Laundry valets, purified air, private chefs: these London hotspots are more like five-star hotels than gyms. From boutique-style studios to state-of-the-art boxing gyms to high-tech fitness meccas, we bring you the finest places to work out in the capital – some with royalty among their clientele…
London’s Best Luxury Gyms
Swanky US gym chain Equinox found its first UK home on Kensington High Street back in 2012, with a second following in St James’ a few years later and a third just opened in Bishopsgate. The Kensington club resembles a kind of luxury fitness playground, with a huge open-plan gym housed beneath a gleaming domed skylight, boasting every piece of equipment under the sun available for members to peruse at their leisure. Their second London club, E by Equinox, steps things up even further. With its stylish interiors and hot Mayfair location, this one is more like a private members club – think marble pillars, leather armchairs and polished oak floors. But the luxury touches extend further than the club’s interiors: from the fridge of eucalyptus-infused towels to the complimentary laundry valet to the changing rooms equipped with fresh coffee and robes, the attention to detail here is exquisite. Members also have access to a plethora of fitness tech, including a cryotherapy chamber, a compression therapy area, and a precision running zone with customised Woodway treadmills blowing out oxygenated air, designed to make you train harder.
How much? E by Equinox: from £350 a month plus joining fees, Equinox Kensington: from £215 a month.
Who goes? Meghan Markle has been spotted doing pilates classes at the Kensington branch.
The term ‘gym’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to KX. Pronounced ‘kicks’, this plush members club houses a gym, fitness studios, a spa, clubroom, restaurant and juice bar, plus clinics offering physiotherapy and aesthetic medicine. All members have access to a detailed health analysis, measuring everything from body composition tests to DNA analysis. Forget communal water fountains: here members help themselves to free bottles of mineral water (you even get a choice of chilled or room temperature). The changing rooms, meanwhile, are better stocked than most people’s own bathrooms, with dressing gowns, slippers, make up remover, dry shampoo, perfume, hair straighteners and curlers all provided. You could easily spend a whole day at KX – and if you’re shelling out £595 a month on membership, why wouldn’t you?
How much? Joining fee £2000, monthly membership £595.
Who goes? Pippa Middleton worked out here before her wedding, Gwenyth Paltrow is a fan and and rumour has it Kylie Minogue is a regular.
The likes of Prince Harry and David Beckham are reportedly among the clientele of Third Space, a London health club chain with sites across the City, Tower Bridge, Soho, Canary Wharf and Marylebone. Third Space gyms edge into members club territory: as the name suggests, they’re designed to be the third place you’ll choose to spend your time in, after home and work. Their Soho spot is arguably the most luxurious, with facilities including a skylit climbing wall, boxing ring, and hypoxic chamber designed to help those preparing to compete at high altitude. Their City location, meanwhile, will make you healthier just by stepping inside thanks to the use of quartz lamps, which destroy 99.9 per cent of biological contaminants, ensuring impeccably clean air. Their newest innovation is The Yard at their Canary Wharf branch: London’s largest functional training space spanning 7,250 square feet. Here you’ll find everything from a handstand wall to sled tracks to on-screen heart rate monitors, as well as a fully-equipped central rig boasting multi-functional bars, ropes, rings and a climbing pegboard – ideal for gymnasts. As expected, all gyms feature swish and spacious changing rooms, complete with pristine showers stocked with Cowshed products.
How much? Prices start at £100 a month for weekend only access, while group membership to all clubs will set you back £195 a month.
Who goes? Prince Harry, David Beckham and Guy Ritchie have all trained at Third Space.
Fed up of jam-packed gym floors and no free equipment? You wouldn’t have any problems at The Clock, a high-end private members gym situated in London’s Marylebone: in their intimate main gym room, only four people will ever be working out at once. Brainchild of nutritionist and trainer Zana Morris, workouts at The Clock follow a supervised 15-minute high intensity format featuring elegant copper gym equipment which is entirely unlike anything you’d see in your local Fitness First. Upon arrival, guests can book breakfast or lunch which private chef Michael will have ready for you once you’re showered and ready.
How much? £600 for one month, £595 for the 12-day programme.
Who goes? Rumour has it membership is retracted if you spill the beans on celebrity clients…
South Kensington Club
Set in a Georgian townhouse on Harrington Road, the South Kensington Club is a private members’ club dedicated to all things wellness. Its elegant and unpretentious interiors draw inspiration from founder Luca Del Bono’s Italian heritage, with wooden floors, flickering fireplaces and bookshelves creating a homely feel. The gym occupies the entire top floor, with wooden floors, stained-glass windows and a conservatory roof that floods the room with natural light, while on the floor below you’ll find studios for classes, which include yoga, barre, boxing, dance and pilates, as well as private training sessions. The pièce de résistance, however, is the lavish bathhouse, which houses plunge pools, mosaic-lined Turkish hammams and London’s only saltwater Watsu pool.
How much? Membership starts at £365 per month, plus a £1,000 joining fee, while an under 30s rate begins at £228 per month, with a £500 joining fee.
Who goes? David Beckham, Liv Tyler and Maria Sharapova are all among its alumni.
The Berkeley Hotel Gym
It’s almost worth being a member of Knightsbridge The Berkeley for the rooftop pool alone. A heated sanctuary in the middle of Kensington, swimmers can enjoy panoramic views of the London skyline before residing to one of the poolside cabana beds. Alternatively if the weather’s on side, guests can relax in the secret garden, where sun loungers and an outdoor pool await among green leaves and fragrant flowers. Not a water baby? Fear not – views from the treadmills, which overlook Hyde Park, are equally impressive, guaranteed to motivate sceptical runners. Special touches include a suit pressing service, changing rooms stocked with Bamford products and opulent treatment rooms offering a range of top-notch spa services.
How much? Membership is £2,850 a year; £550 joining fee.
Being supported by Anthony Joshua, it’s no surprise London’s finest boxing gym BXR packs a punch. Housed in a 12,000 sq ft space with two floors and high ceilings, this is miles away from your average boxing gym. Here, futuristic, state-of-the-art equipment is paired with stylish interiors, creating an ultra-cool workout space which attracts Victoria’s Secret models and heavyweight champions alike. While the gym itself features dark, industrial aesthetics, the changing rooms are gold and gleaming, stocked with complimentary Malin & Goetz products. Fitness-wise, there’s plenty to offer members: custom-made braided leather ropes hang from the ceiling, while you’re given made-to-measure Di Nardo boxing gloves while competing in the ring. For non-members, a number of classes are also on offer on a pay-as-you-go basis, including skills boxing classes, strength training and the only Versa Climber class in Europe.
How much? Membership is £1,500 per year.
Who goes? Ellie Goulding and Mark Ronson have been spotted sparring here (not together).
ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel
ESPA Life at the five-star Corinthia Hotel will challenge all preconceptions you had about hotel gyms. This one is spacious, stylish and very well-equipped, with free weights, rowing machines and private training pods among the extensive facilities. Fancy a post-workout snack? Help yourself to a homemade protein ball and bottle of water from the black Smeg fridge, or pick up a banana from the complimentary fruit bowl. And don’t worry, you won’t have to fight for it: membership numbers are capped to ensure it’s never too busy. The gym is housed within the hotel’s spa and health club, a luxurious haven covering a whopping 3,300 sqm. A standout feature is the thermal suite, which features a nine-metre steel-lined pool, large sauna, mosaic steam room, experience showers, ice fountain and heated loungers – something to look forward to while you’re sweating it out upstairs. Changing rooms are expansive, complete with their own saunas, heated marble loungers, robes and a plethora of ESPA products. Sleepy? Take a nap in one of the “sleep pods” – semi-private individual areas decked out with cushions and blankets. Your every need is catered for.
How much? Enquiries about membership fees can be made by calling+44 (0) 20 7321 3050 or emailing [email protected]