When paparazzi hounds you every day and your face flashes across the billboards in Times Square, the last place you want to holiday is in the public eye. Enter: the private Country Club, where amenities abound, membership is near impossible and the lines between reality and urban legend are blurred. Below, five clubs notorious for exclusivity. From Bill Gates to past presidents, discover who’s on the list.
The Yellowstone Club
When you find yourself teeing off next to the man who invented Microsoft, you know you’ve made it. Located in the stunning Rocky Mountains of Montana, members at this sprawling 13,600 acre ski resort and club enjoy access to seven different dining outlets and three state-of-the-art spas, as well as over 2,200 acres of pristine ski slopes.
If you’re thinking of becoming a member, a hedge fund might help. Membership start-up fees cost about $25,000 and are only available to those who own a $5–35 million home in the mountains. Bill Gates, Jimmy Kimmel, Ben Affleck andGisele Bündchen, as well as Justin Timberlake are among some of the 250 members who call this club their home away from home.
Muirfield Golf & Country Club
No list of the world’s most exclusive country clubs would be complete without mention of Scotland, the country who first birthed the establishment. The former host of The Open Championship, otherwise known as the oldest of the four major worldwide golf championships, this long-running golf course has been in existence since 1891.
Notoriously difficult to attain membership, its steep application process comes with a membership fee of over £100,000. Members gain access to the clubhouse, with charmingly old-world touches like the Captain’s and Smoking Rooms (however, no smoking is permitted on the premises).
Fast becoming a staple for CEOs in the Middle East, Capital Club Dubai offers a little something for both business and pleasure. Some of the biggest deals in the world happened in its meeting rooms. When executives need to rejuvenate they can refresh themselves with 5-star dining, afternoon tea ceremonies, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities. Access to the Capital Club also means reciprocal memberships to its network of 50 clubs, ensuring that no matter where you go in the world, you’ll always be on the list.
Cercle de Lorraine
Steep pockets alone won’t get you in to the Brussels Business Club, originally founded as a networking site for persons of note in the financial industry. Prospective members must submit an application, be interviewed by the the club general secretary or director, and finally be approved by a vote of majority from the ballot committee.
If you are one of the lucky few who manage to gain entry, you can sip from one of the many vintages stored in the club’s wine cellar, enjoy members-only rates on cultural and sporting events in Europe, as well as get the chance to mingle with club members like Baron Baudouin Michiels of Kraft Foods and Michel Tilmant of ING.
The Union Club
The first official private club in Manhattan dates all the way back to 1836. Still today this presidential stomping ground is old-world, old-money and old-New York. This club caters strictly to iconic members of Manhattan’s elite, including past members Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill. A Park Avenue landmark, the quintessential gentleman’s club comes complete with a card room, library, as well as squash courts.
Whether you’re the highest paid supermodel in the world or the President of the United States, everyone needs to step away from it all to find privacy, luxury, and a little peace and quiet.