We gave Glassworks gym a go

OSCAR WILLIAMS-GRUT enjoys its mix of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, saunas and free towels

It’s hailed as Cambridge’s city centre health haven. Their spa offers glorious views of the river, and they’ve just refurbished their gym. So what’s it actually like? 

Let’s start with the complementary towels. When I first saw these advertised as a main selling point for The Glassworks Gym and Spa, I was not impressed. Complementary towels, big whoop! I’ve got my own towels, who needs old towels? But after going, you realised that the towels are just one of many small details that make Glassworks such a great gym.

The gym itself is a single room with the standard cardio equipment – running machines, bikes etc etc – as well as a free weights area and some weight machines. And the new refurb offers snazzy ‘media interfaced cardio equipment’, functional training suites, as well as free weighted area. On the surface it doesn’t really seem to offer anything my college gym doesn’t, just more of it. But it’s the details that make it worth it.

The gym itself is a beautiful high-ceilinged room with sparse brick walls, and ventilation that puts my boxy college gym to shame. And I am lucky to say I’ve got a college gym. The space means the equipment is laid out so you’re not jammed against a wall or squeezed between two other sweaty gym-goers, another plus. The equipment features my favourite feature of the gym: the integrated tablets.

Like a most Cantabs, I spend my time isolated from the simple pleasures of a Fresh Prince of Bel Air double bill on Viva, or watching Rihanna shake her ample booty on 4Music. Glassworks addresses this serious problem – you can plug your phone into the cardio machines giving you your own TV with hundreds of channels. The screen even doubles up as an iPad with full WiFi, charging your phone whilst you sweat.

Let’s be honest, the gym can be pretty boring sometimes, and the TV lessens the monotony. The urge to find out how Will and Carlton get out of their latest scrape or who makes it to number one also gives you the incentive to keep going that little bit longer.

But the gym (and TVs) aren’t what make Glassworks special. It does the gym well, but it’s nothing groundbreaking. What makes it special is the spa. Once you’ve finished your workout you can head over to the spa to enjoy a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi overlooking the river. Again, it’s the detailing here that makes it so enjoyable. The sauna is decked out completely in wood, mimicking an authentic swedish hot house. It’s a rare chance to at least trick yourself into thinking you’ve escaped “the bubble”.

It’s not the perfect gym – it could have a pool and more equipment for instance, but it’s rarely busy and the variety of kit is great. The organisers have done the best possible with the space provided: a pool no bigger than a bedroom would have looked silly. Any drawbacks are made up for by the sense of indulgence and luxury that pervades the whole place. After all, they even have complementary towels.

And if this Easter term is your last, short-term student memberships are still available until the end of the academic year – or beyond. With suspensions available for Summer. Drop by today and they will be happy to show you around.

  • Unlimited use of the gym with media interfaced cardio equipment, functional training suites as well as free weighted area
  • Free personal training
  • 34 studio classes free to members with small group numbers
  • Health and fitness inductions with our personal trainers
  • Discounted spa treatments and hair salon services
  • Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and FREE TOWELS

Drop in for any time to see for yourself – it’s open 365 days a year and you can find out more about Glassworks here.