Lucky Seven: 7 of the Most Exclusive Private Member’s Clubs in London
If there is one thing that everyone who takes an interest in a luxury holiday rental might have in common, it is a love of exclusivity. However, during the time in-between holiday escapes, it can be difficult to cultivate that same feeling of exclusivity, luxury, and privacy in one’s day-to-day life. Real life happens all around us in a constant stream of stimulation, and the serenity that you so carefully cultivated during your exclusive luxury estate getaway can fade quickly in its wake.
Private members-only clubs have been a certain strata of society’s answer to this very predicament for quite some time. Exclusive private clubs appear to be enjoying a newfound resurgence of popularity, having gained somewhat of a reputation as “checkbook societies” during the credit-extending boom years. Perhaps predictably, with more and more of modern life relying on the internet and social media outlets for socialising and information sharing, this new desire for face-to-face interactions with like-minded individuals is what we now crave.
The UK is certainly no stranger to this level of luxurious exclusivity, and has its share of these über-exclusive private members clubs. Listed below are just a few of the most exclusive private members-only clubs in the UK.
7. Grace Belgravia
Touted as an “exclusive club for caring, cultured women who want the very best for their health and well-being”, the newly-founded London club Grace Belgravia is the first exclusive women-only private member’s club in London. The 11,500 square-foot club hosts a blend of fitness, wellness, nutrition, and medical services for their members, as well as an adjacent medical clinic that is led by Dr. Tim Evans, apothecary to HM The Queen. Grace also hosts a spa, gym (with personal training and nutrition programmes), beauty salon, boutique, restaurant, and bar. Membership is by invitation only, and is restricted to women aged 21 and over.
White’s is perhaps the oldest club in London, reportedly gaining its start back in 1693 as an outlet to make and sell hot chocolate, before becoming the first of a generation of storied English gentleman’s clubs. The club briefly strayed from its historical roots in the early 19th century, gaining a reputation as a bit of a gambler’s paradise, but has since regained its traditional stance, and has once again become the most exclusive gentleman’s club in London. Membership includes Charles, Prince of Wales and William, the Duke of Cambridge. Membership information is very difficult to come by for all but a very well-connected few, but it is rumoured that memberships can cost as much as £85,000 per year. Again, unfortunately for the ladies, White’s does not allow female members or guests.
For those who prefer to keep things old-school, there is London’s Boodles. Founded in 1762 by the Earl of Shelburne, Boodles was named after its head waiter, Edward Boodle. Distinguished past members have included Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming, who even based one of his famous James Bond novels in the club. Membership is invitation only, and extremely difficult to obtain. Sorry ladies, Boodles has a strict no girls allowed policy; women are not allowed to hold membership, or even visit as guests.
4. The Arts Club
The Arts Club, situated in the Mayfair district of London, was founded in 1863 by what they refer to on their website as “men of vision”, with the purpose of providing a place for people with a professional or amateur relationship with arts, literature, or the sciences to gather. Distinguished past members include the likes of author Charles Dickens and composer Franz Liszt, and even today, a majority of members are from the arts, entertainment, music, and fashion industries. The club boasts an eclectic art collection (along with its own curator) that is housed at the very centre of the club, and rotates often throughout the year. Full membership is open to anyone aged 30 or older, young persons’ memberships are available to those under 30, and special rates are available for spouses and partners of full members living at the same address as the full member. Membership appointments can be arranged by contacting the club by phone or through their website.