Okay, let me be honest here. When I first heard of Alice Lane Health Club and what its offering was, I was like “who wants to spend more than R1000 a month on a gym”? I’ve been gyming for free for the past 7 years (I joined with the Discovery Vitality special when they were offering a once off payment for life membership), so I can’t really relate to the concept of paying a gym membership fee at all.
I went once, thought it was cool but not out-of-this-world-amazing, wrote a story about them in the Sunday Independent (read that here), and then continued using my trial membership. I’ve now been to the Alice Lane gym about 10 times and I am devastated that my trial membership is ending soon. It is a completely premium gym experience and if I wasn’t planning to leave SA soon, I’d probably consider investing in a membership (around R800 with Vitality), because this gym makes me WANT to gym.
Here’s what’s great about it:
1. It’s really personal. People at reception know my name. I was standing outside a class 10 minutes early, waiting for it to begin, when a trainer came up to me and asked me if I wanted to do a 10 minute ab session while I wait. At my normal gym (Sunninghill Virgin Active), trainers don’t even take notice of me.
2. There’s no time limit on any machine, which is great when you want to run for longer than 20 minutes (the current time limit on the treadmill at my gym). The treadmills are super high tech- you can even skype from them!
3. There’s a rooftop training area with a panoramic view of Sandton which I simply love.
4. They have anti gravity yoga and gravity pilates.
5. The jacuzzi is GINORMOUS and the pool and sauna area is better than what I’ve seen at most spas.
6. There are a few value added free services, like wifi, towels on arrival, a shoe shine service and as much fruit as you want.
7. I don’t really want to hang out in the gym, but if that’s your kind of thing, there’s a cozy nook with a bookshelf and newspapers, as well as couches where you can chill.
8. There’s someone to unpack and repack equipment for you during the aerobics classes.
9. The changerooms are really fancy, and there are hair straighteners at each “dressing table”, as well as a machine that you can put your wet swimming costume into and then have all the water “whizzed” out of it.
10. A membership at Alice Lane Health Club allows you access into ANY other Virgin Active gym in the country, plus other luxury clubs in the Classic Collection, situated in London, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Sydney and Singapore.
The only thing I don’t like is that the gym is quite small. At my gym the aerobics studio is huge and I like group exercise, it motivates me when I’m killing myself along with 50 other people. If you prefer exclusivity, you may not mind. Membership at Alice Lane is capped at 4000, so the gym never feels crowded.
Monthly membership fees are R1600 for a 1-year membership and R1450 for a 2-year membership, but special offers are available to Discovery Vitality and Momentum Multiply members. Visit www.virginactive.co.za for details.