The popularity of London’s members’ clubs means new, niche venues are arriving, and stalwarts are reinventing themselves. Jenny Southan reports
Waiting lists for many of London’s most popular members’ clubs are six months long, and demand shows no signs of abating.
Fortunately, many more are opening for business people keen to have their own private bolthole in the capital.
Niche-interest ventures are a new trend, with 67 Pall Mall leading the way for wine connoisseurs, for example, while hotels such as Café Royal are also getting in on the act.
Health and fitness is playing a bigger part in “lifestyle” offerings, with state-of-the-art gyms and even rooftop pools made available to signatories at the likes of the South Kensington Club and the forthcoming Curtain Club.
Meanwhile, Soho House continues to expand. Having launched Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire this summer, along with a new location on London’s Dean Street, it is set to open further hangouts in the capital over the next year or two, both under this brand and others.
Here is a round-up of new and forthcoming arrivals on the scene.
12 HAY HILL
This business club opened just off Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in September. Set across five floors, it has 25 high-spec serviced offices, 11 meeting rooms, and breakout spaces. All offices have natural light.
On the ground floor, the 80-seat Dining Room is led by Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin. On the fourth level is the Club lounge, featuring two meeting rooms, Italian furniture and a bar. There is also a private dining room for 12 people, a 60-cover roof terrace and a bar/deli.
Open on weekdays only, 12 Hay Hill is open 7am-11.30pm for Individual members and 24 hours for Resident members.
The smallest office costs £7,500 per month. Corporate membership is for a minimum 12 months with desks costing £1,250 per month.
Individual membership is £100 a month for those based overseas or £150 a month for locals, plus a £500 joining fee. 12hayhill.com
UPSTAIRS AT L’ESCARGOT
Dating back to the 1920s, Greek Street restaurant L’Escargot was wildly popular in the 1980s and ’90s.
Last year it was bought by Home House co-founder Brian Clivaz, who has given it a makeover, with the upper floors of the Georgian building turned into a private club, Upstairs at L’Escargot.
The venue has six colourful salons for working, socialising and conducting meetings, each decorated in an eclectic mix of original artwork and antique furniture.
Brasserie-style food and drink is available all day, and there are also weekly members’ lunches, evening networking and a cultural programme of poetry, chess, wine tastings, cabaret and photography exhibitions.
Membership costs £450 a year plus a £250 joining fee. lescargot.co.uk
CLUB AT CAFE ROYAL
The five-star Café Royal hotel reopened on Regent Street in 2012 after extensive renovations.
In October last year, the first floor became a private club (guests staying in suites get temporary membership). At its heart is the mezzanine Gallery – seating 50, it overlooks the Ten Room brasserie below and has inviting armchairs for coffee meetings.
Other facilities include the Library bar, with original works by David LaChapelle; a private dining room for 12 people; the Studio, a large, light-filled living room and bar used for work or events (there is a regular programme of talks and performances); and the gilded Domino Room restaurant.
Membership is £600 a year; no joining fee. clubcaferoyal.com
SOHO HOUSE 76 DEAN STREET
After 20 years, and with 14 members’ clubs now in operation across Europe and North America, Nick Jones continues to build his empire.
His best-known clubs in London are Shoreditch House and the original Soho House on Greek Street, the latter of which closes for a revamp at the start of 2016.
Soho House 76 Dean Street opened in the summer. The four-floor Georgian townhouse has numerous dining and living rooms, a central courtyard, a roof deck and a 45-seat cinema. The interior design is chic, with marble fireplaces, chandeliers, pretty cornicing, leather Chesterfields and lots of artwork.
Membership rates for “creative souls” are £800 per year for 76 Dean Street, or £1,400 for access to every house worldwide.
Jones has also bought Kettner’s restaurant and champagne bar on Soho’s Romilly Street with a view to restoring the entire block and turning its upper floors into private suites. It is rumoured to open in 2018 as Kettner’s Townhouse, although details have not been confirmed. sohohousedeanstreet.com
67 PALL MALL
Set to open in December, 67 Pall Mall occupies a Lutyens-designed former banking hall.
This “niche interest” club for wine connoisseurs offers “a space in which to explore, savour and share the finest and rarest wines from around the world”.
Master sommelier Ronan Sayburn, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Holdings, says: “Our guests have access to an edited selection of wines from 5,000 bins. In addition, we have an extensive choice of around 500 wines available by the glass, including Château Latour 1961.”
Spread across three floors, there is a lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows facing St James’s Palace, a “wine library” of thousands of bottles stored in a temperature- controlled environment, a mezzanine for reading, two meeting rooms and a restaurant led by head chef Marcus Verberne (of J Sheekey and Le Caprice).
Members can store their own bottles in the Chatwood “Invincible” Strongroom, a former bank safe. There are also wine-themed events, tastings and dinners.
Membership is £1,000 a year plus a £1,000 joining fee. 67pallmall.co.uk
SOUTH KENSINGTON CLUB
Fitness and well-being are central to the ethos of the South Kensington Club, which opened its doors on Harrington Road in June.
The four-floor former Georgian Music Hall was once the home of Pineapple Dance Studios and, later, Ronnie Wood’s Harrington Club.
Facilities at the venue include a roof terrace, a 60-seat Mediterranean restaurant, a juice bar and a tea library. In addition, there is a state-of-the-art gym, three yoga studios and treatment rooms.
Health and fitness assessments are available from osteopaths, physiotherapists and acupuncturists. A Turkish bathhouse was set to open in December, providing “aquatic body work” in London’s only saltwater Watsu pool, along with massage therapies and a hammam treatment room.
Membership costs £3,500 a year or £2,736 for people based in another country. southkensingtonclub.com
This Soho institution marked its 30th birthday in 2015 with a revamp by Michaelis Boyd Associates.
Reception was relocated to a discreet side entrance on Dean Street, a lift added and a library installed, while the bars, dining rooms and event spaces were all modernised after years of “abuse” from its colourful inhabitants.
The overall mood is much the same, and the building just as warren-like, but the interiors are visibly fresher. The club is also renovating its 20 bedrooms.
Membership costs £850 a year for Londoners and £650 for those based overseas; £200 joining fee. thegrouchoclub.com
NEW HOTEL ROOMS
THE HOSPITAL CLUB
Popular among media types, the Hospital Club on Covent Garden’s Endell Street unveiled 15 bedrooms on its third floor at the beginning of 2015.
Available to members at a discounted rate, they can also be booked by the public, who then gain access to the club’s restaurant, bars, screening room and event space.
The corridors are lined with strange moulds of medical equipment, teeth and bones as a reminder of the venue’s former life.
Rooms range from Small (11-15 sqm) to Suite (60 sqm) and feature LG Ultra HD 4K televisions, free wifi, comfy Savoir beds, Ren toiletries, Roberts radios and “brain power” toolkits from the School of Life.
They also have colourful Missoni-style carpets, full-height timber headboards, vintage books and works by a variety of artists.
Room rates from £180. Annual membership £825 (international rate £625); £250 joining fee. thehospitalclub.com
THE ARTS CLUB
The Arts Club first opened in 1863 on Hanover Square, with Charles Dickens one of its co-founders. In 1896, it moved to Mayfair’s Dover Street and, in 2011, a lavish renovation was completed.
In October the club unveiled a new dedicated boutique hotel on floors three to five, with 16 rooms and suites starting from 32 sqm.
Interiors are understated and luxurious, with cashmere throws, Calacatta Oro marble bathrooms, “maxi bars” with a range of spirits, Nespresso machines and photography by Sam Taylor-Johnson and Guy Bourdin.
Rooms are only bookable by members or their guests, with rates starting from £600. Annual membership costs £2,000, plus a £2,000 joining fee. theartsclub.co.uk
Home House’s Brian Clivaz is also planning a new venture at 4-5 Devonshire Square in the City, transforming a 19th-century warehouse into a 68-room hotel and “full-service luxury lifestyle” club.
To be completed by May 2016, at a cost of £25 million, it will have a lounge, bars, a 110-seat brasserie, a library, screening and dining rooms, plus a garden with a cigar terrace. A spa, pilates studio and gym with be located in an adjacent townhouse.
Clivaz told industry site thecaterer.com that the venue would “attract financiers and city professionals but [would] also be a natural haven for creative executives.”
Michael Achenbaum, president of the Gansevoort Hotel Group, is building the Curtain hotel and members’ club on Curtain Road in Shoreditch.
Opening next summer, the hotel will have 114 rooms and six suites, co-working spaces (shared with a local tech incubator), meeting venues and two restaurants, one of which will be overseen by a Michelin-starred chef.
There will be a 1,600 sqm Moroccan-themed rooftop pool terrace with a retractable roof, bar and café, as well as a spa and gym.
Following in the autumn, the club will be integrated with the hotel, with dedicated areas for members including a whisky bar, garden room, inner courtyard and event venue. A screening room will also be available.
The Curtain’s art collection will be curated by gallerist Steve Lazarides and music photographer Mick Rock. thecurtain.com
Already present in New York and Los Angeles, London will be the third destination for this lifestyle-slash-business concept when it opens in 2016 in the art deco Adelphi building near the Savoy, facing the Thames.
Open to entrepreneurs and their teams in the film, design, fashion, architecture, arts and branding industries, it will run an extensive cultural programme.
Entry-level annual membership will provide access after 5pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. Reserve membership will get you four extra weekdays a month, Gallery membership ten weekdays, or Resident membership unlimited use.
Rates to be confirmed. neuehouse.com
TEN TRINITY SQUARE
Landmark 1920s building Ten Trinity Square, near Tower Hill Underground station, was unoccupied for three years until Chinese investor Chanchai Ruayrungruang – founder of the Reignwood Group – bought it in 2010.
He has since embarked on a multimillion-pound transformation that will be completed next summer. The development will comprise 41 luxury apartments, a 100-room Four Seasons hotel, and a club.
Located on the second floor, occupying the building’s original office space, the club will have meeting areas, a bar, an art gallery, a cigar lounge and a business centre, as well as a Château Latour wine store for residents and members. tentrinitysquare.com/the-club