5.20.20 / Global

Hospitality Helps: Soho House Extends Itself to Communities Around the World

The global response to this pandemic has been mixed, but, surprisingly, there’s one industry that is continually finding ways to stay strong and contribute: hospitality. Among all businesses, hospitality was one of the hardest hit for obvious reasons, and a few weeks ago there was a looming dread over those within it. There’s still uncertainty, but many have done what they know best—what drew them to the industry in the first place—which is to provide support, comfort, and openness for others. We’ve seen amazing results, from unique delivery services, to free food for hospitality workers, to hotels transforming into makeshift hospitals. Here we spotlight one of the initiatives we’re happy to see in our community:

Despite the fact that Soho House is such a global brand, catering to globetrotting members who want a Soho House experience in different cities, it’s always been connected to the communities surrounding each property. They’ve featured local artists and creators at their events, opened restaurants to the public, and frequently open their doors to friends of members. During this pandemic, that ethos has been extended even further, with initiatives around the world to help sustain their neighborhoods—often in cities that have been hit the hardest. Many of these initiatives take advantage of Soho House’s many resources. At White City House in the UK, a team of chefs are preparing a 1,000 meals a day for two local hospitals. Soho Farmhouse is delivering 300 meals a day to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. Even their famous spa Cowshed is sending increasingly-essential grooming kits to hospitals and charities. Here in America the output is similar, with Cecconi’s West Hollywood and Dumbo House both donating hundreds of meals to healthcare workers and local charities.

While many of the Houses throughout the world are donating food, some have made more unique offerings. Soho House Amsterdam is delivering hand written cards to elder communities, who are particularly vulnerable to isolation. And Soho House Berlin is delivering indoor games and activities to the children’s charity Die ARCHE, equally important for kids who suddenly feel so contained without fully grasping why. In addition to all of their efforts externally, the company has also created the Soho Impact Support Fund, in which they are using salary donations from the senior team to support those who have suddenly lost wages as a result of the outbreak.

For most of the people reading this, however, the most interesting community initiatives is Soho House’s Open House platform. The website brings the creators, workshops, and panels Soho House is known for online — and for the first time these events are open to the public. There are conversations with people like writer/director/actor Lena Waithe, designer Prabal Garung, and Tiger King’s Trevor Groth. There are meditation, yoga, and HIIT training sessions from experts around the world. There’s even a banana bread workshop with Pixie Geldof, an animated short film screening from Hong Kong filmmaker Tommy Ng-Kai Chung, and at-home hair care tips from Jonathan Van Ness and Lena Heady. Most of the people stuck in quarantine have felt varying degrees of struggle due to social isolation, boredom, anxiety, and general frustration, so this wealth of content is welcome. At a time like this when people are so closed off, it’s a friendly gesture for a membership club to open itself up so freely and share both their resources and their own cultural community with everyone around them.

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