UPDATE 2019: 3 ST JAMES’S SQUARE PRIVATE MEMBERS’ CLUB IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.
Sated sneaks a peak at 3 St James’s Square – a brand new private members’ club launching this November – and picks its Founder’s brain about the exciting, unique and controversial things he is doing that make the club different from anything else out there.
This past year has seen a resurgence of the private members’ club with the much-anticipated opening of The Ned, the introduction of The Curtain, the completion of the Devonshire Club and the soon to be revealed Ten Trinity Square Club at Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square. Each venue offers their own brand of exclusivity, excitement and members’ experience but what they all seem to have in common is hybridisation. The Ned houses a plethora of restaurants and bars, open to the public as well as the private members’ areas and hotel rooms; The Curtain is a hotel, with Marcus Samuelsson’s famous Red Rooster American Diner enticing visitors with soul food and beats; Devonshire Club has plans afoot to expand upon their co-working offerings; and Ten Trinity says that it will “reinvent” the scene with their unique services.
Times are changing, and members’ clubs are adapting to keep up and battle against their ever-growing number of competitors. However, with literally hundreds of clubs now live around London, what can a new venue possibly offer that is different? Sated sits down with Mark Chambers, CEO and Founder of 3 St. James’s Square Private Wellness Club, a week before its opening on 16th November, to find out…
“There are plenty of beautiful clubs around here”, says Mark, gesturing from his seat in the front lounge of the soon-to-open property on St James’s Square in Mayfair. “They’re impeccably finished and can proudly boast about their hotel services and spa options however, the gym is always an after-thought. At 3 St James’s Square, our focus is entirely on the fitness, health and wellbeing of our members.”
Mark’s background is a varied one, ranging from working in kitchens to nightclubs, however his first foray into the world of wellbeing came in 2001 when he joined Fitness First as a General Manager and he hasn’t looked back since.
“Fitness is such a strange thing. Everyone loves the benefits of exercise but it’s painful and intimidating, especially when you’re first starting and you don’t think you’re getting results. Once you get people over the initial hurdle they become hooked. I’ve seen people whose personalities and confidence levels have been transformed by it and this is what I love. I want to be able to help and look after people, which is why I decided to open the club.”
3 St James’s spans two floors. The street level one comprises an expansive members’ lounge with a bar stocked with both alcohol and healthy juices; a library which can be used for meetings or relaxation; a meditation suite with the UK’s first Somadome; two beauty rooms; a Medical centre; a three-tiered sauna; changing rooms; and a Butler station.
“The Butler’s station is my favourite part” says Mark. “The front door to the club will remain closed at all times. Members will tap in with their card and be greeted by the concierge team, who will hang up their coat and walk them through to the lounge. As soon as you activate the door, every team in the building is made aware of your presence and will be waiting to receive you. If you’ve left your gym kit to be laundered, it will be brought out for you, if you have a spa appointment, someone will be ready with your robe and slippers; and if all you are looking for is to unwind in a Chesterfield by a fire, your drink of choice will be brought to you. This old-fashioned service with 21st century technology is integral to 3 St James’s and is there to provide a seamless experience of New Age pampering.”
This continues in the basement, which holds a gym unlike any you’ve ever seen before. Silvery white walls are lined with artwork commissioned by House of Fine Art and the free weights area is surrounded by individually lit, ornate mirrors. There are planters between the cardio machines that are laid out in pairs, and plush soft furnishings throughout. A fragrant living juniper wall covers one side of the holistic studio, which offers Pilates, yoga, hot yoga, meditation, and other mind-body classes. The club also boasts its own golf simulator where members will be able to practice their swings, get feedback from the ex-Tour pro and the trainer of the longest driver in the world, who make up the in-house Swing Pro and Head of Fitness respectively. Fitting days where keen players can get clubs custom-made for them will occur once a month.
“If we were the average gym club, we would have a membership capacity of 3,500, however we’re stopping ours at 1,000. We estimate that we will get 50 people in the gym per day, which means members will never have to wait for a machine. This was important to us, as was being able to give each one the dedicated time and service they need.”
This doesn’t stop with the limit on members. What 3 St James’s Square is offering goes far beyond a pleasant environment for busy high-net-worths to improve their fitness and mindfulness in.
Every member’s on-boarding will include a 3D body scan, which they will then be able to edit via a simple iPad app so that they can decide how they would like to look. The technology and fitness teams will then take this image and develop a completely bespoke training and nutrition regiment, working within a pre-determined timeframe to help the individual achieve their goal in a healthy and responsible manner. New scans will be taken throughout the process so that members can see the difference and be encouraged by the progress they are making.
“The body scanning technology has been used in Australia and America in the fashion industry, but no one is doing it in the UK and we are the first in the world to use it for fitness.”
However, Mark and his team aren’t stopping here. Another service on offer to members will be DNA Fit – DNA mapping via saliva and a prick of the finger that will inform users about their liver and kidney functions and how certain foods, drinks and lifestyles impact their bodies. Some members will choose not to participate in this extra service, considering it unnecessary or wishing for bliss in ignorance, whilst others will embrace it with open arms.
Whilst this is certainly not a members’ club for your average sybarite, 3 St James’s Square certainly fills a gap in the market and Mark expects their clientele to be made of high-powered, largely male, business people in the area who want their cake, as well as the means to burn it off.
Regular membership costs £6,000 + £2,000 Joining Fee (Individual Annual), with Monthly payment options available (£600 + £2,000 Joining Fee). Founder Membership is £4,000 per year, or £400 per month, with no Joining Fee, a guarantee of no fee increase throughout membership and many other perks. For more information about 3 St James’s Square Private Members’ Club, visit their site here.