London is home to some of the oldest and most exclusive private members’ clubs in the world. I was fortunate enough recently to visit the newest club in town, South Kensington Club. Offering something a little bit different than your average private club – SKC will be catering to members with an interest in culture, health and fitness, exotic travel and culinary experiences once it officially opens this month on 25th June.
I met one of my oldest friends and fellow Cali native, Britt, for dinner at SKC during the ‘soft launch’ phase for a taster of what is still yet to come. If this is the club’s pre-opening period then I can only imagine how spectacular the official opening will be. Far from stuffy and pretentious, the staff were friendly with meticulously attentive service from the second I walked in through the imposing black front door. I was personally escorted to the Club’s restaurant, but had to stop and quickly admire the long elegant staircase leading upstairs to the juice bar, gym and terrace. Can’t you just imagine the uniformed von Trapp children marching down these steps in perfect unison?!
Located a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of South Kensington and Hyde Park on Harrington Road, SKC is steeped in British history. The Club’s bathhouse extends into Queensberry Mews, which was once Francis Bacon’s first London home and studio. The 25,000 sq ft building was also the former home to the original Pineapple Dance Studios and Ronnie Wood’s Harrington Club, where the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart graced the stage. Whilst the interiors of the Club are modern in style, there’s a homely atmosphere and you can’t help but feel the artistic spirit of the previous residents.
The Club’s Restaurant has a nice laid-back and welcoming vibe, so you won’t feel out of place if you don’t dress to impress. The Restaurant serves healthy Mediterranean cuisine with an infusion of traditional artesian Sicilian flare from breakfast to dinner with an inspiring wine and cocktail menu to match.
We mulled over the menu sipping on a refreshing Aperol Spritz in true Italian spirit and were served the most delicious kamut bread with tomato spread, anchovies and capers to nibble on. I had never tried kamut before, which is apparently an ancient wheat that is incredibly healthy and easier to digest than modern day wheat. I could have easily feasted on this healthy bread basket all night, but Britt insisted that we slow down on the kamut and put our order in pronto before we started to fill up.
Following our delicious and filling dinner, we walked up the staircase to have a wander around and plopped ourselves down in the Club Sitting Room Bar, which is the perfect spot for a night cap. The bar has a cosy and informal vibe with mid-century American interiors that reminded me of a New England yacht club.
We left the Club Sitting Room Bar to the sounds of the bartender shaking an iced martini, and had a look around The Voyager Club Lounge, which will be home to the Club’s Voyager Programme at South Kensington Club. Offering members an interesting program that pays tribute to the Club’s ethos of “inspiring its members to explore through reading, listening and travelling on journeys of discovery.”
The Voyager Club Lounge is where monthly lectures and international speakers will take place along with the opportunity to join tailor-made expeditions around the globe, such as trekking in the North Pole, foraging for food in Sweden or even piloting a helicopter! You can physically prep and train for all such adventures with the fitness instructors in the Club’s gorgeous gym.
I typically prefer to run outside rather than indoors on a treadmill, but this gym is beautifully designed with lots of natural light coming through the floor-to-ceiling windows. I loved the historic touches of the building in the spacious fitness area- it’s not every day you train with a kettle ball next to stained-glass windows!
The Club has three studios where yoga (heated and regular), barrecore, pilates and dance cardio classes are available in addition to private training. There are also several treatment rooms and a Turkish Hammam where you can soothe tired muscles post workout. What’s not to love about your own private spa?
Officially opening in less than a week, South Kensington Club is a refreshing and unique London private members’ club, which is now accepting new membership. Whether you’re interested in far-flung travels, al fresco fine dining, or challenging fitness classes and pampering spa treatments, SKC have members’ every need covered.
+44 203 006 6868