Hong Kong, a bustling urban metropolis offers numerous avenues for recreational activities. While some of these activities like hiking in the country parks are free, others are available at the many government-sponsored leisure centers all over the city. In addition to these centers, Hong Kong also has many private membership clubs that date back to the SAR’s colonial era. Set up by the British, these clubs are exclusive enclaves that offer a variety of sporting and leisure facilities their members. Most private clubs in Hong Kong are equipped with facilities like swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants, bars, banquet rooms, fitness centers, spas and more. They also host several informational and competitive sporting events that provide members a platform for much social interaction and even professional networking. As a result, a club membership in Hong Kong is a much sought-after amenity. Long waiting lists and high admission fees are thus, normally associated with these private club memberships. Many Hong Kong clubs in the manner of Hong Kong private schools have also instituted a debenture system, and there is exists a robust trade in club memberships in the secondary market.
Once the exclusive domain of the British, today membership clubs in Hong Kong are open to those who have the means to pay the admission charges or then are lucky enough to be sponsored for membership by their employers or families. The American Club is a prominent family-oriented private membership club in Hong Kong. Founded in July 1925, the American Club of Hong Kong operates from two clubhouses, the Town Club located in Central (atop Two Exchange Square) and the Country Club in Tai Tam overlooking Tai Tam bay. Initially founded as a gathering spot for Americans in Hong Kong to meet and exchange business views, the club has now expanded to include both American and non-American citizens. However, the mission statement of the club declares that the club aims to preserve its intrinsic American identity and it thus, serves as a home away from home for American expatriates living in Hong Kong.
Between the American Club’s two campuses, it hosts a wide range of facilities. These include nine restaurants (offering a range of western and Chinese cuisines including the ‘best burgers’ in town), fitness centres, tennis and squash courts, golf-driving ranges and swimming pools. At its Tai Tam property, the club also has an Elements Spa that offers a selection of Asian and Western beauty and holistic treatments geared towards relaxing and rejuvenating both the frazzled body and mind. Members of the American Club also have access to the facilities at the Macau Golf and Country Club and the Lotus Hill Golf Resort in Panyu, China. Both these properties feature 18-hole golf courses along with excellent clubhouse and accommodation facilities. An incredible advantage for members who are golf enthusiasts and enjoy taking golfing holidays.
In addition to golfing facilities, the American Club also has a private box at the Happy Valley Racecourse and offers its members a chance to enjoy the thrills and excitement associated with ‘live’ horseracing. Younger members also receive much pampering at the American Club for it hosts a specially designated leisure and play areas for them to enjoy. One such area is the Eagle’s Nest, an expansive play zone that extends over 10,000 square feet and three floors. The Eagle’s nest has toys, arts and crafts facilities and computer terminals for the entertainment of the young ones.
The club’s other leisure areas include Chill (a relaxing TV lounge), Crash (a computer games arcade) and Joe’s (a classic American-style diner with pool tables and American eats) cater to older kids and teenagers. The club further organizes regular activities, classes and events like seminars and talks, Pilates, ballet, taekwondo, trail walking, gymnastics, and more, which provide members a chance to meet and mingle and enhance their skills. Traditional American holidays, and sporting events like the ‘Super bowl’ are celebrated with much pomp and splendor at the American club. Moreover, the club also has an onsite Country Store that offers a wide range of food products and apparel and accessories imported from the US, so the members have easy access to ‘tastes from home.’
All in all, the American Club functions as a home away from home for an American expatriate in Hong Kong. At at the same time, the club also offers non-American members to get a taste of true ‘Americana’ without leaving the shores of Hong Kong. For more information about membership and facilities offered by the American Club do visit its website to know more.