Central London’s sexiest gym/sauna hybrid is back on the block and ready to rock after a massive makeover. We caught up with the brains behind Sweatbox following their big relaunch in April.
Sweatbox is back! We missed you! How does it feel to be back open for business?
Thank you, it’s great to be back and we are really excited for people to see the changes we’ve made to the business since we closed for the refurbishment.
You officially reopened last month after a refurb, how have things been over the last month?
It’s been a crazy month! We’ve been packed pretty much since the moment we opened the doors, so we haven’t had a chance to breathe just yet. #WaitingToExhale
Tell us about the #millionpoundmakeover, what’s new?
Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? When we closed we called it the Million Pound Makeover, which was a little misleading as it sounds like we were just slapping a lick of paint on the walls. We actually gutted the building and rebuilt everything from scratch. So there’s an all new giant 20 man jacuzzi, larger steam rooms, a new tiled hotroom, and a completely new layout throughout the building.
What about your events – are all our old favourites back, like the Foam Party?
The old events are all coming back, but that’s part of Phase Two! We’ve created a dedicated space for our foam parties in the sub-basement and we are really looking forward to their return, as we have installed a state-of-the-art lighting system to make the foam parties even more fun than they were before!
Any new events on the calendar now?
We are in talks with various people, as part of Phase Two, about creating special events for the ground floor chillout area. We have always wanted to bring back cabaret and performance to bath house culture, but previously haven’t had the right space to do that in. With the remodel, we want to resurrect the atmosphere of Sunday at the Baths when Bette Midler and Barry Manilow used to play at the Continental Baths in New York, my old hometown.
We heard a little rumour about handy little new lock boxes at reception… can you tell us more?
We’ve always had a very strict policy on drugs at SweatBox and previously that meant quite long, invasive searches by security, which wasn’t very popular. No one likes going through airport security… so with the remodel we put a lot of thought into how we could control what was brought onto the premises with the least disruption to our customers. And that’s how we came up with the lock boxes. Anything you want to have access to while you are with us, you keep in the box at reception and you can as much or as little access to it as you want. The only thing you can’t do is return to your locker until you are planning to leave the building.
Are you hiring right now? Any excuse to spend more time in Sweatbox!
We are hiring at the moment, but we are almost fully staffed, so if anyone out there is interested, please email [email protected].
What’s the thing you love most about running Sweatbox?
I love watching people make connections, seeing two previous strangers getting on like a house on fire. We’ve had more than our fair share of couples meeting at Sweatbox! But I also love the more random connections that have been made. Like the time my friend was writing an opera and he met the perfect baritone for the piece in our steam room!
Favourite Sweatbox memory?
There have been so many to choose from, but at the moment, I’d say it was how touched we all were by how much people on the scene seemed to miss us. The refurbishment was a very, long and difficult process but what kept us going was the outpouring of support from the community. And one of the best examples of that was after our first builders left us in the lurch, our friends and family on the London scene all came in and helped us clear up the site and get us back on schedule, which was a really emotional day for all of us.
Anything else we (Alanis Morrisette voice) oughta know?
We’re back. We’re better than ever and we ain’t going nowhere. Everything you loved about your old favourite scene gym and sauna are still here and we still have a lot more to show you in the coming months! So stay tuned.
Sweatbox is at 1-2 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LN, open 24 hours daily, 7 days a week. For prices and more info on facilities & events, please visit www.sweatboxsoho.com