A Lockdown Conversation With Salima Manji, Founder of The Luxe Club London

A Lockdown Conversation With Salima Manji, Founder of The Luxe Club London

Salima Manji is one of my favourite people in London and my type of woman. She’s self made, down to earth and enjoys the finer things in life. Pre-lockdown in London, Salima’s social life was one to envy, bustling and always on the go, there wasn’t a reputable restaurant or five star hotel she wasn’t a regular at.  On top of all that, she always managed to look pristine and fabulous, a Chanel bag and Van Cleef & Arpels earrings were part of her everyday uniform. I met her at Isabel’s in Mayfair at one of her famous networking events and continued to show up to every single one afterwards. I loved her crowd, her people and the way she introduced everyone to new venues around London’s prestigious Chelsea, Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Life was getting good and then life had to stop, the parties have paused momentarily.  While London may currently be in lockdown, Salima’s plans for The Luxe Club London post-lockdown are set to be one of the hottest tickets in town.

I asked, she answered…

 Hi Salima, introduce yourself 

My name is Salima Manji and I’m the founder and director of The Luxe Club, formed in early 2018 and based in London.

I organise chic events in London, mainly in Mayfair and Knightsbridge to bring my network together over lunches, dinners and drinks soirées.

It’s a tough job wining and dining my way through some of the finest establishments in London!

Although The Luxe Club is only 2 years old, I’ve had other events businesses for 5 years (2008-2013) namely Asian Dinner Club (for single affluent Asian professionals in London) and London Dinner Club (for singles of all nationalities) 

How did the idea of The Luxe Club London come about?

I’ve always enjoyed socialising in stylish places and I am passionate about dining, especially at Michelin star restaurants. I also enjoy cocktails at Private Members Clubs.

I wanted to meet other like-minded professionals and that was how The Luxe Club was formed!

A simple idea that had grown into a successful business.

What have been some of your favourite events that you’ve held?

In 2019 I organised my first Bollywood party at Sumosan Twiga, an Uber chic restaurant, Lounge and club on Sloane Street (the original opened in Monaco first, then later on in London).

We hired a great DJ and combined with the opulence of the venue, it attracted a beautiful crowd. The party ended at 2.30am but quite a few guests stayed until the lights went on and didn’t want to leave!

The sign of a successful party I think…

You’re notoriously devoted to Chelsea and Mayfair, where are some of your favourite places to frequent?

Yes, I love to frequent places so I build up a rapport with the staff and manager. That way, as a frequent customer, I’m treated exceptionally well (often with a complimentary glass of champagne!)

In Chelsea I love Beaufort House (Kings Road) and Blake’s Hotel bar.

In Mayfair I love the Dorchester Hotel’s China Tang bar for drinks and casual dinners, the Connaught Hotel bar for meetings over coffee  and Cecconis for lunches with the girls!

If you had to organise the ideal night out for someone who has never been to London, where would you recommend they go?

I often receive messages from friends requesting my advice on recommendations for nights out so this is easy:

Pre dinner drinks at Sexy Fish in Mayfair followed by dinner at Park Chinois and a nightcap at a hotel bar (Ritz Hotel or Dorchester Hotel).

For those who enjoy cigars, I would suggest the Wellesley as their cigar room is so iconic and chic.

For those who enjoy dancing until the early hours, most of the best Clubs are in Private Members Clubs. I’m a member of Home House and would take friends and guests there as it’s always fun! (Other chic clubs are Annabels and Arts Club)

How are you staying sane during the lockdown in London?

Each day in lockdown brings a different emotion and there are some days I wake and have so much energy to bake a new recipe (of course banana bread has been made weekly!) 

I’m also meditating, just 5mins when I wake and again once I’m in bed. This helps me to reflect on the day ahead, all the things I’m grateful for (and there’s a lot to be grateful for).

I have two adorable teenage kids aged 14 and 16 years old who are being schooled remotely so I’m ensuring they are logging on and I’ve created a calm learning space for them at home.

I’m also still planning fabulous events which I’m having to adjust to social distancing rules which I’m sure will continue to be followed well after lockdown eases.

But there are days where I feel lethargic and watch Netflix in bed for hours (Money Heist and Gossip Girl have been binged on!) I think it’s okay to feel a little nervous about the future given these unprecedented times we are experiencing. I never feel bad for being “unproductive” as guess what? There’s always tommorrow to do the things you didn’t manage to do today!

What are your post-lockdown predictions of London? What do you think will be the “new-normal?”

I think we have all had lots of time to think about  how the “new normal” will be in the industry you work it and also across other industries.

For the events industry, the large global events have all been cancelled this year…from Wimbledon to F1, to football matches and concerts. This has been devastating to those events companies who already planned and spent a lot of money hiring staff, only for it to not be able to go ahead.

It’s also been extremely sad for me as someone  who enjoyed the British Season of Ascot and polo, whether socially with friends or from a business angle where I was planning to bring my network.

However, we must remain positive and the new normal for me will be smaller and more intimate dinners and lunches, polo lessons and BBQ Sunday’s in the English countryside where I will invite my members to experience luxury events whilst still maintaining social distancing.

I also have a number of members looking to find love after lockdown so I’ll be very busy matchmaking and organising singles dinner parties and intimate cocktail parties!

Where will you visit first when lockdown is lifted?

Oh goodness! That’s tough but I’ll go straight to my parents house as they make the best chicken biryani! I’m craving theirs so badly.

After seeing family, I want to see my friends. I’m planning on hosting a dinner party at my home in Fulham and hire a chef and butler as I’ve cooked so much during lockdown I think I deserve to have a break! 

In fact, I’m looking to have a regular chef prepare dishes for me and my family as I want to spend my time doing all the things I haven’t done during lockdown!

Thank you for the lockdown conversation, Salima!

Stay up to date with The Luxe Club London and  Salima via her website & follow her on Instagram 

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