The 25 Most Exclusive Clubs On The Planet
There's exclusive. And then there's exclusive.
There are clubs that are “impossible” to get into. You know: long lines, crazy covers, and bouncers just itching for a reason to bar you from entry. And then there are clubs that are impossible to get into. We’re talking application processes, nominating committees, secret doorways, rigid dress codes, anti-smartphone rules, and, of course, egregious annual dues.
Yes, from the nooks of Tokyo to the crannies of London—not to mention countless pit stops in Manhattan—you’ll find hifalutin establishments that are tougher to break into than Fort Knox. Here they are. And for more of the world’s most dynamic vacation spots, check out these 17 Floating Hotels That Are Simply Magical.
The Club at The Ivy (London)
You can find this invite-only club in London’s West End neighborhood. It took over the top three floors as an extension of the restaurant in 2008. The carefully curated membership list is full of well-established London theater actors, producers, and writers.
Focused on its reputation as a lifestyle club, The Core collaborates with different cultural events and opportunities to enhance member’s overall living experience on and off the premises. So not only are members able to enjoy top dining, salons, and other in-house services, but non-club indulgences are also organized on a member’s behalf. This could include tickets to shows, yacht trips, and special, private stays at some of the most beautiful places in the world. And for more places to party, check out The 50 Hardest Partying Cities in America.
Cercle de Lorraine (Brussels)
This gentleman’s club plays role as a pit stop for many leaders in business, politics, and academia. And, when you factor in the number of (ostensible) activities offered at this club, like sailing, golfing, and a plentiful supply of imported cigars, this elite guest list makes total sense. To top off an evening of cigar smoke and frivolity, there’s even an incredibly beautiful vaulted wine cellar where members can stash their best wines. And for more wine (in a less exclusive environment), check out The World’s Best Wine Clubs.
Founded by Count Carl Adam “Noppe” Lewenhaupt, this club regularly organizes concerts, shows, an exclusive golf tournament, and a famous summer party (to mention just a few high-profile events). To get in, you have to have two current members as proposers, as well as money to pay the large fees.
Club 33 (Disneyland)
This dining club, which has been described as the “holy grail of luxury for Disney fans,” is also one of the best five-star restaurants in Orange County—and, more importantly, one of the only places in the park to enjoy an adult beverage. Presidents, dignitaries, and A-list actors, like Tom Hanks, are counted among the member list.
Unlike other European clubs who mainly cater to business moguls and royalty, this club only lets in younger, artsy types. Focused on curating a creative environment, the club hosts many exclusive parties, cultural discussions, and special screenings. It’s a great place for artists—or, given that it’s not far from the Tuileries, artistes—to stimulate the mind and support one another. And for more amazing travel destinations, check out the The 20 Greatest Hotel Bars in America Right Now.
39 Monte Carlo (Monaco)
Founded by a professional rugby player, this private sports club is a place for the upper class to enjoy top workout facilities, beauty treatments and carefully crafted, nutritious menus. Members can either be referred by existing ones or can apply directly through the contact form. Good luck. And for more luxe fitness, don’t miss the The Luxury Exercise Classes Everyone Needs to Try.
The Clubhouse (Buenos Aires)
This beautiful Argentinian club is the ultimate hub for every kind of international jet-setters. Along with a lounge, terrace, two bars, a pool, a garden, and endlessly sumptuous guest rooms, the club hosts tons of special events like private dinners with top chefs and rotating art exhibits. Only a limited number of applicants are accepted each month.
Yellowstone Club (Big Sky)
This American hotspot is all about the great outdoors. Tucked away in a 15,200-private acre residence deep in Rocky Mountain Montana, it’s perfect for those elites who would rather be skiing down the slopes than sipping bourbon in heavily-perfumed rooms. Along with many other business moguls, club members also include Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake.
For our next dive into London’s most exclusive clubs, we’ll be focusing in on this beautiful Georgian townhouse in Soho. “The Club,” first founded in 1764, became the Blacks Club in 1992 after a makeover of the premises. Members of the club are expected to be “extraordinarily interesting and interested.” While it is primarily a supper club, other activities—like poetry and private music nights—are offered.
Capital Club (Dubai)
This invite-only club is a premier place for powerful businessmen and women. After a person applies, it could take the membership committee up to two months to review their application and financial standing. This spot is less about the luxurious amenities and more about the powerful business network created within its walls.
Kee Club (Hong Kong)
Although the main location houses a beautiful dining room, bar, and multiple salons when you join, you also gain access to the ancillary club in Shanghai, and Koko in Hong Kong. (more locations, more privileged perks.) Typically, members join through referrals, and some legendary members include Mick Jagger, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Christian Louboutin.
China Club (Berlin)
The name may be deceiving, but this German social club incorporates a number of Chinese influences when it comes to its menu and décor. The elegant social club was created for people of society, culture, politics, and business to feel like they have a home away from home thanks to private suites, a library, a bar, and restaurant. Members must be proposed by at least one club member or endorsed by the club admissions committee.
The Australian Club (Sydney)
Founded in the 19th century, this club is the oldest gentlemen’s club in the southern hemisphere. Originally, it served as a place for Victorian businessmen to stay in Melbourne, but now serves many different types of men and women from society’s upper echelon. However, it still maintains its historical charm and elegance.
The Hurlingham Club (London)
This club is so exclusive that it could take up to 15 years to become a member—and you have to wait until an existing one passes or resigns. This isn’t surprising, seeing as King Edward VII often went pigeon shooting on the grounds. The 42-acre estate sits on the Thames river and includes tennis courts, gardens, and a tea lawn.
The Carnegie Club (Dornach, Scotland)
Housed in Skibo Castle, this Scottish club is ideal for those of the upper class who enjoy golfing and other outdoor activities such as fishing, rock climbing, and clay pigeon shooting. Members can also explore the 8,000 acres of beautiful Northern Highlands on horseback.
Club 1930 (Milan)
You aren’t even able to spot this invite-only club from the street in Milan. Instead, you have to enter through a hidden door. It’s rumored to be a place where many supermodels hangout after fashion shows during Milan Fashion Week.
The Battery (San Francisco)
This club in the Bay Area focuses on building a community of people who can find and fund projects that will make a difference. Even though this philanthropic org is generous, it’s incredibly difficult to join. Members have to be nominated by an existing member—and then formally approved—to be asked to join.
5 Hertford Street (London)
As we’ve seen, London loves a members-only club. However, 5 Hertford Street is said to be the hardest to get into. It’s so hush-hush, that limited information is provided on their site—and their Instagram is private. One thing we do know: there’s a relatively swanky nightclub downstairs, Loulou’s, where people like Lupita Nyong’o, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Prince William have partied.
The Metropolitan Club (Manhattan)
Located on Manhattan’s bustling Fifth Avenue, when this club first opened it was known as the “millionaire’s club.” This exclusive club still has a strict dress code and a modern-day ban on cell phones and laptops in communal areas. There are 22 rooms for guests to stay in, a bowling alley, wine rooms, a smoking room, and a dining hall.
Little Beach House, Malibu (Malibu)
This fresh beach haven is just one part of the global network of Soho House clubs. The venue includes a terrace, bar, dining room and sitting room, all with impressive ocean views. Although there are many other Soho House members that have access to all their clubs around the world, to become of member of this one, you have to prove a legitimate connection to Malibu.
The Stack (Cape Town)
This quirky and colorful club in South Africa is invite-only. Members have access to a comfortable lounge or bright bar, both of which show off incredibly interesting designs and artwork. Other perks include access to top chefs, concierge services, and complimentary transportation.
California Club (Los Angeles)
Focused on members sharing “decorum, mutual respect, and dignity,” this downtown LA club originally opened in 1887. Known for its dining experience, fine antiques, and classic architecture, this is one of the only historical clubs of its kind on the west coast.
The Arts Club (London)
Originally founded in 1863, this club was a place for men in the arts, literature, or sciences to connect and build strong, successful relationships. With a focus on cultural experiences, there are tons of opportunities for members to see carefully curated galleries, musical performances, and impressive speakers.
Roppongi Hills Club (Tokyo)
Business tycoons and artists alike meet at this club on the 51st Floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, which overlooks the vast Tokyo metropolis. On this one floor, there are two bars and seven restaurants, making it an ideal spot for meetings and events. Between the application, the extensive fees, and the stringent screening process, though, this club is not entirely accessible.
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