Newly named Edmonton City Club offering pre-opening memberships to city’s professionals for premier private club opening in coming year.
Edmonton Petroleum Club, whose history dates back nearly 70 years, is offering pre-opening memberships for the new Edmonton City Club, a private club set to debut in 2020 in the city’s downtown business district. The Edmonton Petroleum Club sold its building in 2018 and has been a club without a physical home since that time.
The concept for the new Edmonton City Club includes a modernized take on a private club with a downtown location to be easily accessible for members. The new club will provide a place for its members to meet, dine and socialize with peers, family and friends. It will offer first-in-class facilities, including a business centre and meeting space, exciting culinary experiences, networking activities, and social events delivered by a professional team skilled in providing personal service.
“We are excited to start the new year with a membership drive for the new Edmonton City Club. Our Board and members have been dedicated to developing a new private club since we sold the Edmonton Petroleum Club building. This new club is being designed with a dedicated emphasis on the business and lifestyle needs of today’s modern working professional, while respecting the traditions of the past with many longstanding members staying involved,” said Jane McDade, the incoming President of Edmonton City Club and a senior leader at a global consulting firm with offices in the city.
McDade has been associated with the club for a number of years and is working with the Board to spearhead the transition to the city club concept. “We know the business environment has changed for our city, and we are meeting the needs of this new reality by creating a club that caters to the new professional and how they work and interact in our city. The initial reaction to our club concept has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re looking forward to this membership drive to further assess the engagement and interest of Edmontonians.”
The club’s new location is being finalized currently as the Board has identified options within the downtown City Centre area. Several of those options are conveniently situated within close proximity to the Pedway system providing a convenient and easy way to arrive and depart from the Club.
With selection of the club’s location in its final stages, McDade says it’s the perfect time to get Edmontonians signed up and have them take advantage of a special no-risk introductory membership drive with entrance fees reduced by 50 percent. Edmonton City Club is offering Full, Intermediate, Senior and Non-Resident memberships. Specific pricing is also being made available to past members of the Edmonton Petroleum Club. Each club membership includes the primary member as well as the member’s spouse or partner.
To qualify for the special introductory pricing being provided at this time, the Club is asking for a completed application accompanied by the entrance fee to be received by April 30, 2020. Details about the membership options are available at www.edmontoncityclub.com or you can contact Teresa Stange, the club’s Membership Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About Edmonton City Club With a debut set for 2020, the new Edmonton City Club will assume its leadership position as the destination of choice for dining, meeting, networking and socializing with peers, family and friends. The private club will feature first-in-class facilities, a prime location in the vibrant heart of the city’s downtown business district, a robust events calendar and personalized service by a professional staff. Learn more at www.edmontoncityclub.com.
At first glance, the Sun Life Financial Centre in the heart of Ottawa’s business district looks the same as virtually any other office building in any other Canadian city.
However, there is one telling detail. As you enter the lobby, there is a bank of elevators, but one is set slightly apart from the rest. It has only one button. Next to it, on a discreet wooden plaque, the words “Savoir faire” and “Savoir vivre” are imprinted in a rich bronze hue beneath the engraving of a crown surrounded by leaves.
This is the elevator to the Rideau Club, long renowned as one of the most exclusive private settings for Ottawa’s elite.
These days, however, even a storied institution such as the Rideau Club is in the process of revamping both its decor and its membership policy in a bid to attract a fresh crop of younger members.
“The board realized through a whole bunch of indicators that we needed change if we wanted to be relevant and be around for another 150 years,” says Carol-Ann Goering, the first woman in the club’s long history to assume the mantle of general manager and chief operating officer.
“If you’re under 40 and coming in, you’re not going to want to sit in your grandmother’s study,” Ms. Goering says. “But we still want to maintain as much tradition and history as we can.”
PRIVATE CLUBS, WITH THEIR COVETED PAST, MUST THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
As an integral part of Ottawa’s history since being founded by Sir John A. Macdonald and other Canadian luminaries in 1865, the Rideau Club came into being just 22 months prior to Confederation. In the many years since, it has occupied five different locations in the city, including the prestigious Wellington Street building, just across from Parliament Hill, where the club occupied for 104 years. Tragically in 1979, this landmark building was lost to fire, along with most of the club’s original documents.
A short time later, the club became both owner and tenant of the space it currently occupies – the entire 15th floor at 99 Bank St. But the challenge, Ms. Goering says, is that the Rideau Club, unlike many private clubs across Canada, lacks curbside appeal.
“When you walk by some of these other clubs, they have this almost storefront call-out, like, ‘Wow that’s a cool place, maybe I’d like to see in there.’ We don’t have that. I think that’s a drawback about where we are located. We can’t showcase a beautiful heritage building,” Ms. Goering says.
However, the club is looking to add a rooftop terrace – which would offer unprecedented views of Parliament Hill – as well as fully renovating most of the rooms, with the goal of making the existing amenities more attractive to the modern worker.
YOUNGER WORKERS ARE DRIVING CHANGE
Ms. Goering says the influx of tech companies in Ottawa has brought in members who are interested in making use of the club as a downtown workspace, and, as a result, the club already has private spaces for interviews or meetings, and the casual dining menu is being expanded to account for the fact that most tech workers don’t even wear a suit and tie, let alone make time for a three-course lunch.
With construction soon to begin on light-rail-transit service in the city’s core, and a downtown condo boom well under way, the Rideau Club’s location is becoming more relevant than ever. The club’s makeup is also becoming more reflective of Ottawa’s evolving identity as a whole. Not only are membership numbers an average of 184 per cent higher over 2018, but 60 per cent of the club’s new members in the past three years have been under 40, and 30 per cent have been women.
“It’s a really different look to the club,” Ms. Goering says.
The changing vibe and look to Ottawa’s private club is reflective of other, similarly steeped-in-history social clubs across Canada.
In 2010, the Vancouver Club (formerly the Granville Club) used the influx of money it earned for playing host to the International Olympic Committee during the Vancouver Olympic Games to renovate and update its existing home, a building originally constructed in 1913.
Megan Rollerson, the Vancouver Club’s marketing manager, says the past decade has seen the club – which is also located in the heart of that city’s business district – modernized at the behest of members who are looking for more co-working space. For example, the updated facilities turned a ballroom that wasn’t used during the day into productive working space.
THE PRIVATE CLUB TREND IS GLOBAL
Ms. Rollerson also points to the well-known Soho House as one of the key influences driving so many of these legacy clubs to upgrade and modernize their facilities.
Founded in 1995, Soho House is a hotel chain and group of private members’ clubs. There are 23 locations around the world, including a Canadian Soho House that opened in Toronto in 2012. Located in an 1840s heritage building in the city’s Entertainment District, the 10,000-square-foot club launched during the Toronto International Film Festival. Despite being only seven years old, Toronto’s Soho House holds its own against legacy clubs such as the Albany Club (founded in 1882) and the National Club (founded in 1874) and is thriving thanks to its youthful membership and focus on creative industries.
“What started in 1995 as a bar and restaurant for people to hang out in has changed since prospective members have changed and what they want in spaces for their spare time and business time have merged together,” says Peter Chipcase, the chief communications and strategy officer for Soho House & Co., based in London.
Although there is just the one club in Canada for now, Mr. Chipcase says workspace will play a key role in Soho House’s next big initiative, just as it has for the Rideau Club and the Vancouver Club. He alludes to the creation of a workspace that will be connected to a Soho House location, but not actually situated in the house itself.
“It might be in the same building, but we want to create a very specific Soho House version of shared workspace. That’s the next step,” he says about the concept that is set to launch in London this fall, then again in New York and Los Angeles later this year and in Toronto at some future point in time.
Shawn Hamilton, the senior vice-president and managing director of CBRE in Ottawa, says it’s not surprising to see this bleeding of the lines between a private club setting and a co-working setting.
Private clubs have younger groups of members that are acting as the lifeblood of the club, he says. They want a club to be a place they can work, where they can entertain, and where they can exercise – all under one roof.
“Private clubs are changing,” Mr. Hamilton says. “It’s no longer like walking into an Agatha Christie novel.”
These days, private clubs are about providing all the amenities a member requires to work, live and play. Shared workspace and live-work clubs may just be the next commercial “growth industry because people just seem to want it,” Mr. Hamilton says.
Tokyo American Club has been an integral part of the international community in Tokyo since its founding in 1928.
With around 4,000 Members, drawn from 50-plus nations, the Club offers a diverse range of cultural, business and recreational activities and amenities in the heart of the Japanese capital.
The present facility, which was designed by lauded American architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli and opened on January 18, 2011, is the sixth incarnation
of the Club.
The building was described by private club consultants the McMahon Group as “light years ahead of its U.S. counterparts” and “[as] quite possibly the finest private club facility in the world.”
Members enjoy access to world-class recreation facilities, including a roof-top pool, bowling alley, golf simulators, full-size gym, library, childcare center and spa, as well as a host of fitness, cultural and educational programs for all ages.
Besides being home to five restaurants, a bar and a seasonal café, the eight-story facility features seven overnight Guest Studios and superlative meeting, party and conference facilities.
Because you’re not really one of the “who’s who” in Hong Kong unless you’re a member of a private club. In no particular order, here are 10 clubs in the city where membership is the most coveted:
1/10: The American Club
You don’t have to be American to join this club, but it sure does help. Think burgers and apple pie, Thanksgiving and sports bars–whatever it is you’re missing from the good ol’ US of A, you’ll find it at the club’s two locations.
The Town Club, right in the heart of Central, is the perfect place to indulge in some adult time with top-class restaurants and a fitness centre, while the country club in Tai Tam has something for everyone including a spa, swimming pool, basketball court, tennis and squash courts.
Wine and dine: The Town Club boasts five venues including elegant restaurant The Clipper, a steakhouse and a sports bar. Private dining rooms are also available on request. The Country Club offers relaxed venues including a café, wine bar, terrace dining and a poolside grill.
For the family: Make use of the sports bar with family zone and den at the Town Club or the “Eagle’s Nest” at the Country Club, a 10,000 square-foot play space. The Country Club is also home to Chill & Joe’s teen hangout with big screen TVs, game systems, pool tables and more. There are also plenty of family events including an Independence Day picnic, Superbowl breakfast and Halloween haunted house to name a few.
Joining & Membership Fee: The waiting list is around one and a half years and applicants must be proposed and seconded by two active voting members of 12 months standing. A number of different memberships are available. If you’re an American citizen, an American Individual Membership is HK$438,000, with monthly fees of HK$2,570.
A Transferable American Individual Membership is HK$250,000 with monthly fees of HK$1,950. Finally, there’s also a One-Year Temporary Membership at HK$45,600 with monthly fees of HK$1,950, and a Debenture Membership is also available via an agent.
No. of Members: Around 2,800
2/10: The Aberdeen Marina Club
If you’re looking for that “wow” factor, you’ll find it here at one of Hong Kong’s most well-equipped clubs. AMC boasts seven restaurants, separate kids’ play zones, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a bowling alley, fitness centre, a hair and beauty salon and an ice rink, to name a few.
Managed by the Shangri-La group, you’ll find the same attention detail as you would in their hotels, keeping you in the lap of luxury throughout. And, as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also fully serviced marina to park your superyacht.
Wine and dine: Feast on signature dry-aged and wet-aged meat cuts at the Marina Grill before heading to the adjacent bar, where mixologist Matthew Lau will prepare a cocktail tailored to your tastes. There’s also The Deck with views over the marina, The Horizon Chinese restaurant, Caffe Luna Italian restaurant and LaCave wine bar.
For the family: Take the little ones up to “Kids on 8!” for an interactive area of mini-worlds, and keep the older ones busy in the two-level indoor playroom with climbing challenges and vertical drop slides. Teenagers have their own Chill Zone and a special graffiti-sprayed lounge area, The Yard.
Joining & Membership Fee: While there’s no waiting list and hopeful applicants can submit a letter of application, membership is strictly by invitation only. You’ll be paying upwards of HK$3,000,000 on the second-hand market.
No. of Members: Around 3,600
3/10: The Hong Kong Country Club
If you haven’t walked barefoot across the Country Club’s manicured lawn, you’re missing out on a quintessential Hong Kong experience. Founded in the 1960s, this club makes the most of its Southside location with stunning views over Deep Water Bay.
It has plenty of facilities to keep you and your little rascals busy, including tennis and squash courts, a bowling alley, health centre, swimming pool and some truly divine restaurants.
Fun fact: This is the club where former French consul general, Marc Fonbaustier, was expelled in 2010 for stealing two bottles of wine.
Wine and dine: The club has both a Chinese and French-inspired restaurant as well as outdoor Italian dining on the Foreshore Deck and the Garden Room, which serves international cuisine.
For the family: The club has an adventure playground with wooden climbing frames set right next to the lawn, where they can run to their heart’s desire. There’s also an indoor playroom with a full-time supervisor. The littlest members are catered for with events including “Funtastic Sunday,” featuring bouncy castles on the lawn.
Joining & Membership Fee: The waiting list is upwards of 10 years, and applications are assessed according to a strict nationality quota to ensure the organisation’s diversity. Expect an individual membership to set you back HK$460,000, while a corporate membership is HK$5,000,000. Monthly fees are HK$2,500.
No. of Members: 2,000
4/10: The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club
If you can bear to leave the city for a day, you won’t regret it once you see this charming and relaxed club set at the tip of the Clearwater Bay peninsula. If you want to get your golf on, head to the golf club’s spectacular 18-hole course.
Wine and dine: Work up an appetite with squash, tennis or a workout in the gym (followed by a steam, sauna and massage, of course). Then sip on champagne at the Oasis café as you look out over the enormous pool with uninterrupted views of picturesque coastlines.
There are two dining options available at the country club—Ocean View for Chinese cuisine and dim sum, and Oasis Café for international fare. Horizons at the golf club serves breakfast, lunch and snacks.
For the family: The country club has a great indoor playroom and two outdoor playgrounds. There are also various family activities arranged throughout the year, including a camping trip on the property and a pool party every summer.
Joining & Membership Fee: Members must be recommended by a proposer and a seconder, attend an interview and be approved by the committee. The waiting list is around two years.
Individual fees for the Country Club are HK$880,000 while corporate fees are HK$1,320,000, each with monthly fees of HK$1,600. Individual fees for the Golf and Country Club are HK$4,200,000, while corporate fees are HK$6,300,000 and monthly fees are HK$2,600.
No. of Members: Over 3,000
5/10: The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Forget watching the races from the public stands. Once you’re a member here, you’ll have access to plenty of exclusive venues from which to bet, including restaurants, bars and even a rocking lounge with its own private terrace.
Take advantage of the three fully-equipped clubhouses with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sports complexes, children’s play areas and more.
Wine and dine: Between the three clubhouses and the two racecourses, you won’t run out of dining options. There are 10 restaurants serving an array of cuisines, plus bars, buffet dining halls and outdoor dining venues. If you’ve still got the energy, head over to Adrenaline bar and lounge in Happy Valley, which is open until midnight.
For the family: All three clubhouses boast fantastic amenities including swimming pools, outdoor areas and playrooms. There are also plenty of horsey activities including riding lessons and the opportunity to adopt and care for the ponies as part of the newly introduced “Fun with Ponies” programme.
Joining & Membership Fee: Anyone can apply to be a member, but corporate membership is by invitation only. Racing members must be voted in and seconded by a resident honorary steward, honorary voting member or voting member of the club. A second resident of the same plus three other members must support your application.
Racing members pay HK$125,000 with monthly fees of HK$650, while full memberships are $HK500,000. Corporate memberships range from HK$2,200,000 to HK$4,400,000 with monthly fees of HK$2,200.
No. of Members: 13,300
6/10: The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Slip on your Sperry’s and sling your jacket over your shoulder—this is the place to be for yachties and rowers alike. At each of the club’s three waterfront locations, you can enhance your skills with a variety of courses or rent the club’s dinghies at your leisure.
Once you are back on dry land, schmooze with like-minded individuals as you sip on specially curated and subsidised wines. There are plenty of other facilities for landlubbers too, including restaurants, a bowling alley, gym, pool and squash courts.
Wine and dine: There are an array of dining establishments, including fine dining at the Compass Room, casual coffee shop fare, a bar and deck, and BBQ and a-la-carte dining at Middle Island and Shelter Cove.
For the family: This is a great place to encourage your mini-me’s love of the water with fantastic courses starting from the age of 6. Little non-sailors have been kept in mind throughout each location too, with playrooms, playgrounds, pool parties, board games and other fun things for them to do.
Joining and Membership Fee: For the cheapest fees, you’ll need to prove your experience in sailing or rowing and show your willingness to participate in activities with the club. For ordinary membership, you’ll need a proposer from the club. Expect to wait between two to six weeks.
Anordinary single membership is HK$91,800 while an ordinary married couple membership is HK$137,700. There’s also an individual debenture membership at HK$1,875,000 and corporate nominee membership at HK2,250,000. Monthly fees range from HK$2,000 to HK $4,260.
No. of Members: 13,300 (5,800 active members, 7,500 absent members worldwide)
7/10: Hong Kong Football Club
If you’re not at home in sports gear, this probably isn’t the club for you. Most members are here to take advantage of the fantastic collection of indoor and outdoor facilities first and socialize later.
Set in the heart of Happy Valley, this club has Hong Kong’s largest collection of pitches and grounds including football, rugby, netball and hockey, as well as a swimming pool, bowling alley, snooker room, golf simulator and fitness centre.
Wine and dine: With sport being at the forefront here, there are adult and family bars showing a range of games on television. The Sportsman’s bar is the place for beer drinkers with 12 taps of draught and pub-style meals served inside or on the terrace, while the Chairman’s bar provides a more formal setting.
There’s also a coffee shop for casual meals and a fine dining restaurant with a weekly set menu and a comprehensive wine list.
For the family: There’s a lot going on here for even the littlest sportsman, with classes and teams running for all ages, as well as a ten-pin bowling complex and two children’s playrooms. The Christmas fete has seasonal arts and crafts and games for the kids, with music and entertainment and a bar for parents.
Joining & Membership Fee: Sports members are popular here. If you can pass trials and prove your commitment you could be in within a few weeks. Membership is open to all Hong Kong residents.
Non-sports preferred members can expect to pay HK$400,000, while sports preferred members pay HK$25,000. Corporate fees are HK$2,400,000, while monthly fees are HK$1,525.
No. of Members: 3,300
8/10: The China Club, Hong Kong
If it’s classic elegance you’re after, look no further than The China Club. Opened in 1991 by the inimitable late David Tang, the décor is pure 1930s Shanghai, filled with art and antiquities from the era.
The attention to detail here is striking—from the art-deco sweeping staircase to the Bosendorfer grand piano in the corner of the dining room, you’d be forgiven for forgetting you’re in the middle of one of the world’s most bustling cities.
Culture club: The club boasts a mahjong room and a library with an extensive collection of books on China and the Chinese people, not to mention striking views over our great city.
Wine and dine: The main dining room on the 13th floor prides itself on its authentic Chinese cuisine, or you can simply while away your evening drinking at the ultra-luxe Long Bar. There are also plenty of rooms dedicated to private dining with banqueting menus available to suit every taste.
While little ones are welcome at this club, we suggest you leave them at home to avoid any unwanted accidents with the expensive artworks.
Joining & Membership Fee: To join, simply fill in the entry form from the club and you’re good to go. Membership fees range from HK$120,000-$150,000.
No. of Members: Around 3,000
9/10: The Hong Kong Golf Club
This is a must for any golfer worth his salt in Hong Kong. Set on the south side of the island across from Deep Water Bay, the stunning nine-hole par 56 course takes up a large piece of prime real estate and has the price tag to match. The club prides itself on nurturing local talent, and has many high-profile members including the up-and-coming Tuen-Mun born Tiffany Chan.
If you fancy a bit of a time out, get hit the gym for a Body Torque Asia personal training session or relax in the secluded walled-in swimming pool. Be sure to head to the sauna to ease those muscles afterwards. The club’s other site in Fanling boasts three additional 18-hole courses.
Wine and dine: Enjoy Cantonese BBQ and dim sum at The Pavilion, or sample international delights at The Fairway Grill. For more laidback dining head to the verandah and bar or, at the other end of the scale, hold a banquet for up to 115 guests at The Orchid Room overlooking the golf course.
For the family: Promotions for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are popular, as is the Family BBQ by the pool, which includes inflatables for the little ones.
Joining & Membership Fee: There’s been no opportunity to join this club for a while now. Don’t give up though, as they do occasionally issue a limited number of new memberships. A second-hand membership will set you back around HK$17 million.
No. of Members: Around 2,500
10/10: The Hong Kong Club
You’ll know you’ve made it if you get to call this your home away from home. Founded in 1846 and full of old world charm and elegant colonial décor, it harks back to an era when only men would meet to quaff whiskey and discuss business. Thankfully, it has moved on from the days when women weren’t allowed, but exclusivity is still key.
Known simply as “The Club” to its members, its current Central location houses 25 floors of incredible leisure and fitness facilities including restaurants, squash courts, a bowling alley, a billiards room, a fantastic library and even its own barber.
Wine and dine: Two restaurants and three bars serving everything from light lunch and snacks to Chinese and Western fine dining. There’s also a selection of private function rooms and a garden lounge. You wouldn’t want to look out of place here, so make sure you check the website for the club’s extensive dress codes.
No photos: Memories of your days here are for your eyes only, as no photography is allowed anywhere in the club.
“We know this comes as a shock, especially to his colleagues. Counselling services are being made available to staff members,” the note read.
A longtime maintenance worker died at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis club on Tuesday, according to a statement released to members.
The statement, signed by the club’s board, read: “Yesterday was a tragic day at Vancouver Lawn. Ken Gordon, our maintenance lead hand, died in an accident during the take down of our bubbles. Our deepest sympathies have been expressed to Ken’s family, and we are doing everything we can to support them at this time.”
It goes on to state that Gordon worked at the club for over 34 years and was an integral part of the club community.
“We know this comes as a shock, especially to his colleagues. Counselling services are being made available to staff members,” the note read.
The club’s Facebook page said April 23 was the date set to take down the bubbles that are erected over the outdoor courts and swimming pool during the winter months. The bubbles, or domes, are kept up with air pressure and deflate slowly when they are being taken down.
WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Gillian Burnett said the organization was contacted by Vancouver police at around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Burnett said an inspection report would be filed in the next week. A detailed investigation report would be available at a later date outlining the cause and ways to help prevent similar incidents.
April 28 marks the B.C. Day of Mourning for people killed and injured in workplace accidents. According to WorkSafe, in 2018 there were six women and 125 men killed in workplace accidents in the province. The most deaths occurred in general construction and transportation.
Members of the Harvard Club are upset about a proposal to turn the majestic Harvard Hall, designed by the famed architect Charles McKim, into a dining room. Credit: Ramsay de Give for The New York Times
On the wood-paneled walls of Harvard Hall, the majestic heart of the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan, hang portraits of Teddy Roosevelt and other notable graduates. The head of an elephant, a gift to the club, hovers in an alcove where members luxuriate on plush leather couches to read and sometimes nap.
It is a place of elegance and quiet contemplation, and as rarefied spaces go, there are few more rarefied. “I see it as Harvard asserting its primacy as an early American institution,” Barry Bergdoll, a professor of modern architectural history at Columbia University, said of the room.
But when the club’s leadership proposed turning Harvard Hall into a dining room, the sniping among members had all the gentility of a barroom brawl.
“I have been called a fascist dictator,” Michael Holland, the club president, told more than 200 unhappy members during a meeting on Sept. 12.
Harvard Hall has been used for dining before, from 1905 to 1915. Credit: Harvard Club
The crowd booed. “I am not defensive,” he said.
According to people in attendance and a recording of the meeting obtained by The New York Times, one member accused Mr. Holland of sending misleading emails. People clapped when a person called for the club’s leadership to resign. Still others questioned why a change was necessary given the club’s overall financial health.
Depending on whom one talks to, the proposed change to Harvard Hall is either a vast conspiracy to turn the esteemed club into a catering-venue-for-hire or an attempt by the leadership to stem losses in its food and beverage business.
It is not uncommon in the genteel world of New York private clubs for members to weigh profit and convenience. But the members of the Harvard Club seem to be taking this proposal personally.
Ivan Shumkov, an architect, called it one of the most sacred spaces in New York, having been created by an architectural icon, the Harvard alumnus Charles McKim. “If we destroy Harvard Hall,” he said that night, “I think it will be the worst thing ever.”
While refugees of the Yale Club, for example, have long complained it is more corporate than clubby, the Harvard Club, on West 44th Street, has maintained a familial appeal. The membership, roughly 13,000, is made up mostly of faculty, graduates and their spouses. There is a gym with squash courts and guest rooms decorated with university memorabilia for overnight stays. Every year the club holds its own Christmas tree lighting. New York residents pay as much as $2,147 annually in dues, with nonresidents and newer graduates paying less.
A chandelier, decorated with the university shield, in Harvard Hall. Credit: Ramsay de Give for The New York Times
What makes the ruckus at the Harvard Club particularly sensitive is Harvard Hall itself. Mr. McKim built the club, adding Harvard Hall, with its blush-colored French stone walls and two walk-in fireplaces, in 1905. He and his firm, McKim, Mead & White, designed some of the most celebrated Beaux-Art architecture in America, including the University Club of New York, much of Columbia University, the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Boston Public Library.
“It is quite distinct in New York,” Mr. Bergdoll said of Harvard Hall. “It is meant to represent Harvard.”
Like many fights, the one at the Harvard Club started over money. Mr. Holland, the owner of a private investment firm who like other club officers is a volunteer, said that three years ago, the club instituted 22 recommendations to shore up its finances. One recommendation not pursued at the time was to move the a la carte dining service from the dining room, with its airy windows and high balcony, into Harvard Hall. The idea was not unprecedented; Harvard Hall hosted diners from 1905 to 1915.
Since those changes, losses in the club’s food and beverage business have persisted. A mere 8 percent of members accounted for 50 percent of a la carte dining revenue last year, suggesting the dining room is underused.
In February, the club hired Julia Heyer, a restaurant consultant whose firm has worked on projects at Grand Central Terminal and for Brooklyn Brewery. Mr. Holland said she proposed that club dining be moved to Harvard Hall and that two kitchens be separated to improve efficiency. At the same time, the current dining room, which is more spacious than Harvard Hall, could be rented out for larger weddings and banquets, generating more revenue.
The changes didn’t seem too drastic to Mr. Holland. “It’s just moving the furniture,” he said. “It’s not an earthshaking change in how the rooms are used.”
Many members, though, had a different take. In early August, three former committee members of the club sent an email to the board of trustees. The men, Jonathan David, E. Theodore Lewis Jr. and Charles Lauster, laid out reasons the proposal to turn Harvard Hall into a dining room should be rejected.
They warned that the use of the main dining room for banquets and special events would “negatively effect the ambiance of the club” and “eliminate Harvard Hall as a place of quiet enjoyment for members and guests.”
“We are not opposed to making changes that could place the Club on a sounder financial foot,” they wrote. “But we view the current proposal as ill-considered, insufficiently researched and unnecessarily disruptive.”
Mr. Holland said the authors commented without knowing all the facts. (In an email, Mr. David said the three men declined to comment.) Herbert Pliessnig, the club’s general manager, said in an interview that the club planned to hold only an additional five to 10 events annually if the proposal were adopted.
The current dining hall could be rented out for more events if dining were moved to Harvard Hall. Credit: Ramsay de Give for The New York Times
Mr. Holland said of the men: “They really care about the club. How they go about it is their business, whatever they do.”
Their email was widely shared among members, particularly the club’s special interest groups, who frequently meet to discuss topics like American literature, politics or history.
Some were concerned that they would have limited access to quiet rooms if the Harvard Club rented out more space to outsiders. Others were displeased that lunch would no longer be served on the balcony of the main dining room, a favorite gathering spot, if that room were turned into an event space. Mr. Holland said he has received hundreds of emails, mostly in opposition.
One of those letters was from Seth Herbert, a former vice president and senior international counsel at Estée Lauder who has been a club member for 25 years. He said in an interview that he had left the Yale Club (he has degrees from both schools) because it no longer felt like “home” and that he worried the same would happen to the Harvard Club. “I’m very ambivalent about the proposal,” he said. “It is a major decision that affects the culture of the club.”
Mr. Holland said there would be no decision on Harvard Hall without a vote of the members. He and his team have held three meetings to present the plan. At the first one, on Sept. 7, they laid out two options: members could choose to make Harvard Hall a dining room or they could not. If they opposed the change, annual dues could increase by as much as 10 percent, according to the presentation.
The Sept. 12 meeting, judging by the recording, was particularly tense. Among other accusations, one man told Mr. Holland that an email sent to members with the headline, “Enhancing Your Member Experience,” mischaracterized the seriousness of the proposed change. Most people didn’t read past the first sentence, the man said.
By the third meeting, on Sept. 18, “it was more mixed, but still emotional,” Mr. Holland said. “A couple of times I had to explain that we are volunteers and we are trying to do good.”
Ambience of unalloyed comfort gives way to challenge shared office market…
The Ministry, Ministry of Sound’s private members club and shared workspace on Borough Road, London
Soon after the launch of London’s lavish private members’ club 12 Hay Hill, its boss Stephanos Issaias had to throw out all the sofas and chairs on one of the floors and replace them with less comfortable seating. Unlike many traditional private clubs, 12 Hay Hill allows members to mix business and pleasure: laptops and smartphones are permitted in its lounges, luxury serviced offices are available to rent. But some of its members, who today pay £3,800 a year for the privilege, had complained that the comfy sofas that were perfect for reclining with a drink or a book, were not appropriate “for holding meetings”, according to Mr Issaias. Such are the dilemmas faced by a new type of club that is springing up in the UK capital. Dubbed “club-working” spaces, these offer the exclusivity and social networking of the City clubs of old, combined with the work-friendly environment of WeWork, the $20bn shared office provider. The rising popularity of working in places other than traditional offices has been driven by IT that has made it ever easier, and the growing cost of space in London. Rising rents have made it more expensive for businesses to offer an upmarket front-of-house for entertaining guests. Meanwhile, sole traders and start-ups have been reluctant to sign long leases, spawning a “shared office” boom: London is now the world’s largest market for serviced offices, with an estimated £16bn of space in 2017, according to Capital Economics. “Technology was the enabler in the sense that people were not tied to a big desktop computer — or even a laptop with a cable,” said Mr Issaias. “Clubs now see an opportunity to maximise their earnings.”
Many traditional clubs, such as those in London’s St James’ area, have always discouraged working on their premises, preferring members to socialise over their Michelin-starred food and their well-stocked bars. Even at Soho House, a relatively new chain of clubs that targets members from the creative industries, rules dictate that “members may not take or make phone calls and phones should be in silent mode”. But new models that disregard this separation are coming to life in many forms: in some cases, established clubs are relaxing their rules, while others, like Marylebone’s Home House, are launching specialised affiliates. Others, such as 12 Hay Hill, Devonshire Club, Mortimer House and The Conduit, have been created from scratch. Even serviced offices companies are branching into the market. Two weeks ago, IWG, the world’s largest serviced office group, announced that it was renting 40,000 square feet in London’s Battersea Power Station development to launch a private club. The trend is also catching on outside the UK. In the US, city clubs such as Jonathan Club in Los Angeles and New York’s The Union League Club “have been adding co-working areas into their interiors and updating their look to make it more modern” in a bid to attract millennial professionals, according to Zack Bates, chief executive of Private Club Marketing, which promotes clubs and hotels.
The hybrid club-working model is not for everyone
Many London projects have grown rapidly. The Ministry, a private club near London Bridge that markets itself to the creative industries, opened in July and has already filled about 500 of the 803 fixed desks it has on site, on leases of at least three months. The club is an offshoot of the Ministry of Sound record label and nightclub and one of the services it offers is a sound system that plays music designed to facilitate concentration. Simon Moore, The Ministry’s creative director, says there are major benefits to being an exclusive brand. “As a smaller organisation we can be flexible and adjust and [make changes] quickly,” he said. “You can’t do that as a WeWork.” North of the Thames near Bond Street, Home House, the social club that has had Madonna and Sean Connery as members, is launching a private club for entrepreneurs from March 2019. According to managing director Andrew Richardson, Home Grown will be “highly selective”, only accepting members whose firms are growing at 20 per cent a year — in sales or staff numbers.
“We want to offer the remedy for growing pains that entrepreneurs have when they are at a high growth stage,” Mr Richardson said, adding that Home Grown will cost £2,000 a year per member, or £1,500 for founding members, and is targeting 3,000 members in total. For customers, the set-up can be cost-effective. Hossam Alsaady, managing partner of Above Wealth, a wealth advisory business for the very rich, decided to rent space at 12 Hay Hill, having previously rented an office in Mayfair that included several meeting rooms. “Having a couple of meeting rooms in Mayfair and having it empty 98 per cent of the time was crazy — I was paying a lot of money,” he said, adding that he has “developed a couple of good relationships by being in this common working area”. Mr Alsaady, a former managing director at HSBC Private Bank, now has plans to invest in the club-working industry. “It’s going to continue to grow,” he said. Still, this hybrid club-working model is not for everyone. “Some clubs have started taking a more lax view on members overtly working in their premises,” a spokesperson for 5 Hertford Street, a Mayfair members club, told the Financial Times. “But actually being on the laptop and taking work calls isn’t conducive to a relaxed atmosphere for those who are there just to have fun.” Insiders warn that the business model can be difficult to get right. It differs from that of traditional clubs, which rely heavily on revenues from food and drink; instead, members need to feel able to have just a cup of coffee in the lounge while staying and working for several hours. This can mean raising prices: 12 Hay Hill has more than doubled its membership fee from the £1,800 a year it charged when it launched in 2015. Others note that the market is becoming increasingly saturated. “There are new entrants all the time,” said Adam Blaskey, founder of The Clubhouse, which provides meeting rooms in London for big companies including Morgan Stanley and BP and recently opened a fourth branch in Holborn. “What’s important is that your product is clearly differentiated in an already-crowded market . . . There’s bound to be some consolidation,” he said.
A proud resident of Collins Street, Melbourne, for 150 years, the Athenaeum is one of Australia’s oldest and finest clubs. They take pride in their heritage and traditions, yet are contemporary in their outlook.
The Athenaeum Club’s location, service, facilities and first-class dining reflect their Australian and international reputation as a welcoming place of relaxation and good fellowship in a busy world, and their members are proud to bring their guests into the Club to enjoy the fine ambience the Athenaeum Club is renowned for.
This year, the Athenaeum Club, Melbourne celebrates its 150th anniversary and invites Union Club members to help celebrate this significant milestone.
During the month of August the Athenaeum Club’s charming accommodation rooms are available for only, $150 per night.
If taking advantage of this offer for accommodation, why not make it even more special by dining in the elegant mixed dining Athena Room.
Reservations for accommodation or dinner can be made:
By contacting their Concierge at + 61 3 9654 3200 and advising that you are accepting this birthday offer.
There is ongoing enthusiasm among experienced members interested in hosting small-group trips for fellow members to bond and enjoy as a benefit of membership. The UC Travel Club encourages you, dear reader, to come forward to us with your own proposals, if you have a trip or an outing that you are familiar with that would provide pleasure to our membership. You could propose to host a group or just tell us all about the opportunities out there.
We are pleased to announce the following future hosted trips for your consideration. As new trips are proposed and vetted we will update the list.
2018: Day trip to Othello Tunnels on Kettle Valley Rail Trail at Hope
2018 or 2019: Art Tour of London
2018 or 2019: Experience Yukon!
2019: Wine and Culture Tour of Italy
2019: Great Migration and Highlights of South Africa
2019: Via Rail Winter Wonderland Cross-Canada Trip
2019 or 2020: Self-drive Canal trip in France
2020: The Road From the Past: Traveling Through History in France
Possibly for later this year or 2019. Presented previously at the monthly UCTC meeting on March 26, 2018
Hosted by member David Leverton, Executive Director of the Maritime Museum of B.C. David has a long history of close museum and cultural workings with First Nations of the area. He will host a set of unique experiences in Yukon that his special relationships and knowledge will facilitate. While ready with a proposed format, he is open to suggestion by early responders with interest. Be sure to see his presentation for more details of the moment. For expressions of interest or questions contact:
Possibly for later this year or 2019. To be presented at the monthly UCTC meeting on April 29, 2018.
Hosted by UC member and art tour expert Lara Tomaszewska, PhD ISA ,this adventure is forming up to comprise a comprehensive guided art appreciation tour in select renowned venues and opportunities in London. The trip will feature the tour over several initial days of arrival and then allow participants complete flexibility for unhosted enjoyment of London or other destinations for as long as desired. Opportunities will exist to stay in reciprocal clubs. Further details to be released, but early responders with interest can have a hand in shaping the details. For expressions of interest and questions contact:
Possibly for 2019 . To be presented at the monthly UCTC meeting on May 28, 2018.
Hosted by members Kerry Brown and Richard Larkin, this tour would be based on the premier wines of Italy and some little-known fabulous ones, likely Tuscany and Piedmont, visiting such wineries in Chianti, Montelcino (Brunello region), many of which have accommodation and/or restaurants with meals paired with their wines. The northern part of Italy is unique – lakes and mountains and not often traveled; UNESCO World Heritage sites, good wine and food. We would also see if we could tie in any affiliate clubs for a stay or at the very least a meal. We could tie in Rome which is a perennial favourite with lots of things to do/see/experience. For expressions of interest or questions contact:
Hosted by member David Bate, Victoria resident turned long-time South African entrepreneur and traveler, his tour is described as follows: Experience the greatest annual wildlife event on Earth. Join a discerning group of Union Club members on a trip to Southern Africa in September 2019 to witness the arrival of millions of zebras, wildebeests and other antelopes at the end of their journey across the plains of East Africa from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This annual pilgrimage is known as the Great Migration and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should top the bucket list of every travel enthusiast. The 15-day trip includes highlights of South Africa, Victoria Falls and Kenya. Touch down in South Africa and begin your journey with an introduction to Cape Town and visit to iconic Robben Island, the Alcatraz of Africa, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years. Move into the heart of South Africa’s nearby winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl and spend two days exploring some of the best wines and cuisine the New World has to offer, including at least two restaurants listed in the World’s Top 100 restaurants. Fly into Victoria Falls and experience the largest waterfall and one of the wonders of the natural world. Return to Johannesburg and spend a day touring the Apartheid Museum and Soweto. Enjoy an overnight train journey on Rovos Rail, rated as the most luxurious train in the world, from Pretoria to Durban with stops to tour the Kwa-Zulu battlefields where figures such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi and Jan Smuts all participated in the same battle. You will also get a brief taste of a safari before disembarking in Durban for a flight to the Maasai Mara and the heart of the migration. During your four night sojourn in the Maasai Mara, witness river crossings where hundreds of thousands of antelopes and zebras test their luck against lurking crocodiles. Watch packs of lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs track the herds and, if your timing is right, see a kill in action from the safety of your safari vehicle. During your down time, enjoy luxurious ‘Out of Africa’ styled tented camps where butlers cater to your every whim and rose petals await you in the bath drawn in your old fashioned iron bath tub. Dine on gourmet meals and fine wines that introduce the culinary delights of Africa. Options available for extended tours to South Africa (golfing tours, garden routes) Namibia (sand dunes and Skeleton Coast), Botswana (Okavango Delta), and Mauritius, Zanzibar, The Maldives and Madagascar (all great beaches), among other locations. This trip will be guided by Dr. David Bate, a Union Club member who has lived in South Africa for over 20 years and owns wine cellars in the heart of South Africa’s wine country. Space is limited. If this trip piques your interest, please reach out to:
WALKING DAY-TRIP TO THE OTHELLO TUNNELS ON THE KETTLE VALLEY RAILROAD TRAIL AND COQUIHALLA RIVER AT HOPE, BC
Proposed for later this spring or summer.
Hosted by Rob d’Estrube this will be a simple ferry/bus ride to Hope with lunch and an opportunity to walk the trail along the Coquihalla River and through the tunnels. Travel site ratings are 4.5+ out of 5. Easy walking and available in a 1K or 4.5K version along the rail trail. Easy possibility of both distances being accommodated in the same trip. Timing will be determined by member input. To express an interest in the trip and answer questions contact:
VIA RAIL WINTER WONDERLAND FIRST CLASS ALL-INCLUSIVE PRIVATE-CABIN RAIL JOURNEY ACROSS CANADA
Proposed for winter of early 2019.
Hosted by Rob d’Estrube this trip is from Vancouver to Toronto during the season where all the sights are snow-clad wonderlands, taking advantage of the lowest rates for travel plus discounts for seniors. Great for single travelers, no single supplements, as there are cabins for one as well as for two or more. All meals (very good) included and 4 + days of wonderful relaxation and bonding with members. Plenty of room to move around so we aren’t glued together. Stay on or travel further when arrived in Toronto. The destination is not important here, nor is the schedule: the immersive journal is all. To express an interest in the trip and answer questions contact:
A SELF-DRIVE CANAL TRIP WITH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS IN FRANCE
Proposed for 2019 or 2020
Hosted by Rob d’Estrubé, this will be a two-week bit of life in the slow-lane through some backwoods of France. Depending on the canal and the size of the locks we will limit the group to 12, likely divided between 2 or maybe 3 boats. Single travelers welcome as there are a variety of accommodations. The journey is everything here, the French Immersion experience transcends place and time: You will neither be in the here nor the now: you will be “in the present”. We will drive our own boats, cook our own food aboard or dine out along the way as desired. Happy hours are long and usually all on one boat. Stories, lies and exaggerations, through the blur of wine and cheese, replace the real world. This will be perhaps your most relaxing and engaging holiday ever. Quaint villages and towns, chateaux and market places abound at our side. Have semi-independent days away from the boat if you are fit enough to cycle or walk down the towpath: you’ll never get lost. Read a book while the world goes by but be ready to help in the locks. It’s easy work and you can get off and explore the lock keepers’ gardens. Tie up anywhere between locks for the evening and let the birds serenade you in a countryside without road noise. Acquainted members will become fast friends. To express an interest in the trip and answer questions contact:
THE ROAD FROM THE PAST: TRAVELING THROUGH HISTORY IN FRANCE
Proposed for 2020. A truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime exploration.
Hosted by Rob d’Estrubé, this adventure will follow closely the famous book by the same name written by Ina Caro, historian and gourmet food and wine writer. We would be a small group traveling for about 3 weeks, professionally driven and guided. The history of France will be discovered in the locations where events and paradigms took place. Reading the book will reveal the excitement ahead and the book will be a constant companion on the trip. Quoting from the NY Times here a partial review of the book and what the trip will essentially offer:
“She begins in the ruins at Orange and Nîmes, and then ushers us through blood and fire, religious wars, feudal rivalries and monarchical madness, into the light of the Renaissance, up to Louis XIV’s punishment of his superintendent of finance, Nicolas Fouquet, for the in-the-king’s-face magnificence of Vaux-le-Vicomte. And thus we visit Provence, the Languedoc, the Dordogne, the Loire Valley and the Ile-de-France.
Caro brings the reader along gently, with precise information on how long it takes to drive from one place to another, what roads to choose, how much time to budget for this or that sight; she is also helpful on where to linger, on what towns are pleasant places to have a long coffee or a picnic, and which are dull or overcrowded or seem to have metamorphosed into parking lots.
Although the book is written for visitors who don’t know France well, it is packed with information even for people who do. Caro does not seek to be exhaustive about hotels or restaurants, but she tells us about the ones that have become favorites and about others that have failed her test.
She approaches every new step visually – what’s the view from the hotel or restaurant, what can be seen and measured and studied before it is visited.
Caro is an opinionated traveler…taking no guff from unpleasant restaurateurs and snotty tour guides, and refreshingly direct about what to avoid…etc.” The route is essentially C shaped as we start in Roman times in Provence and progress in time West and North and then East to Paris for the Revolution.
There is at least one copy of the book in the UC library for your perusal but is easily available online.
Interested early responders can have a hand in formulating many aspects of the trip, like timing, as well as determining price points for levels of accommodation and cuisine where practical.
Rob d’Estrubé has traveled extensively in France and is directly related to many of the nastier characters in this history. To express an interest in the trip and answer questions contact: