Society / The Seen

The Secret Life of Park House Houston — Inside the New Private Social Club Inspired By London’s Most Exclusive Retreats

By Invitation Only

BY // 06.06.24
photography Pär Bengtsson and Creative Direction by Michelle Aviña

On a recent Saturday evening, a group of gala attendees paraded from the Post Oak Hotel in their black-tie attire to the newly opened posh private social club Park House at 4411 San Felipe for an impromptu after-party. You didn’t see the play-by-play of the revelry from Park House’s speakeasy-style Velvet Room posted on Instagram because no photos or videos are permitted to respect members’ privacy.

It’s a refreshing change. The bookcase entrance leading to berry-pink velvet banquettes and pink-and-gold metallic marbleized wallpaper isn’t made for social media clicks, but rather for an immersive guest experience.

And Park House is all about fulfilling experiences.

“We want our members to have many different room options, each with its own personality, depending on how they are using the club that day — a business breakfast, lunch with friends, girls’ night out, family brunch on the weekend, or late-night listening to one of our DJs, “ Park House co-founder Deborah Scott says as we saunter through the club during a busy lunch seating (the club’s executive chef Oscar Carrasco is from The Little Nell in Aspen).

The visionaries behind Park House are hospitality and restaurant veterans Deborah and John Scott and Megan and Brady Wood, who opened Park House Dallas in 2018, modeled after British private club darlings Annabel’s The Arts Club, and 5 Hertford Street.

The Scotts spent nearly five years in London, where they joined and researched several private clubs, and where John Scott was president and CEO of Belmond Ltd., formerly Orient-Express Hotels. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts in Dallas for nine years. Deborah Scott is a navigator of philanthropic, well-traveled, art-collecting friends, which informed the elevated programming for Park House members. Brady Wood, founder of Woodhouse based in Dallas, is developer of The Moore Miami members club and Elevation Hotel & Spa in Crested Butte, among others.

Texas artist Jessica Rice created a mural with cranes, the Park House signature bird, for the private club's The Garden. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)
Texas artist Jessica Rice created a mural with cranes, the Park House signature bird, for the private club’s The Garden. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)

The Park House model translated well to a Texas audience. Park House Dallas has a wait list of 6,500 hopeful applicants (and growing). The Houston club benefits from experience and extra space — a total of 25,000 square feet with four bars with ample lounge seating, three dining rooms, two DJ booths, a lush patio, multiple private dining rooms, a late-night speakeasy and an intimate cigar lounge.

“Park House Houston is a larger footprint than Dallas, so we were able to build in the spaces that had been successful in Dallas and elevate the experiences and design elements,” Deborah Scott notes. “We created more special opulent spaces such as Velvet Room and The Library.”

Los Angeles design firm Studio Collective ensured that every surface of the interiors is highly designed with intricate geometric parquet floors, coffered ceilings, textural wallpaper in gem tones, exquisite marble mantels, overcall murals by local Houston artists and structural lighting.

While each room is different, perceptive visitors will notice a crane, the Park House signature bird, reappearing in several spaces. Crane sculptures are perched in the Garden, which feels like an outdoor patio with its faux trees and walls of windows. In one of the main dining areas, the soon-to-be-installed hand-painted de Gournay Namban wallpaper is an Art Decoera abstract seascape in a three-dimensional gold leaf pattern with a flock of soaring cranes.

A packed calendar of programming includes live performances, speakers, art programming, member trips and partnerships with chefs, sommeliers and spirits experts, as well as tastings, culinary events and signature club-wide themed parties. And what would a private social club be without its traditional rules? Cellphones are allowed in designated areas only, but forget the selfies — photos and videos are prohibited on premises except during private and special events; no one under 18 is allowed without a parent member, except on Tuesday family nights and weekends until 6 pm; and a dress code is firmly in place.

Deborah and John Scott & Megan and Brady Wood are the co founders behind Park House and the new Park House Houston. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)
Deborah and John Scott & Megan and Brady Wood are the co founders behind Park House and the new Park House Houston. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)

“Art is a very important part of the design DNA at Park House,” Deborah Scott says. MKG Art Management was tapped to create the permanent collection on display. In addition, the long central hallway with tumbling block marble floors is a gallery with rotating art shows — on view currently is Los Angeles based artist Matt Murphy. Chairish, the online design marketplace (co-founder Anna Brockway and Deborah Scott are dear friends), also created an art installation in the Chairish Room with their favorite artists. You merely scan a discreet QR code to acquire a piece.

And you’ll want to — a visit to Park House Houston will have you ready to redecorate.

Park House Houston (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)
A John McAllister oil on canvas greets members as they enter the club level at Park House Houston on the seventh floor. (Photography by Pär Bengtsson) (Photo by Pär Bengtsson and Michelle Aviña)

Park House Houston’s invitation-only founding membership offering closed more than a year ago — for a $25,000 joining fee (plus $7,500 to add a spouse), founding members had their annual dues waived for life — but general memberships are open to applicants 30 years of age and older. The initiation fee is $5,250 with annual dues of $3,000. Spouses/partners are an additional fee. Junior members under age 31 get a reduced fee.

For more information on Park House Houston, go here.

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