A Look Inside One of Newport Beach’s Finest Social Clubs

Are You Lucky Enough to Be a Member of the Balboa Bay Club?

The world is full of beautiful places and wonderful people. One of these locations sits tucked away in the back bay of Newport Beach. There, the sun shines a little brighter; the water feels just a bit more refreshing, and the air is full of a serene calmness. The Balboa Bay Club is a place where the elite can go to socialize. Where members can mingle with like-minded individuals and a place that recognizes the importance of family.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Selby Werner, the Director of Membership for the Club. Not only did she answer all of my questions, but she graciously guided me on a tour of both the Clubhouse and Resort. Access to the Clubhouse is exclusive to members and their guests only, whereas the Resort is open to the public. Busy moms and dads can drop off the kids, thanks to the Clubhouse’s complimentary child care, before running off to get some exercise in their spacious fitness center. If relaxation is more what you’re looking for, the Clubhouse spa is the way to go. For date nights, The Members Grill offers live music and private wine lockers. They also have themed nights, Taco Tuesdays and Prime Rib Fridays, to name a couple. But, let’s get a deeper insider’s look with Selby Werner, you’re go-to contact for all things membership.

Q: What are some of the benefits of being a member of the Balboa Bay Club?

Selby Werner: Above anything else, the most compelling benefit is the community. Being a member of the Bay Club is being a part of a community; something that is lacking in today’s world. It’s a place where luxury and casual elegance can co-exist. It’s also a terrific place to network and build professional relationships. We have members from all over the world and in every industry, so there is always an open door to opportunity here.

Q: What is included in membership?

SW: Apart from the unique sense of community, members are provided with a plethora of privileges. The Clubhouse includes a full-service spa, salon, fitness center, racquetball court, full-size basketball court, men’s and women’s locker rooms, the wonderful Members Grill, private pool, Pool Bar, private beach and lawn, as well as access to Duffy boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. Members also enjoy countless events throughout the year put on by our sensational member relations team. These events run the gambit from Wine and Paint Nights to Duffy Boat Scavenger Hunts, to family friendly holiday festivals. Our Children’s Christmas Party this past year welcomed over 550 people of all ages and guests were able to build their own stuffed animal friends, meet with Santa and Elsa, and so much more! In addition to what we have here at the Clubhouse, members receive discounts at the Meritage Collection Resorts and have access to over 185 reciprocal clubs around the world. Beyond that, membership provides unending opportunities to create priceless memories with family and friends.

Q: Could you share a brief history of the Club, and how it came to be?

SW: The Balboa Bay Club is fondly referred to as The Host of the Coast. It’s been a Southern California institution for nearly 70 years. The Club’s roots reach all the way back to the early 1940’s when the land was discovered by a couple of gentlemen who found it as the site of a bunch of abandoned Army Air Corps shacks. It was a process, but by 1948, the dream of those young gentlemen finally took shape, and the Balboa Bay Club was founded. Celebrities like Humphrey Bogart, Ruby Keeler, and of course the “Duke” (John Wayne) loved the Club and made it a frequent retreat from Hollywood. It’s evolved substantially over the years but always maintained its casually elegant and comfortable beach vibe. In recent years, the Balboa Bay Club & Resort was purchased by Richard Pickup and Eagle Four Partners, a local investment group. Mr. Pickup raised his family in Orange County and saw the purchase of the Club as a wonderful opportunity to give back to a community that had given him so much. Millions of investment dollars later and the Resort and Club have new life! The Resort is a premier destination on the Orange County coastline, and the Club has become a second living room for hundreds of local families. Ownership takes care of the Bay Club like it is their home which makes it a really wonderful place to be. We look forward to many more decades of creating history here and continuing our legacy of being the Host of the Coast!

Q: How do you apply for membership?

SW: Before applying, I would encourage those who are interested in coming in for a tour so they can experience the Club firsthand. As far as the actual application goes, it’s just a few pages and asks for some basic information and a couple of personal references. We do a basic credit check and then based on our assessment of the application, we provide a recommendation to the ownership committee who ultimately has the final say. It’s a relatively painless process and from start to finish usually takes between 1-2 weeks. And, of course, I’m here to hold your hand through the entire process.

Q: Any exclusive insider facts you can expose to our readers?

SW: We’d rather they experience them in person … but sure! We will be making some pretty spectacular renovations to the Clubhouse this coming spring in time for the opening of the summer season – mostly aesthetic improvements to enhance and update the theme of coastal elegance! Also, Chef David’s Brussel sprouts will turn anyone into a veggie lover as they are mind-blowingly delicious; but you can only get them in the Members Grill… and yes, I did just use Brussel sprouts and delicious in the same sentence!

And aside from that, they will just have to come and see.

If membership into this exclusive social club excites you, contact the Balboa Bay Club at 949.630.4120 and ask for Selby Werner.

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