course, when I was passing by a crowd of people coming the other way – no one, it must be said, in a Mayfair uniform in a navy blue suit – they didn’t seem to be doing anything bad.