“ A health and leisure club facility, in the Thistle hotel chain, providing swimming pools, hot spa baths, state of the art gyms, aerobic studios with trained instructors, and sauna and steam rooms for their clientele. „
I originally searched all over for reviews on this gym before I joined so thought I would help anyone out who was in the same situation! There are several large gyms in my area with living in a village alongside lots of small towns surrounded by lots of open green space. They are large and intimidating not to mention pricey! One was even £187 a month! I'm a recent graduate and found that gym prices were extortinate and not worth the money. I've seen some have floors and floors of machines that sit un-used, I only need one of each when I'm ready for it, not a row of 10 and me being the only one in it! I searched gyms in my local area (Teesside) and found the thistle wesbite pop up, I knew there was a gym in the hotel but didn't expect it to run membership programmes to non-guests. The pictures looked lovely, a nice sized pool that was nicely lit and not beaming strobe lights that are off putting and exposing! There's a great jacuzzi right next to the pool to hope from one to the other which is always not and hot. A small sauna and a larger steam room. I'll say they aren't that large but that because they aren't catering for hundreds of memberships but a more discreet number. The machines are brand new in the gym I use so in excellent condition, the room is small and intimate and no one looks at one other posing and preening. It's laid back and has 3 rotating members of staff who are incredibly friendly so you feel like you know them after a few trips. The changing rooms couldn't be cleaner, with lovely marble benches (one over-priced gym I went to had school style wooden benches!). There's even complimentary tea and coffee in the reception and toiletries in the showers. On joining I was given discounts to be used within the hotel and felt really well looked after. Rather than a gym I feel more like I'm going to a small spa. I love going to my gym now, it's relaxing and I don't feel like I'm on show and the best bit is I pay nearly half the price of some of the larger ones by making the most of the great offers they have! I couldn't be happier with my choice.
If you're looking for a cheap alternative to your usual Fitness Firsts and Virgin Actives, this could be for you. I am a member of my local Otium Health Club, a chain of spa/fitness clubs that are owned wholly by Thistle Hotels in the UK. Thistle have health clubs at many of their hotels, including my local in Cheltenham, as well as in Bristol, London and Glasgow. As a member, I pay around £35 a month and get access to the fitness rooms, cardio-vascular machines and swimming facilities including spa, sauna and steam room. There are also tennis courts and sunbed. And if this isnt enough, they throw in a free towel and an "Otium card" giving you discounts at the hotel bar. This is excellent value for money and is generally at the cheaper end of health clubs as a whole. You don't get the elitest, "look at me" attitude in Otiums that you may get in Fitness First and others. You are more likely to see a 70 year old hotel guest struggling away on the running machine, rather than some buff 20-something body-builder working his muscles. For many, this is an attractive feature, me included. For people who are worried or concerned about visiting a health club for the first time, this is fantastic and you don't need to be concerned about who is looking at you. They offer free day passes for friends and various other offers, as well as an annual summer social BBQ and Xmas Party. The staff are friendly and approachable and make this gym feel more like a home away from home, rather than a large, corporate machine begging you for more money and another yearly contract. All in all, I can recommend Otium gyms for people who are perhaps concerned the larger health clubs are too elitest and full of "buffness". Otiums are cheap, accesssible and also great if you just want to use the swimming facilities and not the fitness machines.