- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
In an industry where social and professional clout are often defined by access to exclusive spaces, San Vicente Bungalows stands out as the membership club you definitely want to be a member of.
Officially, what stands in your way are just three simple questions that — along with a forward-facing photo and member nomination — make up the application to Jeff Klein’s 10-month-old hotspot in West Hollywood: What would your autobiography be called? What is your favorite restaurant and why? What would your unique contribution to SVB be?
“It doesn’t matter if you have money, it matters if you’re interesting,” says one of the club’s 1,100 members (fees are in line with other L.A. clubs: $1,800 to join and $4,200 annually, with reduced rates for younger members).
From the 12-person membership committee, nine people meet every two weeks to discuss new applicants, who range from moguls (Bob Iger recently toured) to musicians and stars (Taylor Swift expressed interest after being spotted multiple times with the likes of Emma Stone) to stylists (Sophie Lopez, Kate Hudson’s go-to, is a member) and writers (founding member Greg Berlanti admitted he’s “not a club-type person but SVB is a kind of reincarnation of the Gardens of Allah”).
There’s a roughly 7,000-person waitlist and capacity for about 3,000 members. (That number could increase once Klein builds out the pool and cabanas, a project that should be completed within the next two years.) Klein and maitre d’ Dimitri Dimitrov, who moved from Tower Bar to open SVB, may nominate people, but don’t have a final say as to who is offered membership.
“Everything here feels like a still life painting,” Eddie Redmayne says over a basket of crudités (inspired by another Hollywood haunt, Le Club 55 in St. Tropez). “It’s an oasis mixed with bustle, a good mix” of people both instantly recognizable and not, he adds.
There’s no dress code except to say that the rules have certainly changed since the space’s previous incarnation as a clothing-optional motel. All the rotating art on the walls is by up-and-coming artists, for sale, and curated by the likes of Urs Fischer and Vito Schnabel (both members).
“Early on you would hear murmurs of — is this going to work?” says Berlanti. “When it first opened people were doing that Hollywood thing like they do with movies, questioning … and then it’s a big hit and those same people are like, ‘Oh, I totally thought it would work.’ Jeff’s a director with a vision in that way, and this one definitely worked.”
A version of this story appears in the Sept. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day