What facilities and classes does this new London club offer? How much does membership cost?
Mansion House in London is the first new club since Virgin Active sold off 35 of its low- and mid-sector gyms to Nuffield Health to focus more on its high-end Collection Clubs. A programme of upgrades to existing clubs is underway, with another London gym, Strand, the most recent to upgrade to Collection Club status.
The new club is situated by Mansion House tube station (quite a distance from the Mansion House itself, which is actually located at Bank tube!). There are already several Collection Clubs in the area. Walbrook Club, only 18 months old, is a few hundred metres away at the other end of the soon-to-be completed Bloomberg Building. Aldersgate Club, another flagship gym, is just the other side of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Mansion House comes with an ‘Olympic training zone for those who consider themselves a pro when it comes to working out’. It certainly seems well equipped with high-spec, high-tech fitness gear. There is an 18 metre, three lane swimming pool, a steam room and sauna, but no jacuzzi.
The gym offers a wider range of Les Mills classes than Walbrook. These include BodyCombat, BodyAttack and BodyPump. In addition, the excellent in-house Virgin Active Grid classes will be on offer, and the small Grid area is equipped with the challenging Assault Airbikes.
A new class on offer is HEAT — ‘High Energy Athletic Training’, a 60 minute, three-phased high intensity class claiming to burn up to 1000 kilocalories per hour using ‘functional and athletic cardio equipment’. The HEAT zone has 4G astroturf flooring and with a Training Wall on one side and Skillmill treadmills on the other. The area also has the excellent MyZone screens, displaying the heart rate zone that participants are working at. Expect an in-depth review of this class when it launches in February!
Inevitably, when trying to build a major health club into a pre-existing space, compromises will have to be made. In many gyms this often means columns in the middle of studio spaces. While the overall layout of this gym is excellent, the swimming pool is rather spoiled by having three supporting columns in the middle lane.
Membership does not come cheap, but this is no Pure Gym. Rather, these are lifestyle clubs with an emphasis on customer service and holistic wellbeing. On January 1st Virgin raised its prices once again. Access only to Mansion House costs £110 per month. However, with a good range of top quality Collection Clubs in easy walking distance of each other, the multi-club access is the recommended choice. This now costs £140 per month, but, as each Club has different strengths, by moving between them you will find that your every fitness need is catered for!
In summary: if you work in or have easy access to this area of the city and are serious about your fitness and wellbeing, multi-access membership of any of the Collection Clubs is highly recommended.