London’s beloved Arts Club opens in Dubai 

The club is scheduled to open late 2020. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 August 2020

London’s beloved Arts Club opens in Dubai 

  • Arts Club Dubai will be the first international outpost of the historic private members’ club in Mayfair, London 

DUBAI: The coronavirus disease pandemic hasn’t delayed the opening of London’s esteemed Arts Club’s first international outpost in Dubai. Located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) in a building designed by Foster & Partners, the club’s first international branch will occupy four floors, spanning a total area of 65,000 square feet. The idea was to create a space replicating a beautiful home, where like-minded members can mingle, relax and work throughout the day. 

“The development of the Arts Club Dubai is well underway, and we are very much looking forward to opening our doors before the end of the year,” said its COO Ajaz Sheikh. 

“As the first international outpost of the Arts Club in London, we will be celebrating its vibrant legacy, reinterpreting its values and traditions, but also reimagining the experience to match the richness and diversity of the region and all the exciting things that are happening here, especially in arts and culture,” he added.

While an exact date has yet to be set, the club is scheduled to open late 2020. 




The club is located in the Dubai International Financial Center. (Supplied)

Established in 1863 by notable literary figures to provide a haven for the arts, literature and science, over the course of its existence its members have included writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Huges and Wilkie Collins; artists such as Walter Sickert, John Everett Millais, Frederic Leighton, Auguste Rodin and James McNeill Whistler, alongside several eminent surgeons and other professionals.

In 1896, the club relocated from its original home on Hanover Square to its present 18th century townhouse at 40 Dover Street. It has survived two world wars, including a direct hit on the building during the Blitz of 1940.

“We are sure our members will embrace the spirit of our beautiful new club and we look forward to giving them unparalleled experiences in both hospitality and programming,” added Sheikh. 

A design firm, the name of which has yet to be disclosed, has been commissioned to design the club’s interiors, which will feature contemporary fixtures alongside a collection of art deco and historical pieces of furniture coupled with sumptuous and plush fabrics. 




The club’s 23,000 square foot rooftop will offer uninterrupted views of the iconic Burj Khalifa. (Supplied)

It will also encompass four meeting spaces and private dining rooms and five lounges. It will also have three restaurants, including the much-loved brasseries from London and two new homegrown concepts. There will also be eight craft cocktail bars, with each to be manned by a specialist team of waiters, bartenders and sommeliers all on hand to guide members through the meticulously sourced list of drinks. The club’s 23,000 square foot rooftop will offer uninterrupted views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, which will house the club’s nightclub, offering progressive music featuring international DJs. There’s also a cigar lounge with private cigar cabanas, a sleek event space and a library.

Applications are open to individuals interested in the arts, music, design, science, literature, health, technology, wellbeing, science entrepreneurship, business, philanthropy, law, finance and fashion. 

Membership for the Arts Club Dubai is split into four categories: Full, second* (for married couples), under 30s and international. For the full membership there is a one-off 15,750 dirham ($4,288) joining fee, followed by a 15,750 dirham annual fee. The under 30s membership is priced at 7,875 dirhams for the joining fee followed by 7,785 dirhams for the annual fee. For married couples, the membership does not require the joining fee, and the annual fee is 7,875 dirhams. 

International membership can be added to all three tiers of membership, allowing access to the Arts Club London and the upcoming outpost in Los Angeles, among others. Its annual fee is for this is 5,780 dirhams. 


India’s croon jewel: Lata Mangeshkar on turning 91 and acing the Twitter game

Updated 27 September 2020

India’s croon jewel: Lata Mangeshkar on turning 91 and acing the Twitter game

  • Legendary singer speaks to Arab News about her career spanning 75 years and a life that has ‘given her much to be grateful for’

PATNA, India: On Monday, as Lata Mangeshkar turns 91, India’s most accomplished and acclaimed playback singer says she will “continue to sing until her last breath.”

“Even today, I feel like a student of music. I have so much to learn when I compare myself to the great musicians of our country. I will sing until my last breath. There is no retirement for an artist,” Mangeshkar said during an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Born in 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Mangeshkar moved to Mumbai, Maharashtra with her family and four siblings — Meena Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar — in 1945.

After recording her first Hindi song for a film titled Aap Ki Seva Mein in 1947, she gained prominence when, at the age of 20, she regaled audiences with Aayega Aanewala in the film Mahal two years later.

“Then there was Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya from Mughal-e-Azam. Audiences would throw coins on the screen when that song came on,” she said.

To date, in a career spanning 75 years, she has recorded more than 30,000 songs in 35 Indian and foreign languages — including Malaysian, English and Nepalese — and earned a Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in the process.

But remind her about her achievements, and she shrugs it off with habitual modesty. 

“There have been many talented singers before and after me (such as) Noor Jehanji, Shamshad Begumji, Geeta Duttji before me, and my sister Asha who were all extremely talented. Among the contemporary voices, I like Alka Yagnik, Shreya Ghosal and Sunidhi Chauhan,” she said.

Nearly 60 biographies have been written about the legendary singer, but she has not authored any herself. The platform where she does unleash her creative writing skills is Twitter.

With more than 14.6 million followers since her social media debut in 2010, the nonagenarian says she turns to Twitter to “stay in touch with friends” and has rarely forgotten to commemorate a colleague’s death or birth anniversary with a tweet on occasion.

“It’s the least we can do. We owe it to the entertainment industry. Earlier, we could pick up the phone and talk to one another. The only option I have is to meet them on social media,” she said.

And while there are no “fixed hours” for her time spent on the social media platform, she tweets when she has “something to say.”

“Otherwise, I stay away. Social media is addictive, and I advise more personal contact than virtual,” she added.

While the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing lockdown across India since March this year meant restriction on movement, Mangeshkar said that it did not derail her offline schedule.

After a “severe” lung infection last year, and based on doctor’s orders, she now leads a quiet, secluded life at her home in South Mumbai.

“The doctors have severely curtailed all my activities, including movie-watching,” she said, adding that she enjoys listening to music, as long as they are not her songs.

“I don’t listen to my songs. If I did, I’d find a hundred mistakes in my singing. Even in the past, once I finished recording a song, I was done with it,” she said.

This, however, was not the case for several Indian actresses, from Madhubala in the 1950s to Sridevi in the 1980s, who insisted on Mangeshkar singing for their onscreen personas. 

The supreme songstress has sung for five generations of Bollywood heroines, but ask her which actress did most justice to her voice on-screen and she replies after a pause: “That’s a tough one because each heroine brought something special to my songs. But I’d have to go with Nutan. She was a singer herself, and when she emoted my songs, she sang along. The way she performed on Mann Mohana Bade Jhothe (Seema) is exemplary. Jaya Bachchan is also one of my favorites. I think the way she emoted to Bahon Mein Chale Aao (Anamika) added a lot to the song’s enduring popularity.”

And her career-defining song?

“It would have to be Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon (a patriotic song). No matter where I go, people ask about it, and some even ask me to sing it for them,” she said, before considering the question of her “lasting legacy” to the world.

“I honestly don’t know, but if I’ve received so much love for so long, I must’ve done something right.”

Borrowing a few lines from one of her popular songs, she seals off her birthday advice with a message for her fans: “Light one lamp to another and let the love flow. We are going through the worst possible phase in the history of civilization due to the coronavirus. Be kind and generous to those who are less privileged than you. Now is the time to stop being tight-fisted.”