London’s top health clubs offer far more than just a gym, delivering an all-encompassing luxury lifestyle experience that supports fitness, wellness and relaxation, amid lofty interiors and sleek décor. Whether your preferred form of exercise is deadlifts or downward dog, with gyms set to reopen on 12 April, now is the time to get your membership at one of the capital's best luxury gyms in order.
Equinox, Kensington/Bishopsgate/St James's
Equinox is America’s leading high-end health club chain, credited with reinventing the luxury workout stateside. The high-performance fitness leader first flexed its muscles in London in 2012, when it opened a UK branch on Kensington High Street. It now boasts a second site in Bishopsgate, as well as the ultra-exclusive E by Equinox in St. James’s. There is also rumoured to be a Shoreditch outpost opening in 2021.
The pumped-up Equinox playground offers every piece of gym equipment imaginable, alongside a suite of boxing, fitness and yoga studios. The changing rooms are laden with complimentary Kiehl’s products and there is a marble-clad lounge area for unwinding post-workout. Both outposta are even home to full-service spas and juice bars.
The boutique E by Equinox gym in St James's is even more luxurious, with a focus on personal training. Head here for one-to-one fitness, elite equipment, specialised recovery technology (there's a cryotherapy chamber, regeneration room and compression therapy area) and even a complimentary laundry valet.
Equinox is priced at £215 per month and E by Equinox is priced at £350 per month (plus joining fees); equinox.com
KX & KXU, Kensington & Chelsea
KX opened in 2012 and set the gleaming bar for luxury health clubs in London. Pronounced ‘kicks’, this opulent multistorey space in Chelsea comprises a stately gym, fitness studios and holistic spa. Several royals are rumoured to be members, as well as Eddie Redmayne and Pippa Mathews (née Middleton). There is also a club room, restaurant and juice bar, thus allowing members to segue effortlessly from a morning yoga class to a working lunch.
The KX team opened KXU in 2017 – a trendy, pay-per-go boutique gym located several lunges away on Pavilion Road. Amid low lights and mirrored walls, push your stamina to the max in boxing, cycling and circuit training classes (including the formidable Games session), or stretch out with barre and yoga. There is also a wellness clinic with a cryotherapy chamber and infrared sauna experience.
Membership at KX is priced at £2,000 for joining fees and £575 per month; kxlife.co.uk
The South Kensington Club, Kensington & Chelsea
The South Kensington Club is an all-encompassing private members' retreat committed to fitness, wellness and lifestyle. It is set in a Georgian townhouse, once home to a very different kind of venue – the notoriously hedonistic Harrington Club. This Zen-style space draws influences from founder Luca Del Bono’s Italian heritage and the Russian Baths of New York’s East Village.
Interiors are painted in warm, Tuscan tones, reminiscent of an Italian palazzo villa, dotted with candles and towering potted palms. It boasts a lofty, light-filled gym, a packed schedule of daily classes, several fitness studios and a bathhouse with hammam, Banya and London’s only saltwater Watsu pool. It is as much your gym as it is your second home, with a lounge, library, restaurant and, when the weather’s right, a peaceful rooftop terrace.
Membership is £3,500 per anum plus a £1,000 joining fee; southkensingtonclub.com
Third Space, across London
David Beckham and Prince Harry have been known to work out in Third Space gyms which is recommendation enough for us. London’s leading chain of luxury health clubs has sites in Soho, Canary Wharf, Marylebone, Islington, Tower Bridge and the City, making it a perfect choice for both workday and weekend workouts.
Each multistorey gym boasts treadmills and elite machinery as far as the eye can see, in addition to climbing walls, cycling studios, swimming pools and spas. Classes run throughout the day while sports halls at some venues allows for volleyball, basketball and table tennis among other sports. It also has a unique Out/Set program for new members that comprehensively assesses your fitness ability and goals in order to create a tailor-made workout regime that is monitored during your membership.
Membership from £160 per month plus £100 joining fee, thirdspace.london
BXR Boxing Gym, Marylebone
This Instagram-friendly boxing gym in Marylebone packs a punch thanks to endorsement from Anthony Joshua and a membership committee that, among others, includes Mark Ronson, Andre Balazs, Sara Sampaio and boxer Eddie Hearn. The ultra-cool concept marries stylish interiors with high-intensity workouts, which attracts both heavyweight champions and Victoria’s Secret models alike. An industrial, dark aesthetic contrasts against gleaming gold and marble bathrooms, stocked with complimentary Malin & Goetz shower gel and hair products. Many members say they prefer to shower here than at home.
While the boxing ring is undoubtedly the main stage of this 4,000 sq ft space, it also has several studios where you can blow off steam in front of a boxing bag or break a sweat with an intense cardio workout, set to a hip hop-heavy beat. You can pay an annual membership fee or buy individual 'SWEAT by BXR' classes, including kickboxing and Europe’s only VersaClimber class (not for the faint-hearted). Sweat by BXR in Canary Wharf is the gym’s sister site, which offers pay-per-go boutique workouts.
Membership is priced at £1,800 per annum or £180 per month plus a £180 joining fee; pay-to-train SWEAT classes are priced from £13 or £300 for unlimited access; bxrlondon.com
BLOK is East London’s coolest fitness destination, with outposts in Shoreditch and Clapton. It was founded in 2016 by Ed and Reema Stanbury and Max Oppenheim. The Shoreditch studio is the latest addition to a vast redevelopment on Curtain Road and, like its sister branch in Clapton, conjures a laidback, industrial aesthetic. On arrival, a curated shelf of Malin & Goetz products and a rail of fitness-friendly streetwear set the tone for this contemporary space, which features three light and airy studios and a café.
BLOK offers a diverse programme of pay-per-go classes spanning boxing, barre, yoga and HIIT. Highlights include one of London’s only callisthenics classes; the calorie-torching BLOKFIT and BLOKPARTY, which takes place on Friday nights and is set to a club-ready soundtrack. In typical East London style, a low-key techno beat plays throughout the changing rooms.
£17 for a single class; £180 for unlimited classes for 30 days; bloklondon.com
The Lanesborough Club & Spa, Hyde Park
Considered one of the most impressive fitness facilities run by a hotel, the luxurious Lanesborough Club & Spa near Hyde Park boasts 18,000 shimmering square feet of health and relaxation space. Created in partnership with design studio 1508 London, the opulent space – which includes a glittering gold changing room – is bolstered by a phalanx of personal trainers, yoga instructors and fitness coaches.
Following your workout, take a dip in the hydrotherapy pool, visit one of the thermal treatment rooms (inspired by ancient Roman bathhouses) or reward yourself with a trip to the spa for a Tata Harper facial. You can also refuel in the restaurant or spa lounge, which offers an all-day healthy menu from 7am created by the hotel's Michelin-starred chefs.
The Lanesborough Club & Spa is an all-encompassing and exceptional mind, body and lifestyle experience unlike any other in London, wrapped up in dark wood, gleaming mirrors and marble.
Membership starts from £6,000 per annum; day spa passes are priced at £150 per day; lanesboroughclubandspa.com
SIX3NINE, Covent Garden/The City
Founded by James Conchi-Mitchell in 2012, the emphasis at SIX3NINE is on personal training that actually works. Its team of highly qualified trainers has decades of experience and are specialists in nutrition and recovery, as well as physical training, and offer 360-support to help you meet your goals. For those who prefer to handle their own exercise regime, SIX3NINE also offers yoga and circuit training classes (currently virtual) as well as workshops focusing on specific skills and techniques, such as weightlifting, mobility and pull-ups.
In non-pandemic times, all training takes place at the gym's two state-of-the-art studios in Covent Garden and The City, while a wide range of classes, workshops and personal training sessions are currently being offered online. For those looking to take their fitness journey to the next level, SIX3NINE is also an accredited personal training academy and has a mentorship programme in place to help recently qualified PTs develop their skills.