I am overweight. My weight yo-yo’s a lot and it sometimes annoys me. I’m currently in a Crohn’s flare and a common symptom is rapid weight loss. I don’t suffer from this symptom even though it’s one I would gladly welcome. Before Christmas it annoyed me to the point that when I spotted a Groupon for 10 visits to an LA Fitness gym for £27 I gave it a look. I was even more surprised to see that the Waldorf branch of LA Fitness was included in this deal (most central London branches aren’t) and as it is just a few minutes walk from my office decided to give it a try. What I didn’t realise was that they had to be used within 6 weeks of registering and as I registered right before I was due to head home for Christmas I actually lost out on about 2 weeks of potential visits so it wasn’t until the New Year that I went along for my first trip.
My second favourite form of exercise (after dancing) is swimming so I was pleased to see that this branch had a pool as well as a fully equipped gym and various classes. The addition of a steam and sauna room was also a welcome bonus and a definite motivator at getting me to actually go. The above picture is of the actual pool (taken from the Waldorf website) but isn’t exactly accurate. The lighting is dim, the wallpaper is peeling and overall it just looks a little bit grubby. Compared to the bright modern gym area it was a bit of a letdown. The shape of the 14m pool also makes it a bit difficult for more than two or three people to do lengths and while the website states no children are allowed access after 5pm on one occasion there were two sisters splashing around.
The changing rooms are in a similar state of disrepair with notices asking members to bear with them while upgrades are made. While I was only there on four occasions throughout January I saw no evidence of any ongoing work which is a shame. The real gem of the club is definitely the fitness area (I wasn’t able to squeeze in any classes as, as a non-member, I wasn’t allowed to book any classes in advance and didn’t want to risk not getting a spot) lots of cardio machines, fixed strength and free weights mean there is plenty of choice and even though it was fairly busy in the evenings right after work it never felt crowded.
The staff also didn’t seem to know how to treat me as a “guest” on two out of the four occasions I was given a towel but not the other two and in fact at my last visit I was told the towels were for members only. Way to make your visitors feel like they aren’t good enough for your establishment. Due to my own stupidity with the booking it ended up costing me £6.75 per visit rather than the £2.70 I had originally calculated but I believe day passes cost around £10 so I still save some money. Their regular membership is currently available at £45 per month which seems crazy expensive for what they offer and I wouldn’t recommend it. I certainly expected something a little more luxurious from the Waldorf!
I also purchased a similar deal for 12 visits to a Britannia gym which have to be used by the 5th April so I’ll be sure to let you know how it compares.