“ Extending over three levels of The Scotsman Hotel, the 20,000 sq. ft. club has a 16 metre swimming pool, spa pool, sauna, sanarium and steam rooms, Arctic & Tropical showers, 60 station gymnasium, cardio theatre, aerobics studio and café bar. In addition, there are six therapy suites offering a range of beauty and health treatments and a relaxation room. „
(the update's at the end...) Doo you love gimmicks? Aaah... well it has long been known that ShoppingGirl is an advertising man's dream - ie a total sucker for 'little extras' and groovy merchandising. So it was no surprise quite frankly when I was pretty much first in the queue to sign up for membership to Edinburgh's newest fitness club. What did the Escape Club offer that my last gym didn't? OK, in no particular order: 60 cardio machines, a fitness studio with full programme of classes, an aluminimum lined swimming pool, arctic showers (ooh!), a fitness programme you access over the net, tv's attached to the exercise machines, and... GET THIS! A mini spin drier in the changing rooms to dry your dripping cossie!! I mean, come on - who wouldn't be seduced by all these doo dahs and fripperies? Readers, I was reeled in like a squirming haddock. My old gym was decrepit to say the least - mouldy showers, broken equipment, tiny steam room, arse to elbow in the changing rooms etc. It was time for a change and I knew it. The Escape club started their marketing offensive four months in advance of actually opening - this gym is SPANKING new, part of a new boutique hotel in Edinburgh's city centre. Let's face it - the market has become somewhat saturated round here, with all the major hotels offering improved health clubs, not to mention the huge complexes such as Esporta and LivingWell. They had their work cut out to catch the floating voters like myself, but perks and persuasion won the day. Basically, the Escape club likes to bill itself as the trendy, design-led gym. Nowhere is this more evident than in the pool area, which is as tastefully decorated (black slate and titanic-like funnels) as anything London could offer, and lit with such subtlety it's a bit like swimming in the abyss! There is neon lighting under the water a
nd that alumimium lining has to be seen to be believed. <br>The steam room is huge, and wonderfully clean. It is tiled in blue mosaic, a bit like a Roman bath house, and it never gets uncomfortably busy. The sauna is also large, but I hate dry heat so I haven't been in. Give me steam or give me death! The reception area is staffed by uniformed assistants, who have the appearance and happy demeanour of air stewardesses. Thankfully, they are efficient and friendly too, and willing to cheerfully take on board any wee complaints you may have. When you check in (by swiping your trendy Escape card) you are offered a towel - and I always get two! Hurrah. Some gyms are tight about this. You then head through the very relaxing lounge area, up the stairs, and through the gym to the changing rooms. They have pretty much thought of everything here. The lockers are big, and there's millions of them so you can spread out a bit. There are four hairdriers, the famous aforementioned spin drier, and best of all - a huge TV!!! Handy for watching Paul and Helen's latest antics as you towel off. The locker keys are attached to aqua coloured yoga beads - very Madonna! The boys get navy ones, what fun! The gym area is very industrial in design - grey floors and white everything else, with modern art on the walls. There are more machines than are ever needed, even at peak times, so no shuffling about waiting. Some of the machines have their own televisions! HOW gimmicky is that! You have to bring your own headphones, but it's worth it for that 'Virgin Atlantic' luxury feeling! There are also heaps of daily newspapers provided - ideal for flicking through to pass time on the exercise bike. I am becoming well versed in current affairs since joining this gym! There are also heaps of weight machines - all of which scare the living crap out of me - but the staff are on hand to help at all t
imes, and will talk you through it gently. I have only seen a couple of serious bodybuilder types kicking about, and I don't let it put me off. My teeny weights do as much for me as their huge ones do for them. There is always music playing in the gym - beware, this may be Deacon Blue. Or indeed, the Beatles Greatest Hits sung in German (Sie Leibt Dich Ja, Ja, Ja etc). Phil Collins makes the odd appearance too - cutting edge it ain't. Points like this make me think it would be a welcome addition in this gym to have some kind of message board, where members can interact and put across suggestions to management. Maybe this is on the way though - the Escape is really brand new, and is still really getting up and running. Minor gripes aside - this place is has style and luxury in spades. If like me you need that extra incentive to stick to a fitness regime, then I can't recommend this club enough. The facilities are all excellent, and the staff do everything they can to sure you enjoy your workout. The pool area is just total indulgence after a hard day - and makes you feel like a millionaire. I myself have a HUGE incentive to lose some flab - I'm heading to Miami in a couple of weeks and need to pass muster in a bikini! This place is ideal for me, as I get to feel pampered and special as I work away at my wobbly bits. And god knows we all want to feel special! And how much does all this luxury cost? OK, don't tell my dad... Well my membership currently costs me 56 quid a month. (sharp intake of breath!) Yes, it's a lot but to me it is definitely worth it, as this club has all the incentives I need to keep up my will power and to stick to my regime. Also, I got my first month free as an apology from the club for not opening on time. I'm happy! So, if you want to work out in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the centre of Edinburgh - and be spoilt at the same time - g
et your ass down to the Escape club. As you chill out in the king size jacuzzi you'll feel like Puff Daddy. And as you watch the wobble melt away you'll look like J-Lo herself!! *** UPDATE *** UPDATE *** Ok, it's now a good six months since I wrote this, and guess what, I'm still loving it! The main development is that I have now started going to some of the classes - Body Combat and step aerobics - and I can honestly say these are fantastic. The instructors are ace, the music is superb, my motivation is sky high. There is loads on offer, including spinning, body pump, yoga, hi nrg, amazing abs etc etc. Something for everyone, and a great way to keep up your resolve. The music in the gym is also much improved! No more deacon blue - it's dance music all the way. And there is now a 'comments book' you can put any little complaints into, with an answering back facility for the management to have their say. It makes a great read! And - shock horror, I have sampled the sunbed too! Its amazing - just five minutes makes you a lovely pink colour! No lectures please - I'm aware of the risks :) So there it is - a long term satisfied customer. Thanks for reading y'all, and come back soon!