Hong Kong is a city of private clubs, partly because of its colonial history, and now even mollycoddled toddlers can become exclusive members of one. Maggie & Rose, a club originally created in London which features eat, play and learn spaces, opened its doors at the Pulse in Repulse Bay last Sunday. And as with many other exclusive clubs, it isn’t cheap: the joining fee is HK$38,000 and the monthly charge for classes ranges from HK$1,800 (for four classes) to HK$8,000 (unlimited). At the end of the first year, those interested – and who can afford it – will pay around HK$134,000, a much higher price than in some of the oldest clubs for “grown-ups” in the city. For instance, to join and have access to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, those not employed in the media industry pay a joining fee of HK$25,000, with a monthly subscription fee costing HK$950. To join the Maggie & Rose Beach Club, one has to be recommended by an existing member. The membership fee covers a family of up to four children, and Hong Kong members get 10 passes to go to the clubs in London. Dr Cecilia Lam, educational psychologist at the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children, noted that “parents often look for children with similar background. For instance, quite often children play with other children from the same building and that creates good social bounds”. Whether it’s necessary to join a private club and “pay such amount of money is up to the parents”, she said. “However, they can probably find the same sort of interactions at the beach or at any public playground.” Lam said that it was good to have a safe place, like the new club, where children can develop their motor and social skills. But she noted that it was also beneficial for children to interact with others of different backgrounds and have normal daily experiences in society. Although it might seem expensive to some, bay views, a Notting Hill-inspired entrance, 7,000 sq ft rooftop terrace – which will only be opened in January – and several indoor eat, play and learn areas have already enticed about 100 families in Hong Kong to join Maggie & Rose Beach Club. The aim of the club – which targets youngsters from one to six years old – is “getting children to be children”, said founder and CEO Maggie Bolger. Cooking, collage and courses for “wannabe elves” are some of the classes available. Bolger, 38, said the club was created based on her own experience as a mother, and aims to be a family-oriented place. While children can read at the small library, watch movies at the cinema room, and play at the cha chaan teng booth and even a mini-majhong table, parents can enjoy the leather sofas and Wi-fi access. Grown-ups may also chill in the restaurant area, which overlooks a soft playground. After opening two Maggie & Rose clubs in London – the first in Kensington in 2007, and then another in Chiswick – the one in Hong Kong is the first outside of the British capital.