Your Guide to London's New Wave of Members' Clubs

© Michaela Pointon
© Michaela Pointon
It’s been the year of the private member’s club, but oh – which one to choose? From a wellness retreat inspired by adventure, to an under-the-radar treasure that lets members train with chess grandmasters, here’s our guide to the best of the new bunch and their joining fees, some of which are lower than you might think.

The Ned

This monolithic members-club-cum-hotel occupies a former Midland Bank in the heart of London’s financial district. With nine – that’s right nine – restaurants, this is a great choice for foodies. The Ned has two pools, including a hammam-style retreat on the lower levels and an infinity pool on the roof. The pièce de résistance is The Vault – an exclusive members’ bar hidden behind an original 2-tonne safe door. This is perfect for those who like their experiences big and bold.

Membership at The Ned starts from £1,500 per annum, with a £250 joining fee for under-30s / for over-30s: £3,000 pa, plus a £1,000 joining fee. Discounts are available to Soho House Group members.

© Michaela Pointon 

The Curtain

The latest project from hotelier Michael Achenbaum combines several exciting elements under one roof, including Red Rooster from celebrity chef – and friend of Obama – Marcus Samuelsson. Its Southern-inspired menu and Sunday gospel brunch bring a slice of Americana to London’s East End. There’s also The Curtain’s louche late-night members’ lounge Billy’s Bar, live music space LP and a leather-clad screening room to name just some of the amenities on offer. This is one for the big kids.

Membership at The Curtain starts from £1,000 pa, with a £250 joining fee.

© Michaela Pointon 

Chess Club

Hidden in the heart of Mayfair, this quirky little club gets the simple things right. There’s great food from celebrity chef Jackson Boxer, with a world-class menu of cocktails and vintage spirits. Not surprising as Chess Club is the latest project from Experimental Club, whose portfolio includes Chinatown’s Experimental Cocktail Club and Henrietta Hotel. Inspired by the classic board game, members are welcome to train with a grandmaster once a week. This is the thinking person’s choice.

Membership at Chess Club starts from £350 pa, with no joining fee for under-30s / £450 pa for over-30s, plus a £200 joining fee.

© Michaela Pointon 

South Kensington Club

Inspired by the spirit of adventure, this club combines elements of different cultures from around the world. There’s a real focus on wellness, with a saltwater watsu pool, (not just one, but two) Russian banyas and a Turkish hammam. Christina Franco – one of the world’s foremost female explorers – is on hand to help guests plan their own once-in-a-lifetime trip and there are fireside chats hosted in its colonial-style drawing room. This is one for the wild-at-heart.

Membership at South Kensington Club starts from £2,750 pa, with a £500 joining fee for under-30s / for the over-30s it’s £3,500 pa and a £1,000 joining fee.

© Michaela Pointon 

Devonshire Club

Hidden away behind one of East London’s busiest streets, the Devonshire Club and hotel is a luxury oasis for the city’s high flyers. The Brasserie serves Mediterranean cuisine and sushi presided over by executive chef Oliver Lesnik (Claridges and The Connaught), while three distinctly different bars ensure no one goes thirsty. With no less than 12 Louis XIII cognac cabinets, which members can own for a mere £4,000 per year, the club exudes luxury. This is one for the big-spenders.

Memberships at the Devonshire Club starts from £2,000 pa, plus a £2,000 joining fee.

© Michaela Pointon