An entire day of exercise, relaxation, pampering and delicious food awaits Kay Woodward at Venue Ladies, where fitness fuses with well-being.
With a view to die for, state-of-the-art gym equipment, the coolest exercise classes, talented and friendly staff and possibly the most beautiful outdoor pool in Doha, Venue Ladies seriously has it all.
The location is nothing short of perfect. Situated at the gateway to The Pearl at Abraj Quartier, Tower 1 – the grand tower on the right – Venue Ladies is incredibly easy to drive to. Those that don’t live on The Pearl totally avoid the traffic. For those that do live on The Pearl, it’s so close!
I’m here for the day and as a valet whisks away my car, I glide upwards to the eighth floor. The beautiful changing rooms set the tone at once. They are simply splendid, with onyx mosaic tiles covering the walls. There’s a steam room, a sauna and a Jacuzzi. Want to look like a film star after exercising? Just peek into one of the lightbulb-surrounded mirrors and ta-da.
The rest of the Venue’s interior is equally funky. Clusters of pale pink flowers decorate the ceiling. The black and glossy décor of the reception includes a running track that curves sleekly past Calibre, the in-house restaurant, before zooming onwards to the gym. Oh, what a gym.
An array of Technogym machines lines the warehouse-style brick walls. There’s something for everyone: upper body; lower body; cardio; weights. Every muscle group is catered for. Will I try the pectoral fly, the calf machine, the booty builder or the leg curl? I think probably all of them. And then there are the classes. Members can choose between Core, Cardio Attack, Belly Dancing, Bootcamp, Salsation, V Aqua, and many more. I could try a different class every single day of the month.
But first I have an appointment with Nadia, the personal trainer. She’s an ex-gymnast and will introduce me to aerial yoga. It’s a combination of traditional yoga and aerial arts. It’s also the epitome of cool and so ontrend that I don’t know how to do it. But I’m in the hands of an expert, so I grasp one of the sturdy yet gossamer-like silken loops that hang from the ceiling and prepare to find out. Thirty minutes later, I’m 100% out of my comfort zone, upside down, with my legs curled around the silk fabric doing a handstand. I’ve never felt prouder. At the end of the session, I spend a few minutes ensconced in my silken cocoon, lying flat, gently swinging. As Nadia promised, it’s utterly relaxing and I’d quite happily float here all day.
Next, the Reformer. I’ve heard a lot about Pilates’ Reformers and how amazing they are, so I can’t wait to get started. Katarina is my trainer. She is knowledgeable and thorough and guides me beautifully through the workout, taking time to adjust my position so that the exercises are perfectly targeted. There are four of these shiny new machines at Venue Ladies, so you’ll never have to wait for a turn. Afterwards, I feel deeply exercised. It’s so good.
I’ve also worked up an appetite, so I stop by at Calibre to refuel. There’s so much to choose from! Gym goers can be as healthy as they like and I opt for a mouth-watering, vegetable-filled omelette (to get my protein fix) and boiled potatoes (I am really hungry).
Venue Ladies is not just about exercise, it’s about beauty and well-being too. So next, it’s time for a pedicure. I make my way past a cardio-boxing class and step outside. Wow! The outdoor pool is perfect and the view has to be seen to be believed. I look east to The Pearl and its familiar skyline, then south over the bougainvillaea glabra that roams along the edge of the pool deck. Beyond the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf, the West Bay shimmers in the distance. Could there be a better place to experience a pedicure? (Spoiler alert: absolutely not.) And this is not just any pedicure – after a thorough pampering and as I relax and gaze at the view, the lovely Durdona, my manicurist, dips my feet in paraffin and wraps them in towels. Afterwards, they are buttery soft.
Nestled inside Venue Ladies, there’s a quiet zone filled with softly lit treatment rooms. As lavender scents the air, my therapist Mary-Jane gives me the best hot-stone massage of my entire life. It’s soothing and relaxing. But if you’re in need of something firmer after a day of exercise, she recommends the deep-tissue or sports massage.
Over an afternoon tea featuring goodies the colour of jewels that’s delectable – yet remarkably healthy too – I chat to the charming General Manager, Imen Rezek. She explains that Venue Ladies has a women-only membership of around 900 and climbing, aged from 16 to 65. As well as classes, personal trainers, beauty and body treatments, they regularly host events. Fancy an afternoon tea by the pool with a breathtaking view? Look no further than Venue Ladies.
As I leave the building, after six glorious hours of exercise, relaxation, pampering and delicious food, the sun is setting. The day has flown past and I’ve enjoyed every fabulous minute.