Innovative design, eyecatching changing room provision and project delivery excellence have united in a major health club refurbishment for operator The Club Company.
A new look for Nizels
Nizels Golf & Country Club nestles in attractive Kent countryside near Hildenborough and is one of the operator’s key sites. In July 2018, changing room specialists Crown Sports Lockers manufactured and installed furniture into the four treatment rooms as part of the £1.2m spa upgrade, including new and existing provision. The refurbished Aura spa now includes infinity hydro pool, glass-fronted Rohol sauna, steam room, ice cave, heated loungers, feature shower and dedicated St Tropez spray tan room.
Under a major upgrade of the popular health club that embraces all new Technogym fitness equipment and reworked pool area, Crown have now fitted out male, female and family changing and washrooms as part of the £2m overall refurbishment. The scope of Crown’s install spans all lockers, upholstered freestanding benches and seating, dry vanities, wet vanities and washroom cubicles.
Full-size two-tier £1 coin-operated clothes lockers feature doors in two contrasting Polyrey laminates in light and dark grey with heavy woodgrain texture.
Designing a bespoke solution
The areas feature design focal points never before seen in the operators’ leisure estate. Crown worked closely with interior design consultancy sparcstudio, which holds longstanding relationships with both the operator and Crown.
“Changing areas can be a sea of oak rising from a pale floor,” says sparcstudio’s Beverley Bayes. “We wanted to introduce something fresh and unique into Nizels, using a new set of materials and colour palette.”
Mosaic-style `tiled rugs` create an exciting pattern, complemented by slatted timber screens to zone off changing areas, are offset by glossy dark green tiling that introduces a “sleek” look, Beverley adds.
The twin-shade Polyrey laminate meanwhile presents a contemporary rustic feel, while shaker-style vanity units, featuring slatted fronts, create styling new to the sector.
“Changing rooms are incredibly important,” Beverley stresses. “If they fall short on quality, members and guests will judge the site accordingly. As interior designers, we devote a huge amount of time to them and always aim to push the boundaries, as we are doing at Nizels.”
She adds: “We have worked with Crown for about 15 years and have recommended them to other operators because from our experience they deliver quality installations and are great to work with.”
“Their attention to detail helps ensure we rarely suffer snagging issues. When facilities like changing areas often have to be installed while sites remain open, minimal fuss and intrusion while doing so is critical.”
The refurbishment marks the first major work at Nizels since new owner Epiris LLP took custody of the The Club Company’s estate last year. Their Project Manager, Mark Warne, explains: “We’ve worked with sparcstudio in various guises for 20 years since their work at Castle Royle in 1999 and once again specified them for new designs for Nizels areas we were refurbishing – spa, gym, poolside and three changing areas. We brought in Crown separately for their part of the project.
“Nizels is the first Club Company site to feature tiled rugs,” reveals Mark. ”They are a cost-effective way to introduce an eyecatching feature into changing areas without resorting to a full resurface.
“The process is quite simple – cutting out some of the existing floor tiles and inserting patterned ceramic ones. It’s fast too: just a day per floor. Everything works well as long as the original floor is sound, which it was at Nizels. We’ll be creating more for sure and plan to roll out the blueprint across other clubs in our portfolio.”
One of The Club Company’s premium sites, Nizels commands membership of 4,500 to 5,000, including that of the golf club, with 18-hole course, opened in 1991, nearly a decade before the health club was added in April 2000.
“When members are paying £100 a month, they want everything new, shiny and always open,” Mark notes, “so it was key to keep the club operational throughout the refurbishment.
“Crown’s flexibility in working through weekends was a major factor in delivering the project on time and on budget to tight timescales from November to December 2018,” he explains.
Crown were under plenty of pressure to deliver to a short turnround of just two and half weeks for each of the three changing areas, which included clothes and holdall lockers, changing cubicles, vanities, freestanding benches and bespoke wood dividers for room spaces.
“This proved to be a particularly satisfying project for us,” says Crown Project Manager Spencer Grimwood. “We were up against extremely tight timelines as the client wanted everything in place for early New Year. Health and fitness changing areas usually need upgrading every ten years due to wear and tear and new trends.”