Above: Shanghai’s M1NT club comes with all the trimmings.
Shanghai may be late in embracing the private members’ club concept, but that hasn’t stopped two Hong Kong heavyweights from making a swift mainland debut. Opening within weeks of each other, M1NT (24/F, 318 Fuzhou Lu; 86-21/6391-3191) and Kee Club (3/F, 796 Huaihai Lu; 86-21/ 3395-0888) are wooing high-fliers with opulent interiors, haute cuisine, and the promise of shoulder-rubbing opportunities with celebrities and socialites who pay up to US$1,750 for annual membership. This, however, is where the similarities end. With sister clubs in Hong Kong and Cannes, M1NT sprawls across a 24th-floor penthouse, offering panoramic views of the city from just behind the historic Bund riverfront. The smoldering design features dark woods and chain-mail curtains, with a 17-meter shark tank and vampy pop-art murals lining the walls. A menu of nouvelle Asian cuisine can be enjoyed while lounging in hot tubs on the rooftop terrace. Across town in twin 1920s French Concession villas, Kee Club is a more classical affair. The scarlet lounge is a confection of colors: long, cherry-hued Chesterfield sofas, walls dripping with art, and plush antique carpets leading out to a colonnaded balcony overlooking a leafy garden. Non-members take note: a good concierge can get you into both bar-raising venues. –AMY FABRIS-SHI
Originally appeared in the February/March 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Gypsy Tales: Privacy, Please”)