The launch of Soho House in 2010 jump-started a new wave of members clubs across Los Angeles. Now h Club, which opened in February, is poised to muscle aside the competition.
First, there’s the location, just north of the legendary intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Then, there’s the pedigree. An offshoot of London’s Hospital Club (named after a Victorian-era abandoned hospital), it was founded by the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and musician David A. Stewart. The impressive facilities were carved out of the former Redbury Hotel by architect Luciano Mazza, with interiors by Russell Sage, and boast a plethora of extravagant amenities across five floors: a beauty and wellness salon; a gym; co-working spaces; an open-air pool; 35 large hotel rooms serving members and their guests; and three restaurants, courtesy of chef Kris Morningstar, who led the kitchen at Terrine.
The multiuse Club Lounge is a chic gathering spot that functions as a restaurant, bar and co-working space.
But it’s the recording and podcast studio that hints at the club’s larger goals.
Another clue can be found on its walls, which showcase pieces from some of the city’s most exciting artists—and members—including Lisa Anne Auerbach, Gina Osterloh, Megan Whitmarsh and Christian J Vincent, as well as an original collection of photographs from Capitol Records, its neighbor across the street. More evidence lies in its motto, “Connect. Collaborate. Create,” and the fact that L.A. was chosen as the site of the club’s first expansion because it serves as home to 65,000 creatives, more than any other city in the country. “We aim to foster creativity, and we want to serve as the hub of innovation,” says Chris McGowan, CEO and president of Allen’s Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, which oversees the club.
That starts with the club’s strict “laptops off” policy, which shuts down work at 8pm and racks focus to activities—from screenings and music performances to lectures—that encourage mingling. h Club’s app allows members to communicate directly, mark themselves as there and post about upcoming events and projects.
From top: The luxe bedrooms at h Club can be rented out for long- or short-term stays; the member’s club includes a serene pool to help beat the SoCal heat.
“We’re a platform for creative people,” says Michael Berg, the club’s chief marketing officer. “We allow and actively promote talent. It’s not just a place to eat and drink.” Ali Hillman, who curates the art program, adds, “It’s about finding artists and seeking opportunities to further their careers.” Subsequent to artist and Holocaust survivor Ivan Moscovich’s show, for example, the Museum of Tolerance offered him a retrospective, which the club will curate. “That is something that very much excites us and our members because we then become part of a launchpad for those people,” Hillman notes.
Ivan Moscovich, “Harmonogram” (c. 1968)
There’s also a philanthropic element to the club’s ethos. “Paul Allen, of course, had a strong philosophy of giving back,” says Berg. “And Dave Stewart is a great believer in nurturing young talent.” The club administers three programs through its foundation aimed at promoting access to the creative industries. Those include Emerging Creative, which guides five young people through the rocky beginnings of their career; Headstart, a six-week intensive internship; and, Inspire, which offers members a chance to lead classes or share their experiences with students. “Over 2,500 young people have been through it,” says Berg of the London programs, which will also roll out here. “I wouldn’t dream of speaking with anyone at the other clubs where I’m a member,” Hillman shares, “Here, it’s all about connection.” Memberships from $2,600 per year