In the first of CityOut's regular new feature, we speak to Amber Lounge founder Sonia Irvine.
Monaco has many institutions. One of the most esteemed is the world famous Amber Lounge; brain child of Monaco resident Sonia Irvine, who also happens to be the sister of ex-formula one maestro, Eddie Irvine. Amber Lounge, originally created in 2003, has expanded exponentially and the famous parties now take place across the globe. From Singapore, to Mexico City, Amber Lounge is synonymous with the glamour and glitz of F1 and in this week’s People Who Make Monaco Interview, Sonia lets us know a little more about what makes her tick.
Q: How long have you lived in the Principality?
I have lived in Monaco for more than twelve years now. When I came for the first time, I instantly fell in love with it. I feel really good here.
Q: What three traits define you?
I would say positive, determined and fun-loving.
Q: Who are your heroes?
My brother Eddie. He always has a positive mindset, and it rubs off on anyone that spends time with him. My parents are also very inspiring to me.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I have so many special memories, but if I had to choose one, I would say the first ever Amber Lounge. During the party, everyone kept coming up to me and telling me what a good night they were having and why hadn’t I done this earlier. A lot of celebrities attended that night, and since then, the list hasn’t stopped growing.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge of your career so far?
Every event is a new challenge, as our objective is always to make it bigger and better. This year’s Monaco programme is going to set the bar even higher as we have a lot of surprises organised for our guests to make it an even more memorable experience.
Q: What is your favourite place to eat or drink in Monaco?
Naturally, I’m going to say Amber Summer but only because it was conceived as offering a fantastic day-into-night experience for drinks or dinner, and that is what we’ve created. I love to spend time there with friends, to relax and catch-up.I launched the concept in Monaco last year at Le Meridien Beach Plaza hotel and it was a real success. It’ll be back this year from the 9th of June, so make sure to visit us. The atmosphere, the food, the drinks from our world-class mixologists…everything there guarantees an amazing evening!
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
For now I can’t imagine living without my job because it’s my passion, but I am pretty sure that if it was not this, I would probably have worked in medical care. I hate seeing people suffer and I always try to do whatever I can to help people in tough situations; that’s also why I care so much about the Amber Lounge charity auction. This year, it will be very special as we are supporting Sir Jackie Stewart’s Foundation ‘Race Against Dementia’. Both his wife Helen and my mum live with this terrible disease, so we will do everything we can to raise funds on Friday 26th of May at Amber Lounge.
Q: How do you define success?
The only way to succeed for me is to focus on your goals, surround yourself with smart and reliable people and, most importantly, be motivated.
Q: What is your favourite book?
The Woman in White
Many people see me as a businesswoman but I am also mum to two beautiful daughters and I love spending time with them more than anything. Family is the most important thing to me.
Q: What do you love about Monaco?
Everything! It is where I live and where I have raised my family, and there is truly no place like home. The sun, the sea, but not only that. Monaco offers such a lot in terms of culture, sports and entertainment for both adults and kids. Obviously, my preferred time of the year in Monaco is when the Grand Prix event takes place; no matter how long I have been involved in F1, I always get the same level of excitement when that time of the year comes around!
Q: If you could have one wish, what would it be?
More time with my family. When I’m not at the office, travelling or in meetings, I spend most of the time with my children, they bring me so much joy. I intend to do more and more stuff with them: sports, games, bike rides. I also love hosting dinner parties at home with family and friends.
Q: What is it that makes Amber Lounge so special?
Amber Lounge is a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone should live at least once in their life. Where else can you party and relax away from the racetrack with F1 drivers, celebrities, royalty and VIPs while sipping on the finest drinks and listening to great music? Only at Amber Lounge! You should come and see for yourself! You can book at firstname.lastname@example.org.