Hup, two, three four, faster, faster, Ahhhhhh, thump. Yes that was me flying backwards off a treadmill, decapitating the pretty blonde on the machine behind me and basically making an idiot out of myself. OK, I cannot do this now, but this was me before and will be me again soon. So, gyms, or health clubs as they are now called and Holmes place the one round the corner from me, where I sometimes am found in a sweaty almost concussed heap! What are they like, well lets tell you. First they are a bit posh, you get your own towel at reception, piped classical music in the changing room, soap and shampoo in the shower and hand cream, deodorant and gel in the bathroom. Sounds great, is great, except most of it is cheap rubbish, still better than nothing. Facilities in the Cricklewood branch include two heated swimming pools, (a little one for the delightful children) and a nice large one for the grown ups), a Jacuzzi, steam rooms and saunas in both changing rooms, a very large gym, with lots of torture machines and classes galore. The classes range from bike (no you do not cycle round the gym, but punish yourself on the exercise bikes); body pump (no not a man with a bicycle pump in your mouth, but pumping iron); circuits (lots of running) and lots of aerobics. These are held in separate rooms (with the exception of Bike and Body Pump which use the Gym equipment.) The instructors are very good and very enthusiastic (how do I know this, well my girlfriend goes three times a week.) Other services offered include: yoga classes, massages, hair cuts and other relaxation thingies. Does it cost the earth, well to join costs between £50 and £200, and then between £50 and £70 a month, depending on whether there are any offers on when you join. (so do not join when there are no offers on, or you will be ripped off.) If you go twice a week this works out at about £6 a go, which is fairly good value a
s the place is clean and well maintained. You pay extra for hair cuts and massages, but then that is too be expected. There is also a restaurant in the club, it serves good healthy food, but is very expensive. But and here is the big but, Holmes Place have got greedy, it is too busy and the management do not care, oh no, all the time there are open weekends and offers to get new members, when classes are overflowing, the Jacuzzi jam packed and the steam room cold from everybody coming in and out opening the door. Oh yes it gets less and less relaxing each week. Ok, we know you cannot expect the club to yourself, but you pay a premium rate to use the place and should be able to use what you want when you want. What makes it worse is that many members are politely and sensibly suggesting that as classes are over subscribed, perhaps more should be run. But oh no, the power of the pound sees that Holmes place have to make loads of cash instead. The other big but is children. Now I know people like to bring their children with them, but when they scream and run around in the changing room and restaurant it is not pleasant. There is a Crèche, but this is not always utilised by members with children. Ok, you cannot ban kids from the club, but it would be nice to have a time each day at the weekend in the daytime, when you know the place will be kid free. (Do I sound like Victor!) So, the club is nice, but is too crowded and the worst fact is that Holmes Place are failing to realise that members are getting disgruntled. Still it is a nice, clean facility and when fairly quiet it is very relaxing, honest. UPDATE It gets worse, this month from 27th March to the 30th April the pool is closed as is the Jacuzzi. Why? In a club that opened 6 months ago this is ludicrous. It all smacks of poor planning. Apparently they used the wrong sort of tiles. Sounds like Railtrack, the wrong sort of leaves. We can go and
use the pool in Hendon, but I cannot get there. So no swimming for me this month. Well at least they are re-doing it, but they will probably cut corners this time too. But depite the lovely centre, with good clean facilities, until Holmes Place sort out more classes and a better way of making money than oversubscribing a club, it has to get an average rating and give it a negative recommendation.