The workout room in the Equinox Gym in Kensington


In the US, the Equinox gyms have been working the likes of Cameron Diaz and Bradley Cooper into a sweat for years.

Now the British public can sweat like the stars at the flagship club in London's Kensington High Street, but at a price: with an initiation fee, your first year there will cost nearly £2,500.

You don't, however, have to look too hard to see where that money is going. One of the many pieces of shiny equipment in the 40,000sq ft of prime space in central London is an anti-gravity treadmill. In fact, the whole place looks more like a smart hotel than a gym. The main gym space is in what appears to be a converted ballroom and there is a smart cafe with two nutritionists on hand to advise you what salad to have for your post-workout lunch.

Then there are the hi-tech exercise classes, like the sci-fi-sounding "METCON3". Described as a "high intensity metabolic conditioning workout" it claims to "tax all 3 energy systems" (who knew that there were that many?) and "acts like a fat incinerator". Everything seems to be about turning you into the perfect human specimen, which is helpful, as most of the other members look to be just that. On an average trip, you spot fashion designers, sportsmen, models and wealthy spouses.

The air is specially purified, the water "ultra filtered" and the towels eucalyptus-scented.

Even the lighting over the mirrors seems to make one look fitter and more toned than reality, which in the cold, heavy days of January, is no bad thing at all.