Find out how the club is designed to help members achieve a work-life balance
Founder and developer Beau Burns.
Yes, The Wonderer has a junior Olympic-sized pool. It appeared as the backdrop for many Instagram posts after the private social and wellness club opened its Meeting Street campus in July. But that’s not how founder, developer, and principal Beau Burns would like the property to be known. His vision is more ambitious. “The pool is one of our many amenities,” says Burns.“If you want to join so you can pop bottles poolside and say ‘look at me,’ then you’re not a good fit.”
Members enter through the large, rotating sun-shaped door and winding path lined with bamboo and tropical foliage, designed to help visitors become more mindful. In the area known as “the garden,” a teepee imported from Norway is the focal point, where yoga, HIIT, and spin classes are offered on the athletic turf. Walk into the cafe, where a few people are working on laptops, sipping cold brews and smoothies. Upstairs, a rooftop bar and full-service, global-inspired restaurant, Krida, boasts an extensive agave library. Through the cafe’s double glass doors is the inviting pool, lined on one side with cabanas that can be reserved for bottle service. Beyond the large movie screen, there’s the casual restaurant Bhava (which means “the good life”), offering avocado toast and poke bowls. Tucked through a back door is a co-working space, where two women talk on their cell phones in soundproof booths and a conference table with a large screen is ready for Zoom calls.
The lifestyle club sports a junior Olympic size pool, offers fitness classes, and has three restaurants, including rooftop bar Krida (right).
Think of The Wonderer as a “home away from home” or “the ability to go on vacation in your own backyard,” explains Burns. It offers an attractive destination for workers who have increased flexibility to log in from anywhere they have an Internet connection. Of course, there are parties, including movie nights, wine tastings, and concerts, but there also are fundraisers, such as a Wag O’ Ween for Pet Helpers, nutritional workshops, and sound baths.
So far, several hundred people have paid an annual $2,000 per person initiation fee and $200 monthly dues to join. Burns acknowledges the perception that comes with opening a private club in Charleston because of institutions that have excluded people of color and says the membership is “incredibly diverse in every way, even more so than we hoped.”
The former banker and event planner developed the concept for The Wonderer after he left his 10-year finance career in 2014 and resolved to live a life with meaning. He, along with a small group of local investors, has paid more than $5 million to develop the property.
A firm believer in the importance of achieving “balance” among health, work, and social life, Burns wants to build an engaged, “purpose-driven” community that fosters mindfulness, creativity, and deep conversations, with members making connections and collaborating on new projects, and even, addressing some of the community’s challenges. “This brand,” he says, “is a lifestyle and a community before it’s a business.”
To introduce the club to the public, The Wonderer is hosting several ticketed events in the coming months, including: