South Kensington Club: London’s newest members’ respite merges health and hedonism
London would have to have the highest density of private member's clubs in the western world, but few fuse the entertaining and wellness needs of the modern day nomad quite as handsomely as new lifestyle offering, the South Kensington Club.
Housed within a grand Georgian music hall, the 25,000 sq ft property, owned by Quintessentially co-founder Luca del Bono, inhabits the former site of Ronnie Wood's infamous Harrington Club, while its bathhouse, which extends into Queensberry Mews, was the first London studio of artist Francis Bacon. But in addition to the traditional bar and club restaurant offering (here it's organic Mediterranean fare with gluten-free options), it is the concept's holistic approach that makes it such an attractive proposition.
'The diverse wellness therapies on offer are a multi-cultural vision of health,' says SKC's health and wellness director Tali Shine. 'We have a carefully curated fusion of top techniques from all corners of the globe including the Turkish hammam, Russian Banya and salt water Watsu pool.'
Shine has also overseen the club's 'South Juice' bar - cold-pressed daily onsite - and Tea Library room that evokes the vibe of an Oriental-style, Parisian parlour. And to accompany SKC's hot yoga, reformer Pilates and ballet barre timetable, there's a state-of-the-art gym complete with strained-glass windows and hardwood floors that almost make working out a religious experience.
The club's design has been beautifully drawn together by interior consultant and art director Sussy Cazalet. 'SKC is an ode to travel, exploration and health,' reinforces Cazalet who worked closely with Del Bono on the space. 'It is where a tapestry of cultures meet, and all sit within a palette of warm Sicilian colours and natural materials.' These include a luxe mix of lave stones, tropical woods, marble, colourful ceramics, terracotta pots, tadelakt walls and Mediterranean plants, which provide a constant link to nature throughout the club's social areas and spa. Mid century Brazilian Percival Lafer chairs mingle with the establishment's hand woven textiles, supplied by American textile artist Sam Kasten, along with artwork by Peter Beard and lifestyle photography courtesy of Slim Aarons.
'We used a Sicilian company called Calietra to make our lava stone reception desk,' continues Cazalet of the soothing range of textures utilised. 'It called for a huge piece of lava to be carved out of mount Etna.' The Banya's bespoke fireplace cladding by Based Upon was a similarly ambitious undertaking: 'It can only be described as a huge Bronze armour plate,' she laughs.