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The rise of private members’ clubs around the world

Proximity to one is a sure sign that both you and your property have cachet

Are you in the club? If you take Groucho Marx’s view, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,” you may think that private clubs are as buttoned-up as their whisky-soaked members. But from Singapore to Ibiza, a new generation of private members’ clubs are emerging, offering a second home – with a negroni – for a clientele eager to network and party in a thoroughly modern manner. If you want to know whether your property has premium cachet, proximity to one of these high-end clubs is a sure sign.

Soho House led the charge, opening in London in 1995. It was a home for thrusting young creatives who most certainly did not wear a tie for work or play. The company’s rapid expansion has led to the establishment of 24 overseas destinations from Mumbai to Nashville; Copenhagen and Stockholm are the next to open.

“London has always been the centre for sophisticated members clubs,” says David Forbes, the chairman of Savills estate agency’s the Private Office. “It started with nightclubs such as Annabel’s, originally hidden in basements, then evolved to dining clubs, such as Mark’s Club and Harry’s Bar. The best clubs in London, and possibly the world, are Annabel’s, Oswald’s and 5 Hertford Street, Now, London-style clubs are rolling out around the world.”

Take a global tour of the new members-only establishments:


67 Pall Mall Singapore opened in February this year, giving members access to a collection of 5,000 wines, “the biggest and most diverse wine list in southeast Asia”. Membership costs include a one-off joining fee of S$2,400 and a monthly charge of S$100 to S$200. It’s one of a number of clubs to have opened recently in the city-state says Ben Jones, chief executive of the Mandala Group. He opened the Mandala Club at the end of last year, rebranding and renovating an existing club in a striking building close to Marina Bay.

“Until recently, members’ clubs across Asia were generally old-fashioned ones,” he says. “It’s amazing, for example, in Tokyo, a city of 37 million, that there isn’t a forward-thinking club based around art and culture. However, just as over the past decade London has seen a huge increase in a new wave of clubs, the trend is starting in Asia, and specifically Singapore.


Alongside its location in Singapore, 67 Pall Mall has opened an outpost in the elite Swiss resort of Verbier. The club is on the Rue de Médran, with a members only dining room upstairs that claims “the most diverse wine list in the Alps” and a public bar downstairs. There’s also a gym and Verbier’s only microbrewery.

“A private members’ club like 67 Pall Mall wouldn’t have worked in Verbier ten years ago,” says Alex Koch de Gooreynd, head of the Swiss desk at Knight Frank. “Verbier is encouraging more people to live there full time, and these residents need somewhere to go to relax, to escape from the crowds and meet friends. They want an elegant restaurant with London-level food and service, not just fondue.

The Times article: The rise of private members’ clubs around the world


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