A haven of peace in the midst of Central Hong Kong, The Helena May is a private members’ club housed in a gracious heritage building at 35 Garden Road. The Club has been a popular meeting place since it first opened its doors on the 12th September 1916. Originally the idea of Lady Helena May, wife of the 15th Governor of Hong Kong, the Club was intended to provide accommodation for single women coming to live and work in Hong Kong and a place for women of the Hong Kong community to socialise. The Helena May continues today to serve as a welcoming and affordable place for women and men of all nationalities and from all walks of life. The beautiful colonial building stands out as a superb example of Hong Kong’s architectural heritage, thanks in many ways to the dedication of The Helena May’s members who have worked hard to preserve the building as part of the heritage of Hong Kong.
For members of The Helena May, the Club represents a cosy, comfortable and centrally located “home away from home” which is rare in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. It boasts Hong Kong’s largest privately-owned English-language library with over 25,000 books and a dedicated children’s corner. The Club provides comfortable accommodation with shared facilities for women residents on the first and second floors of the Main Building as well as a number of self-contained studios for both men and women in the Court Building for both long and short term stays, at very reasonable prices. One can enjoy quality Western cuisine at affordable prices, host parties and events or simply relax in the genteel atmosphere of the Main Lounge. Apart from a range of function rooms that are sized for different needs, the tranquil environments of the Club’s beautiful garden and Garden Room offer another alternative to those who prefer a low-key, intimate setting for their special events.
The Helena May came into being at the time of the social awakening of women’s rights and individuality in the early 20th century, when women from the West began to go abroad alone seeking employment. As respectable young women, mainly teachers, nurses and secretaries, without male protectors they required safe housing when they arrived in Hong Kong. The building of The Helena May was the outcome of this need.
Lady Helena May, who was the wife of the 15th Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry May, was also the mother of four daughters. She was mindful of the lack of suitable accommodation for young western women and that became the driving force behind the establishment of an affordable women’s residence and a meeting place for women. The building was funded through public donation, most notably from two local philanthropists, Sir Ellis Kadoorie and Mr. Ho Kom Tong, The Helena May was opened on 12th September, 1916.
To preserve the history and architecture of the building as part of the heritage of Hong Kong
To uphold the tradition of serving the community and promoting the welfare of women
To provide affordable quality lodging and dining facilities in a welcoming and comfortable environment