After a lifetime frequenting the Eagle Club in Gstaad as if it was my own, I am finally a legitimate member. I had to do some light lobbying for support, but in spirit I have always felt like a member, having enjoyed the Eagle since I was small. Both my parents are members, my father being the club’s longest-standing life member and certainly one of the most vocal. You can count on him to reprimand someone for sneaking a quick phone call on the terrace or castigating non-skiers who enjoy use of the best tables.
He’s right, but when you have a club as inclusive as say the Eagle, you can’t expect everyone to follow the rules. But they should. Club rules are there for good reasons and members must know what they are and keep their guests informed. Don’t be surprised if someone throws your telephone away next time you dare take a call at a club!
The second club I joined this year is the Andes. The founder members invited me to join, and thus I was spared the embarrassing appeals. For those of you who don’t follow these sorts of things, there is an inter-club ski week every year in St. Moritz. The Corviglia Club hosts the event, which includes such clubs as the Brook from New York and Madrid’s Puerta de Hierro. The Andes has no clubhouse and was only invented recently to include friends of the Corviglia who are not members of any participating clubs. The Eagle Club has been banned for conduct unbecoming, though I intend to remedy this in due course.
Most recently I joined 5 Hertford Street, Robin Birley’s new jewel in London, the mother of clubland. When Richard Caring bought the Birley empire, none of those clubs appealed to me. The gentlemen’s clubs were off-limits, and places such as the Groucho and Soho House never interested me, as I don’t know any of the members. When Hertford Street opened I was thrilled to be invited and even more so to finally have a place to go where I know people, or at least recognize them.
This is what I love about walking into Hertford Street and the Eagle—all the familiar faces. Did you think I’d join a club to network or make new friends? Bah!
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