‘I’ll stay at the club’, words so nonchalantly dropped yet heavily loaded. Because of course you’re a member of a smart private members’ club, one of the great-and-the-good, someone who feels at home rubbing shoulders (not literally, there is a pandemic on) with society types, liter-and-gliter-atti, the stars of stage and screen that hole themselves up in these impenetrable citadels of celebrity. You belong.
Except you don’t at all, you’ve cleverly realised that there’s a backdoor entrance to some of London’s most exclusive clubs – staying the night. Because these clubs quietly let their spare rooms, and grant day membership into the bargain. Next thing you know, you’re down the Groucho club dancing with Harry Styles while Rod plays the Peter Blake piano in the Main Bar.
Here are some of our favourite clubs where you can stay for the night…
Never a club to do things by halves, The Ned – Soho House’s uber-project in The City, boasts not three, five or seven individual restaurants, but ten.
And when it comes to bedrooms, the private members’ club catering predominantly to local Londoners has more rooms than most of the capital’s hotels, with a smooth 250.
While any muggle can walk in off the street and eat in the vast array of top-end outlets downstairs, only Ned members can use the exclusive rooftop pool or access certain members’ only areas. Plus, of course, guests staying the night at The Ned.
Unusually The Ned operates outside of the usual Soho House ecosphere, which means that members of other Soho Houses don’t have access to The Ned’s members’ only areas.
ROOMS: From £265
WHERE: 27 POULTRY, THE CITY, EC2R 8AJ
If you stay over at the Groucho Club then you can guarantee that you’re sleeping in the same bed as a celebrity. Who knows, possibly at the same time.
The club is where the arts world goes to put its feet up and let its hair down. Blur’s Alex James once offered to fix my shoe here (he actually said ‘what the f*ck are you doing, give it here…’ and proceeded to hammer the sole against the bathroom wall), it’s the sort of place you just meet, and get sworn at by, your heroes.
The rooms, like the club, are homely and full of art. And if you’re travelling alone then a single room is relatively good value too.
ROOMS: From £195 (single) or £285
WHERE: 45 DEAN STREET, SOHO, W1D 4QB
The Arts Club
The entry level room at The Arts Club is a Superior King, which begs the question: superior to what? And the moment you enter the club you realise, superior to anyone not staying at The Arts Club.
Having undergone something of a renaissance over the last decade or so, travelling from somewhat a fusty and fading institution a decade ago, to one of London’s most exclusive and right-on clubs today, the phoenix that has risen from not-quite the ashes is part hotel and part exclusive club. Below three storeys of Art Deco-inspired rooms and suites, sits a beautiful, airy club that’s a breath of fresh air to the club scene.
The clientele are genteel, the odd minor royal, a smart set interested in the arts and literature, or just fine dining and cigars. Workout in the Lanserhof gym, dine in the restaurant or head downstairs to Leo’s for a nightclubbing experience you won’t forget.
WHERE: 40 DOVER STREEET, MAYFAIR, W1S 4NP
The Hospital Club has been rebranded as H Club. Perhaps sounding like a wing of St Mary’s was bad for business, or maybe enough time has elapsed since H from Steps was the first thing you thought of when you heard the letter and that they thought they could finally risk it?
A hotspot for creatives and media-types alike, the Covent Garden location is the perfect jumping off point for anyone visiting Central London and the seven storey club rivals any hotel for variety and fun.
As you’d expect from a club where every second member seems to work for an ad agency the bedrooms are chic and cool, individually curated with artwork and curios.
Rooms: From £188
WHERE: 24 ENDELL STREET, COVENT GARDEN, WC2H 9HQ
It’s been a while now since Shoreditch House cemented the cool credentials of East London, but the multi-storey mega club with rooftop pool continues to be the area’s defining glory.
The 26 bedrooms are small but perfectly formed, though mainly small (the room sizes range from ‘tiny’ to ‘small plus’). And they give you access to the rest of the club, including (crucially) the rooftop pool.
There’s also the bowling alley, Cowshed Spa and an impressive gym.
Rooms: From £140
WHERE: EBOR STREET, SHOREDITCH, E1 6AW
Staying at Home House is like the perfect country house staycation, but with all the advantages of being in Central London.
The opulent and vast property on Portman Square is a mix of imposing and homely, stately and welcoming. It’s got 7 different bars (including the Home Bar with its incredible, sculpted, Dame Zaha Hadid design), and three restaurants.
An institution in its own right, Home House makes for a luxurious and unforgettable stay.
Rooms: From £389
WHERE: 20 PORTMAN SQUARE, FITROVIA, W1H 6LW