“ Renowned for its professionalism, high level of customer service and friendly atmosphere, Holmes Place Ealing is a well-established and highly successful club, centrally located in the suburbs of West London. Whether you are a first-time exerciser, a gym fanatic, competitive athlete or just want to be pampered occasionally, Holmes Place is committed to providing you and your guests with the very best facilities and services. Our luxurious yet comfortable environment provides a setting in which regular exercise and relaxation becomes a real pleasure. „
I agree with the reviews here. its an awful place. I was a member of another Holmes Place (now Virgin Active) and when I moved to Ealing I had a quick look around this gym. I was unhappy that its actually quite difficult to access unless you have a car and pay additional charges, but wanted to stay motivated to keep fit, and was used to going to the gym regulalry, so I signed up for a year.
This was a Big Mistake.
I don't even know where to start with describing how bad it is: really smelly changing rooms (mould), fairly smelly gym, broken machines, limited range of machines, ( I have never managed to do a full workout without queuing- no matter what time of day) really small warm up space which means you have to stick your bum in mens face as they are doing the free weights..! The Ladies Gym mentioned in one of the reviews is no more (although my other Virgin Active had one) Membership overcharging mixup, computers always 'down' so this is never resolved.. I have not dared to try the pool seeing as the drains are so smelly!... need I go on? I used to workout 3 or 4 times a week, now I have to really force myself to go once a fortnight. Working out is not enjoyable any more :-(
The only Very small consellation is that if I have the time to travel an hour across town, I can still go to my old, very much missed Virgin Active at the Barbican.
This place is appalling. Equipment which is broken and remains broken for months on end, dirty showers stinking of mould, gym staff who are only interested in standing around chatting with each other or fawning over those members who can afford frequent personal training sessions, surly reception staff and the most disgusting member of staff - the administration person handling membership queries.
I have spent the last two weeks attempting to sort out cancellation of my membership because I do not wish to be a member of this club any more. My initial conversation with the person responsible for this was punctuated by consistent lying on her part, she frequently contradicted herself and attempted to blame all problems on Head Office. However, subsequent enquiries to HO proved that she in fact was the source of the difficulty.
I have made a further 11 phone calls to try and contact the admin person in order to resolve the situation, she now always seems to be "... in a meeting/not in the office yet/away today ..." whenever my name is mentioned. I have left numerous messages but she has not called me back once.
In despair, I contacted Head Office, they too have experienced similar treatment since this person at Ealing does not call them back or contact me as they have also requested. I have made two requests, one by phone and one by email, for all details held on my file (a legal entitlement) but have been totally ignored. Presumably, Ealing think that if they refuse to deal with me, I will go away. Well, here's the bad news. I won't. In fact, the more contemptuous treatment they dish out to me, the more I will pursue them.
Please do not think of joining Ealing Holmes Place, you will regret it. And one final unsavoury fact: the one year membership you sign up for will in truth mean that you end up paying for 14 months since they have taken it upon themselves to ignore the first month's payment by credit card and will calculate your 'year' to have begun only with the first Direct Debit. They will then insist that you pay a further month's money as your membership can only be cancelled with a month's notice AFTER the completion of 12 months Direct Debit.
Spread the word - Holmes Place Ealing are bad news.
For some reason I have been a menber of Holmes Place for several years and have to say I feel stupid for giving them so much of my money. They are appalling! I cancelled my membership last month after repeated mix ups and bad service. They confirmed it by email but no one called me back and they are still charging me!
I have tried to call both customer call centres (not cheap from the US) a total of 57 times and on EVERY occassion a computerised voice told me to hold then HUNG UP ON ME.
THe staff at the club seem to spend most of their time huddled in groups gossiping. Please don't join any Holmes Place club - there are much better alternatives out there.
I went last night to use the gym for a trial. I've just moved to the area from Wimbledon and used to be a member of Holmes Place South Wimbledon.
I was unsure so I wanted to use the gym before I decided to join.
Staff seemed friendly enough to start with, and I was wary after seeing other reviews of reception staff. However when I left and handed my padlock back the receptionist slide my car keys back to me which was a bit rude.
Gym was downstairs and is not very big, it seems to be long and thin and the cardio machines are up the corners. The ceilings are really low so I felt it was a bit claustrophobic and smelt quite musty, and it was quite hot in there and this is November so I can't imagine how they would be in the summer.
I finally found a free bike,( there weren't many and three were out of order) and sat on a broken seat and a very dried sweaty keypad. There is a note on all machines saying 'If you sweat please clean this after use' This note was drenched in sweat! and it was laminated! yuk!
I noticed a hole in the ceiling in the ladies and a grubby locker. I didnt use the shower I just wanted to leave.
So at £67 a month (I paid £62 at South Wimbledon for far better facilities that were clean and tidy all the time and it was huge and you never needed to worry about space) I left feeling like these members either join because they are loaded or because they have no other choice in the area.
I won't be joining this gym as you can imagine. But what really annoyed me is that it is situated in the centre of town and the car park is the main centres mulitstory. I was there 1 hr 9 minutes and I had to pay £1.50 parking! So parking costs on top of £67 a month! No chance.
I dont actually belong to Ealing Holmes place, but I was a member of a central London, had a few guest passes spare, happened to be in the area so went along for an afternoon.
I realised on arrival that I had forgotten my padlock and asked at the reception if I could borrow one. This request was granted, without be told I had to buy a new one, which I have experienced before. However, being blonde I couldnt work out how to do the combination straight away and didnt quite hear the numbers the receptionist gave me as the code. She at this point was complaining to her colleague about shift changes, so I waited patiently for five minutes or so. Eventually I was forced to ask again and was met with an irritated tut and sigh, before I got the reluctant explanation. Hey I cant help being stupid dont make me feel worse? I dont pay £65 a month to feel stupid, I get that for free! In retaliation I filled in a customer feedback form of complaint about rude staff and pointedly posted it into the box. I saw her glare at me so Im sure she rushed to get it out after I left, but my point would have been made. One thing I cant stand is rude and/ or inefficient customer service as anyone who has read my ops regularly will know.
Anyway, Im going off on a bit of a tangent but it is not without relevance, since you must appreciate this was my first impression of Ealing Holmes Place, the only private gym in the area I believe, unless you count David Lloyds which calls itself Ealing to sound posh, but is actually based at Sudbury Hill, nearer Greenford.
FACILITIES AT EALING HOLMES PLACE
After collecting my over processed complimentary towels, I decided to make the most of my guest pass (its worth £10) so headed to the café (known as the club room) first. This is a facility my own club doesnt offer and it was very nice. It was a bit of a mess, crumpled newspaper supplements scattered over plush white sofas, a few dirty glasses and plates left neglected on smudged glass tables. Other than that though it was a surprisingly good facility for a pack em in type gym, which I know Id appreciate if I was a full member. Situated as it is in the middle of Ealing Broadway centre itd be a nice place to relax for a bit while out shopping, or wait for a friend to finish their browsing if youre an impatient shopper like me and just while away some time, reading all the weekend newspapers and other magazines for free.
The menu selection for snacks, light meals and drinks is not at all bad. Choices include jacket potatoes, Thai green curry and numerous salads. For a health club theyre not too rigid and there are fizzy drinks available, but far more tempting was their range on healthy-without-suffering-for-it fresh fruit juices. They are blended as you wait and you can have a wild and wonderful combination of berries and tropical treats from pineapple and mango to melon and nectarine. I tried melon and clementine juice which was liquid heaven.
I leafed through some glossy Sunday supplements and quite randomly, though this is West London so perhaps not surprising, a pile of Australian womens magazines. Then I decided that as pleasant as this was I should do some exercise as this was supposed to be the point of dragging myself out of my nice warm lounge on this rainy Sunday afternoon.
There is a ladies gym as well as a mixed gym here, something that quite a few Holmes place branches offer, but not my normal one. Cant say it bothers me seeing men working out or them seeing me either, Im not there to pull, I dont mind see the odd sweaty hunk and Im not particularly self conscious about what I look like in front of them either. However, I know plenty of women that would appreciate this option so its a nice touch, although my dad thinks its reverse sexism and that they should offer a mens only gym as well in that case. I guess he has a point! It has been pointed out since that those types of gyms tend to cater for a particular type though ...
Im used to using a city centre gym on weekends if I bother at all and they are usually pretty quiet, catering mainly for workers, although my regular one is a hotel as well so you get a few more people, although again its mainly business guests who use it during the week, rather than tourists on the weekends. Ealing is packed on weekends and hence so was this gym. I braved the mix gym (low hunk count) since there was a few queues already in the ladies section. There is the same equipment in both though, apart from the weights which are mainly centred in the mixed gym.
The equipment is all pretty standard as youd expect from the mid range type gym (which I consider to by Holmes Place, LA Fitness, Canons and Fitness First, although Holmes Place seem to think theyre a cut above the others ( it's the slightly plusher toiletries and the fluffy robes in some branches leads them to that conclusion I suspect). There are plenty of weight and resistance machine to choose from and there were a few staff members on hand to give you a sweat towel or to help you if you had any questions. One of the things I like about Holmes place is that when you join you get a one to one induction and a programme drawn up for you, you leave that in a filing box in your main branch and can refer to it each time, adding notes on your progress. You are entitled to a free programme review every 2 months as part of your membership fee.
The cardiovascular equipment is more than adequate here as youd expect from any Holmes place gym. There are bikes, cross trainers, running machines (used for fast walking in my case), rowing and step machines and a generous supply of mats on the floor if you fancy doing some press ups, which I dont there are limits to my lack of self conscious and grunting and collapsing after a few attempts at those is one of them!
I must confess that I didnt make it to one of these today, but they are all the same ones as are run by my normal branch. I think this is where Holmes Place does excel and where you can really get your moneys worth from your membership. There are two studio rooms specifically for these classes, so you dont have to worry about anyone else ogling you as you prance about during the latest aerobics class. There are too many different classes to list here, a complete timetable for each branch can be found on their website, www.holmesplace.co.uk but to give you a taster, you could choose from yoga, pilates, body bike (I assume this is similar to spinning - a masochistic class where some army like instructor makes you climb up and down imaginary mountains), aqua aerobics, tai chi, ballet fusion, step, circuits and some other weird and wonderful classes, as well as classes catering for pregnant and post natal women. Some classes require a token, so ring or check the website beforehand, but most you can just turn up too.
SWIMMING POOL, CHANGING ROOMS,SAUNA & STEAM ROOM
I am a keen swimmer and this is always one of the major factors in choosing a gym for me and why Id never consider Fitness First. After my very light workout I decided to take a dip so ventured back into the crowded and damp smelling changing rooms to shower and change. Now they may have provided a separate gym for women who are self conscious working out in front of men, but youd better not be self conscious about stripping off in front of loads of women you dont know. Britain is becoming far less prudish these days, there were naked bodies everywhere, walking about from the loo to the shower and back again, weighing themselves, brushing their hair and drying off swimming cosies in the drying spinner. Yep, its definitely not for the body modest.
The 20m, ozone treated (kinder to the eyes and hair than chlorine and hopefully just as effective at killing germs) pool was extremely crowded. It was divided into three narrow lanes with at least 3 swimmers in each. Lots of floats and other aqua aerobic equipment were left lying around, so I just settled for slow swimming with a float to practice kicking and splashing back the annoying fat men who were creating mini tidal waves. Great fun. Got bored after about 15 minutes of that though and looked for the Jacuzzi. There isnt one. What a let down. Never mind, there is a ladys only steam room and sauna inside the female changing rooms. The gender division here is apparently to allow for nakedness. I sat primly in the sauna in my cossie, with all these different aged and shaped bodies sprawled on towels around me. Goodness, were turning into Scandinavians, what is happening to the uptight Brit? I thought they must be foreign for a while, but then the naked bodies started talking to each other and they were indeed fellow Brits. Ill get used to it Im sure, ha ha.
Before I forget theres a solarium for those who like paying a fortune (around £8 a time) to microwave themselves. You get the premature wrinkles included in the price.
The actual beauty clinic offers an excellent range of treatments for those who can afford it. The treatments are done using Clarins products and there are a number of facials on offer as well as massage, trimming, waxing, manicures, pedicures etc. Expect to pay £35 plus for a facial or massage.
Holmes place Ealing has organised lots of local discounts. At the moment you can get 20% off driving lessons at a local school and a range of discounts from 10 to 20% off a selection of Ealing eateries including well known Thai, Nepalese and Spanish restaurants. The gym also organises quiz nights, theme parties, outdoor pursuits, holidays and an annual May Ball so its probably a great place to join if you dont know many people in the area and need to make friends. With the exception of the moody receptionist, it does seem like a friendly place, very much lacking the typical posers both male and female that you get in so many city gyms. There is also a very expensive crèche facility (expect to pay around £10 a time) which I guess is handy for mothers to meet up or just get out the house for some peace and quiet for a while. They do cater slightly for children as well, on weekends and some week days during off peak types, there are parent and child swimming sessions and swimming lessons can also be arranged.
There are a number of different price plans and some corporate rates, mainly to employees of companies based in Ealing. Certain, pricier packages allow you to use lots of other Holmes Place gyms in the UK and abroad. There are 3 categories of this type of clublink membership; privilege as the name suggests allows you to use all the really posh gyms, including the plush ones at Canary Riverside, Mayfair and Kensington. This goes for a whopping £149 joining fee, then £120 a month, or £108 joint or corporate membership. Then theres the classic package, giving you access to all the gyms at home and abroad apart from the few really posh ones. This goes for a £99 joining fee, then £80 a month, or £75 corporate or joint membership. Select membership is for all the others, some of which dont have swimming pools. This is a £49 joining fee; then youll be forking out £69 a month or £62 if you can get a joint or corporate deal.
These prices are for all the gyms nationwide if you choose a package deal, but you can of course join an individual gym. For my central London branch, I paid £49 joining fee and £65 monthly subscription. Yikes must use it more to get more out of that money I can ill afford to waste! On joining you usually get a pack with a body microwaving voucher and a few guest passes, which is what I used for this visit.
You can get off peak membership for £55 a month or £50 joint or corporate. This restricts the times you can go, details are below.
Membership fees vary quite substantially between club (in general London clubs are alot more expensive that provincial ones) and there are also seasonal offers so you may get a better deal if you're willing to wait it out.
Well as youve probably gathered, I wasnt overwhelmed and rushing to swap my membership. For a club that markets itself as being a little bit luxurious it does feel as though its squashing as many members as it can into one average sized gym. It was basically far too busy and just a bit untidy, cold do with being cleaned a bit more frequently too. There is no competition in the immediate area, so I get the impression that theyve let standards slip here compared to other Holmes place gyms that I have been to.
Apart from that (and the rude receptionist) though, it does offer some very good facilities, a nice club room serving tasty snacks and healthy drinks as well as soft drinks and coffee, so it is worth considering, definitely if you work in Ealing as well so can get use of it at lunchtimes too. I noticed that they are planning to do quite a lot of work to it, so maybe leave it until after Christmas if youre not in a huge hurry to sign up, as it should all be completed by then and theyll probably do the usual new year deals.
** Opening times
Mon Thurs 0.630 23.00
Friday 06.30 23.00
Saturday 06.30 22.00
Sunday 08.30 21.00
Mon Wed 06.30 17.00
Thursday - 06.30 23.00
Friday 06.30 22.00
Saturday 08.30 21.00
Sunday 08.30 21.00
Ealing Broadway Centre
Tel: +44 (0)20 8579 9433
Fax: +44 (0)20 8840 5094
Club Manager: John Murray
** To access the club on foot, you have to get a lift up to the 5th floor of the shopping centre multi story car park. The advantage of that though is there is car parking available if you like to drive to the gym
**There is disabled parking near the club and access points for disabled users.
I first published this review on Ciao.