While the words ‘private luxury club’ might conjure images of gilded interiors, plush leather sofas and liveried butlers, Embassy BLVD Club is a complete contrast with its contemporary, understated chic. Spread across an impressive one lakh square feet, stone cut walls and avant-garde sculptures (curated by Gallery G) are what catch your eye as you pull into the palm tree-lined driveway. Located at the entrance to Embassy Boulevard’s luxury enclave in north Bengaluru, the club opened its doors about two years ago. Describing it as Bengaluru’s first luxury club, EmandaVaz, General Manager—Club Membership and Head Marketing—of Hospitality Business, says, “Located in the centre of north Bengaluru unlike most other clubs in the city, we have created a social institution that is a couple of years ahead of its time. Since the entire city is moving north, we are in the right place.” She’s not off the mark. The area is home to a sea of ongoing residential projects.
However, you would need to meet the club’s exacting standards to be accepted as a member. From prominent actors, sportspersons, industrialists and corporate bigwigs, the club’s 400-strong member base comprises of Bengaluru’s elite. Interestingly, about 50-60 per cent of the club members comprise of NRIs and expats from across 45 different nationalities. During our tour of the premises, we couldn’t help but notice that the well-equipped gym, Tone, was largely populated by expat members many of whom also reside at the uber luxurious residences surrounding the club. To some extent this demographic flavours the club’s calendar of events. For instance, apart from celebrating Diwali and Christmas, they observe events such as St Patrick’s Day, Swedish May Day and Halloween.
Spread across three floors, the club is centred around a temperature-controlled swimming pool on the first floor. There’s a sense of openness and calm fuelled by Bengaluru’s salubrious weather and the green expanse of the surrounding area. What’s particularly lovely is a gazebo-like dining space next to a koi fish pond. While it’s on the first floor like the bar and restaurant, it is set slightly apart imparting a sense of privacy and enchantment. Designed by the Andy Fischer Workshop based in Singapore, all the amenities and lounge areas are tucked into neat corners and spaces ensuring sufficient privacy across levels. On the ground floor, for instance, is the gym, workout studio (where weekly pilates and yoga classes are held) and the spa, which is followed by badminton and squash courts. On the same level, a grand 17,000 sqft banquet room opens out into the lawn—both of which have been venues for interesting events such as photographer Shibu Arrakal’s smartphone photography workshop and an open air screening of Roman Holiday on Valentine’s Day. Two tennis courts located just outside the main building complete the sporting facilities. A colourful kids room on the first floor comes equipped with soft toys, books, TV and a play area to keep young guests occupied.
The guest suite where we spent the night—one of 14 spread out over the second and third floors—is spacious and comfortable with access to a private balcony. The highlights of our overnight stay at the club, however, were two memorable meals at their multi-specialty restaurant Core and a heady cocktail at the bar, Spirit. Helmed by Vikas Seth, Culinary Director at Embassy Leisure Entertainment and Projects LLP, the menu may not be extensive but it offers a fair selection of choices across cuisines and best of all, a weekly specials menu. During our visit, it was biryani week and the rich nalligosht biryani was worth the calories. From the porcini mushroom and barley soup topped with truffle oil to Norwegian Atlantic silver salmon served with beurreblanc and veggies, each dish was impeccable. Their signature desserts—a melt-in-the-mouth Fudge Mocha Slice and an inspiredgajarhalwa ice cream—were memorable enough to warrant repeat orders. But it was the Diamond Crusted Martini—vodka and triple sec topped with champagne—that will make you feel like a million bucks as you sip your drink under a sophisticated light display at Spirit. The discerning design even allows a section of the lounge bar to be demarcated into meeting rooms for the club’s considerable corporate clientele who like to mix business with pleasure.
But if there’s one thing that makes the long drive to Embassy BLVD club worthwhile, it’s their spa, Illume. We tried their signature spa package, Illuminate, which included a gold sugar scrub, lavender treatment and massage—a deeply satisfying experience. As you sink into the delicious warmth of the temperature-controlled massage bed, we guarantee that your worries will melt away for a couple of hours. As a trained Thai masseuse expertly kneads away your knots, the blissful experience is elevated by the application of heated pads of sweet-smelling lavender and herbs. End the healing experience on a sweet note, sipping on the ginger tea which tastes like gingerbread cookies. There’s a salon coming up on the premises early next year promising world class beauty, hair and skin treatments and a nail bar.
As Vaz points out, the Embassy BLVD embodies a contemporary vibe whether it’s their design aesthetic, F&B choices or the unobtrusive service. This focus is completely at odds with the direction of existing clubs in the city—most of which have a colonial hangover and are often packed to the brim (the allure of reasonably-priced liquor is an added attraction). While Embassy BLVD’s streamlined, sleek aesthetic offers a new idea of what it means to belong to a club in Bengaluru. So ask yourself, is this niche yet communal club up your boulevard?
Memberships at Embassy BLVD Club start at Rs. 2 lakh per annum.
Embassy BLVD Club offers members reciprocal club affiliations around world, such as, Devonshire Club in London and Saint James Club in Paris, among several others listed here: https://blvdclub.in/reciprocal-clubs/
Shivani Kagti is a Bengaluru-based freelance writer who has previously worked with publications such as Midday, People magazine and Bangalore Mirror. Having grown up with a view of the Himalayan foothills from her farmhouse in upper Assam, she's always on the lookout for wilder horizons.