At the end of 2018, I was standing outside Number One Ballsbridge in Dublin,” explains industry veteran Charlie Bourne. “The venue was already home to high-end apartments, retail and businesses. It took me less than 30 seconds to agree to develop a health club. I wanted to do something different and create a first – not just in Ireland but anywhere.”
Bourne, who’s been in the industry for 27 years, had previously partnered with the same developers to create a club in West London.
That location maxed out its membership within four months of opening, due to its location, design-led aesthetic and focus on creating a quality customer experience. Bourne wanted to do the same in Dublin.
“We’d learned a lot from our previous developments in London,” he says. “But people in Dublin have different expectations of luxury leisure and we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve.
“The initial aim was to provide the best gym in Dublin,” he says. “Then we decided to also create the best spa in the city – we looked at examples of compact spas, boutique gyms and member experiences to find our formula.”
The business model
Taking inspiration from best-in-class examples in health clubs around the world, Bourne developed a brand new combination of facilities for Eden One.
“We’ve built a state-of-the-art gym, and a luxury spa of a size that is typically associated with a hotel, and we’ve combined it with a members’ club for dining and networking,” he says. “Crucially, we’ve done all of this without including accommodation.”
Bourne says the Eden One club and its Eden Elements spa give people a single place to come for all their fitness, leisure and meeting space needs, to combat the fragmented nature of the leisure industry, which sometimes struggles to meet the demands of busy consumers.
“We wanted to develop a destination that offers everything,” he explains. “People shouldn’t need several memberships of different facilities to get what they want for their wellness. Eden One brings it all under one roof.”
The club is part of the Number 1 Residences mixed-use development, which includes 70 high-end one- and two-bed rental apartments of around 1,350sq ft, as well as upper floor penthouses with sea views ranging in size from 1,300 to 1,950sq ft and the Galileo Penthouse – a 9th floor four-bed apartment extending to 2,400sq ft.
Designed by LUCA interiors the apartment has private lift access and a 1,750sq ft roof terrace with lounge, relaxation and dining areas and views over the city.
Being part of this development creates a catchment of high net worth individuals and this, plus the club’s aspirations, are driving Eden One’s pricing strategy, which ranges from €1,440 to €3,360 a year, plus a €500 joining fee.
A launch offer of a 20 per cent discount on rates is also currently available, with prices fixed for two years.
A day pass at €175 allows people to enjoy a taster, including two treatments in the spa, lunch and access to the gym.
The club has a footprint of 24,000sq ft, but while a health club of this size would usually have between 3,000 and 4,000 members, Bourne has capped the Eden One membership at 1,000. “We want our members to always get the personal attention they need,” he explains.
To support this vision, Eden One has developed distinctly different journeys for spa and gym customers.
Members enter the club through the Orangerie, a lounge that’s shared with Number 1 Residences, complete with sofas, tables and a range of different workstations.
From the Orangerie a lift takes members up to the health club, where the reception and members’ lounge opens out into a welcoming space, with food served from breakfast to 6.00pm and a more formal dinner until 7.00pm.
The members’ lounge stays open for drinks until 11.00pm with award winning mixologist Mossy Lelys creating smoothies, mocktails and cocktails to order. As part of their membership, members are permitted to bring up to four guests into the club to eat and to drink.
From here, the member journey splits – gym members scan in to the fitness space, and spa visitors head into private changing and relaxation rooms.
Eden One has 7,500sq ft of gym space, with Technogym cardio and resistance kit, including Artis and Skill Line.
“The gym is equipped so people have a complete choice of workout equipment,” says Bourne. “The gym floor has also been designed so our trainers can host small group classes.”
Connectivity via Technogym’s mywellness cloud means Eden One can take a member from biometric testing to programming and PT in one seamless journey.
“The mywellness app is a useful tool for providing a seamless member journey with valuable extras,” explains Bourne. “We can run everything from onboarding to assessment and programming via the app, and we’d eventually like 100 per cent member uptake of the technology.”
“The Technogym brand is very design-led, so the aesthetic fits with our vision,” says Bourne. “The kit is innovative, while also being intuitive enough to be used by complete beginners. We’re delighted to have wall-to-wall Technogym equipment on our gym floor and in all our studios.”
A week after opening, Eden One had a timetable of 90+ studio classes a week up and running, all bookable through the Mindbody platform, with members enjoying an immersive studio experience led by in-house trainers.
“We’ve gathered inspiration from dedicated boutique fitness studios around the world in order to create our three distinct studios,” says Bourne.
The Indoor cycle studio provides an immersive experience with a large wall of LCD screens.
The Mind/Body studio uses AV to create an immersive ambience for yoga, meditation and pilates classes, while the HIIT studio is design-led with a boutique aesthetic – still new to the Irish market – with Technogym Skillrun equipment, Les Mills classes – such as Bodypump – and bespoke Eden classes.
Eden Elements spa
The five treatment room spa is themed around earth, air, water, fire, dark, light, ice and nature, with consideration given to the depth of the experience.
Air in the treatment rooms is 99.98 per cent pure, thanks to a special filter system, shampoos and body washes in the changing areas are bespoke, designed by Bourne’s wife, Claire and a sauna master conducts ceremonies using essential oils.
The spa uses Natura Bissé products for treatments.
A 15m infinity pool with water treadmill jets is separated from a hot hydrotherapy pool by a fire break.
All the fires in Eden One are delivered by a steam, water and light process to make them as environmentally friendly as possible, explains Bourne.
As the new Eden One club in Dublin beds down, Bourne is already turning his thoughts to the next stage, and is envisioning new plans for additional clubs, including a potential expansion into the UK.