Now’s the time to think about getting in shape for summer shorts and swimsuits. offers a full-service gym that will get you healthy inside and out, all while feeling pampered. However, members will pay more here than at most local athletic clubs, but staff members said the rates match the value of the club.
There are two Wellbridge locations in the St. Louis area, one in Clayton and one in Town and Country. The Town and County location is off the beaten path, but club representatives said that's part of the peacefulness of the spa portion of the center.
Wellbridge is touted as a premier gym that offers its membership a wide range of services—some beyond what you’ll find at a typical fitness center. It offers the same basics amenities that most gyms offer: cardio machines, exercise equipment, free weights, aerobics classes and a swimming pool. But it’s the little extras that make the gym stand out—the equipment is all cutting edge, there are cardio machines with personal TV screens, every window reveals a relaxing green landscaping and the entire center is kept noticably clean. Staff members are also always on hand to teach members how to use the equipment or offer spotting for free weights.
The locker rooms are equally plush and if you forget your razor or toothbrush? No problem, Wellbridge’s hospitality includes complementary toiletries as well as towel service.
Wellbridge has a steam room and sauna in each of its lockers rooms, plus a hot tub next to the four lane heated pool. The pool is shallow—only 4 feet 6 inches at its deepest—to allow for water aerobics classes. And because Wellbridge is a health club for grown-ups, there are no waterslides or fountains.
The biggest luxury item in this health club is the adjoining full-service spa. You can reserve time for a Swedish massage (50 minutes for $60), an anti-aging oxygenating facial ($125) or a spa manicure ($20). Before or after a treatment, customers can relax with a cup of tea in recliners facing a Zen garden. The spa is open to the general public and has a separate locker room for guests. Wellbridge members get a 10-percent discount.
The club has 13 personal trainers on staff, plus five Pilates instructors. These private instructors can be hired for one-on-one training at reasonable rates. The trainers have different specialties, which are listed on the club’s website, so members can find the perfect match. Golfers might want to ask for Michael Thomas, a Titleist Performance Institute-certified golf fitness instructor who can computer analyze your swing and set up a workout routine to improve your game.
Wellbridge does not publish its membership rates, which they acknowledge to be higher than other gyms. Their individual rates are more than twice that of the West County YMCA, where a individual membership costs $50 a month.
“We’re recognized as St. Louis’ elite health club,” said Aaron Schober, a Wellbridge membership representative. He said they don’t post their rates so potential members won’t shy away before seeing what he calls "the excellent value the club offers." For example, most of the club’s group classes are included in the price of membership, from water aerobics to yoga—other fitness centers charge extra for these types of classes. Wellbridge has around 150 group classes scheduled for each week. It also hosts free member events each month, like barbecues and networking socials.
Pilates is one class not included with membership, and it is offered as a one-on-one or group session with a personal trainer.
The club attracts a wide range of people, from young professionals to retirees. Families with young children have access to two hours of free child care, but they must schedule their visit in advance. The club maintains a 1 to 7 caregiver to child ratio, and they will feed and diaper little ones. Older kids can play with a computer or Wii.
On the Horizon:
- Now open: Chalily Ponds and Gardens, a specialty garden shop for water and bird enthusiasts at 14430 Manchester Road. See next week’s Business Breakdown for a detailed interview.
- , an upscale clothing boutique in Town and Country Crossings is going out of business. The store relocated from Chesterfield Valley in 2009, where it had operated for six years. The sale will run until April 20, everything is 40-percent off. Everything must go, including fixtures.
- McDonald’s is planning on hiring 50,000 new employees—an average of three or four people per store--at a nationwide hiring day April 19. It is hiring both crew and managers, and is a company well known for promoting within its own ranks. People can apply online or in stores.