Hong Kong Clubs – Exclusive entry
Joining clubs in Hong Kong has always been a part of the social fabric of this city that dates back to the British Colonial days. Once considered essential for both business and social standing, most of these clubs still exist today with a wide selection of upgraded facilities and activities on offer. If you have been lucky to live here for a number of years, you may have had the foresight to sign up, whereas nowadays, for most of us it’s a waiting list and steep joining fees or be content to wait for an invite from an existing member to enjoy the facilities and rub shoulders with Hong Kong’s elite.
That said, if you are well heeled enough, there are so many benefits to signing up. Particularly for families. These clubs are hubs for activities from sports pursuits through to social and networking events. For newcomers to Hong Kong, they are an enjoyable fast track to making new friends and getting involved in the ex-pat community as well as making good business contacts. They offer a host of recreational faclites such as resort style swimming pools, fitness centres, restaurants and bars, tennis and squash courts and much more. The clubs hold regular functions and events and host plenty of parties for members and their families.
We’ve listed a few of the more coveted exclusive clubs to help you decide which one might be for you.
The American Club
You don’t necessarily need to be American to join this Club but it does help. It’s open to anyone who enjoys celebrating thanksgiving to watching American sports at the sports bars. There are two separate locations. The Town Club in Central has five top venues including the very elegant Clipper Restaurant, private dining rooms, a steak house, a sports bar and a fitness centre. The sports bar has a family zone, and a children’s “den”. The Country Club has more of a relaxed casual family friendly vibe and is located at Tai Tam not too far from Stanley. Overlooking the ocean you will find swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, terrace dining and a poolside grill. They have a 10,000 square-foot play space named ”Eagle’s Nest” and the ”Chill & Joe's” teen hangout with big screen TVs, game systems, pool tables and more.
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
Aberdeen Marina Club
Managed by the upmarket renowned Shangri La hotel group, it’s no wonder this is thee hot exclusive club to join if you like the ultimate in luxury resort atmosphere. AMC is one of Hong Kong’s best equipped clubs boasting 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 just a few facilities. There’s also a fully serviced marina to park your super-yacht.
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: Approx 3,600
Hong Kong Jockey Club
This is the one to join if you like a flutter, but there is so much more to the Jockey Club club than just race betting. Once you become a member here, it’s off to the exclusive lounges to take in the race. You get access to both the Happy Valley and Sha Tin tracks. With 3 clubhouses you will find 10 restaurants and bars, buffet dining rooms, entertainment galore, private terraces, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sporting complex’s and children’s play areas. There are also plenty of horsey activities for the kids including riding lessons and the opportunity to adopt and care for the ponies. Highly recommended is the Adrenaline bar at Happy Valley track.
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
The Hong Kong Golf Club
Membership to this club gives you access to two locations, the original club is located at the spectacularly beautiful Deep Water Bay on the south side with a stunning nine-hole par 56 course layed out on a large piece of prime real estate with views to die for. The second site is Fanling in the new territories which boasts three 18-hole courses. The club prides itself on nurturing local talent, and has many high-profile members including Tiffany Chan. On site you will find swimming pools, sauna’s, and a host of restaurants from casual barbecue by the pool to the upscale Orchid Room overlooking the water at Deep Water Bay. This is an impressive club that has the price tag to match.
Joining & Membership Fee: Membership to this club has not been open for some time however 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
Hong Kong Football Club
This is one for the sportsmen and women who will get the most out of this club. Sports come first and socialising happens later. Located in Happy Valley, this club has the largest number 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. As you would expect, sports bars are popular serving up tap beers and pub meals or go more formal at The Chairman’s bar. For the family there are kids classes and teams for all ages as well as games, music and entertainment.
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
Hong Kong Country Club
This visually stunning club overlooking an even more stunning Deep Water Bay, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, was founded in the 1960s. The club has plenty of activites to keep you, your family and friends busy with a number of facilities which include a great resort style outdoor swimming pool with sun lounges and poolside café, just perfect to spend your weekends here soaking up the sun along with tennis and squash courts, a bowling alley, health centre and some truly divine restaurants. The sweeping lawn that takes you down to the water is always impeccable manicured and you can organise to dine at the waters edge.
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 approx HK$460,000, while a corporate membership is HK$5,000,000. Monthly fees are HK$2,500. No. of Members: 2,000
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Nothing says “Hong Kong” like a membership to this club. You get access to three waterfront properties in the best locations possible. Causeway Bay, Middle Island and Shelter Cove - Sai Kung. Boating is one aspect. Whether you are a yachtie or a rower, this club accommodates all water interests and there are courses for adults and children in all aspects of sailing. On the social side, this club is really hard to beat. Some of the highlights would have to be the Compass Room fine dining, the boaties casual outdoor terrace bar and buffet nights, and the extensive swimming pools at Causeway Bay. The BBQ pit and outdoor terrace casual dining with spectacular views are the best at Middle Island. The a-la carte outdoor dining at Shelter Cove is friendly and inviting overlooking the marina.
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. An ordinary 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)
The Hong Kong Club
This is the ultimate club. Worth mentioning only because it is such an institution, but with strict rules adhered to, to join is near impossible. With luck you will be invited as a members guest, to rub shoulders with the whose who of Hong Kong business and society. This is the proverbial boy’s club, founded in 1846 and only recent times have allowed women into the Club. Fitted out with colonial style wood panelling and plush carpet, 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. With a number of fine dining thru to more casual eateries, you really will want to befriend someone who is a member just to be here. Strictly no phones or photos allowed inside the club.
Joining & Membership Fee: The waiting list to get on this club is decades. No one speaks of money here, and reputation and integrity are key focus for members. Money does not buy you a membership, and you need three existing members as referees if you apply. We were not able to ascertain what a joining fee would be in the rare event that one could apply for membership.
Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club
Away from the city and set in one of the most beautiful locations, the Golf Club has to be one of the most scenic 18 hole courses you could ever wish to play on. The Country Club has just finished extensive renovations, to make this one of the most exclusive resort styled clubs in Hong Kong. They have luxury townhouse accommodation available on site and every detail has been meticulously planned and carried out so as to feel as if you are holidaying in a 6 or 7 starred resort. Excellent family friendly restaurants and services.
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
Other clubs which are popular amongst families and available for joining are the Hong Kong Cricket Club, Kowloon Cricket Club, and the Ladies Recreation Club.