Since we won’t be traveling for the next couple of years, we have decided to spend our time, energy, and dollars in another way…
Recently we joined the American Club Taipei – a country club style organization dedicated to “camaraderie, sports, entertainment, relaxation and a range of high quality dining options.”
So far, so good.
American Club Taipei
Nestled between the historic Grand Hotel and the Keelung River, the American Club Taipei is a large complex of tennis and squash courts, 25 meter pool with water slide, large weight room, spa, youth center, playground, library, multiple restaurants, and more. In short, it is a nice wholesome family destination.
Only a brisk 8-minute bike ride from our city-center apartment, it feels more like a rural garden oasis. I’ve been spending a lot of time poolside… literally where these sentences were written.
Cardio is fun on occasion (I’ve biked ~3500 km so far this year) but it’s also important to lift heavy things from time to time. The weight room has all of the necessities, both machines and free weights. There is also a full schedule of group classes.
Taipei is a great city, but one thing it lacks is an abundance of quality outdoor dining… nice places to sit in the shade while enjoying an espresso or light meal with friends. I’ve enjoyed both of those experiences quite often these past weeks. The lunch specials are well done and good value.
Dining with children is great, but seldom relaxing. So why not let those little buggers go play while you finish your meal and conversation? As a fully enclosed complex with pervasive staff, the kids are safe and secure and free to roam – the playground, indoor playroom, foosball and air hockey tables, etc… are at their disposal.
And before heading home, stop by the market for milk, eggs, etc… all at reasonable prices. Or maybe get that thick cut bacon that you’ve been unable to find elsewhere… (I’m really excited about that one!)
Yes, it is a nice place.
We’ve had a pretty good start…
Jr is now in tennis and swimming classes, and has made extensive use of the rest of the facilities with friends both old and new. I’ve even found him reading comic books in the library. He is also a big fan of the mac-n-cheese and pizza.
Kid #2 is doing a great job of introducing us to other club members. As he gets more agile, I’m certain he will have lots of good times in the playroom and pool… he is certainly a fan of poolside naps.
Winnie has stepped back into her regular adventures on the elliptical machine, and has also started yoga and pilates classes. She also appears to enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi.
I’ve moved part of my weight training to the club… I still frequent the gym near home which is newer/better equipped, but the club gym is nice for post-cardio workouts. This morning I attended a tennis clinic for the 2nd week in a row. I’ve also reincorporated swimming into my weekly activities… last week I set a new personal record for 1,500 meter swim time (and also had my heaviest 10-rep squat set as an adult.)
As a slight aside, as a guy born and raised in Minnesota… outdoor swimming in November is amazing. Also, being able to swim for an hour without lane sharing is truly delightful.
Membership – the process and prices
Membership is essentially by invite only – 2 lifetime members need to sign your application and vouch for you as an upstanding citizen. This gets you on the waitlist.
For lifetime membership, the waitlist is years long. For a shorter term membership (We signed a 2-year contract) we waited about 3 months. (The waitlist for non-US passport holders is longer.) Price wise, the break even point is just a bit over 4 years… at which point we will most likely be back in the US.
Membership dues come in 4 parts – an upfront payment for a bond (refundable at contract completion), an upfront nonrefundable initiation fee, monthly fees, and monthly minimum spend.
Our initial payment was 291,000 TWD (~$10,000 USD.) This consists of 60,000 TWD ($2,100) as the bond and 231,000 TWD ($8,100) nonrefundable initiation fee.
The monthly fee is 6,280 TWD (~$220) plus a minimum food and beverage spend of 3,200 TWD (~$110.)
My 1st impression was that this is a lot of money, but when you break it down monthly it comes to $560 + food + extras… which also seems like a lot of money. (Maybe it is mostly funded by cashing out our rewards points…?)
I estimate that with our normal dining habits along with regular tennis and swim coaching we will spend about $1,000/month. Part of this replaces existing spending on sports and food, but still a large overall net increase.
Worth it though.
We joined a country club. We now spend a lot of time there, exercising, playing, eating, and socializing.