Downtown Charleston lifestyle club The Wonderer opened its adults-only campus July 4 weekend, and while the Instagram feeds of local influencers were filled with videos of poolside DJs and invitees celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, the space is designed for members looking to strike a balance between work, wellness and social interaction, founding member Beau Burns told the City Paper.
The 50,000-square-foot Meeting Street Road campus features co-working space, a café, restaurant, rooftop bar, junior Olympic-sized pool and an event space called “The Garden.” And while the idea of private clubs like the SoHo House, Zero Bond and The Wing isn’t new in big cities, The Wonderer is a first in Charleston. In fact, even in cities like New York City and Miami where members clubs have a significant foothold, these once-stuffy establishments have been reimagined by the pandemic, as owners look to attract young members who might now have the ability to work remotely.
While Burns said that “the majority of the member base is 35 years and older” at The Wonderer, the club could just as well attract 20-somethings — who are willing to pay the $2,000 initiation fee and $200 monthly rate.
“We tried to build the club in a manner that offers members an environment that creates a ‘second space’ with luxurious outdoor and indoor spaces, a rolling green lawn, lush perimeter tropical landscaping, a junior Olympic pool, and shared workspaces,” Burns said in a statement to the City Paper. “Charleston is going through a business evolution, with people moving here from major cities and new companies putting down roots. We want to provide a hub for networking and creating.”
The vision for the private club came to Burns after he quit his “unfulfilling corporate finance” job to embark on an overseas trip he hoped would help him “regain some balance and meaning.”
“While traveling, I realized I wasn’t the only person struggling with finding a work-life balance,” he said.
The Wonderer’s phased opening was initially slated to commence in 2019 after the group broke ground in August 2018. According to Burns, a combination of permit, weather and COVID-19-related delays pushed the project’s opening date back, but those who became members in 2018 as part of The Wonderer’s initial offering have been granted memberships now.
A nine-person advisory board that includes Burns along with familiar local names like Indigo Road Hospitality Group president Steve Palmer and Garden & Gun publisher Christian Bryant will oversee operations, funding and membership decisions.
Now open with limited hours, The Wonderer will aim to help members achieve the work-life balance Burns could never find. Members will find several dining and drinking options, including The Wonderer’s morning cafe, restaurant, Bhava, and rooftop bar, Krida. The co-working space features computers, conference room space and soundproof pods for calls.
The club’s wellness component will continue to expand, Burns said. Currently, The Wonderer offers daily outdoor classes in The Garden, and a future partnership could soon give members gym access nearby.
The Wonderer is currently open with limited hours for members Thursday-Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. By August 1, ownership plans to be open seven days a week “with normal operating hours,” Burns said.
For more information, visit thewonderer.com.