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Black Book Leisure Consultancy Revamps VOCO Hotel’s Elevate Health Club


Black Book Leisure Consultancy recently wrapped up a dazzling refurbishment of the Elevate Health Club at the VOCO Hotel in Reading, transforming the space into a modern oasis for guests and members alike.

This extensive two-phase project saw the health club and spa close on New Year’s Eve 2023 for a month-long initial renovation, reimagining the facility with cutting-edge equipment and a sleek design.


During the first phase, the gym received a full makeover, featuring nine new cardiovascular stations, five fixed resistance machines, and two free weight stations from Freemotion.

These were complemented by a spacious functional area, giving fitness enthusiasts plenty of room to work out.

One standout upgrade was the installation of 22-inch touchscreen displays on the cardio equipment, replacing the old wall-mounted TVs.

These high-tech screens, powered by a state-of-the-art AV system and high-speed internet, allow for remote servicing and software updates, ensuring the equipment is always in top shape.

The pool area also saw significant improvements. The small, white tiles were swapped for large-format tiles reaching up to 2.7 meters on the walls.


Brian Thompson, Founding Director of Black Book Leisure Consultancy, explained the reasoning behind this change: “It was a design feature led by an operational pain.

Previously the tiles only came 1.2 meters up the walls, which were then painted all the way up to the ceiling, so wet hands easily marked and damaged the paintwork.

The higher tiling creates an easier-to-maintain space and, more importantly, a modern sleek finish that the hotel deserves.”

Lighting enhancements included new fixtures both above and within the pool, casting a bright, inviting glow.

A former Jacuzzi space was reimagined as a relaxation area with tiled shelving for drinks and mood lighting, providing a serene spot for members to unwind after a swim or treatment.

The poolside showers were refurbished with beautiful mosaic tiles, aligning with the quality finishes of the steam room and feature shower.

The changing rooms were completely overhauled, featuring new lockers, redesigned vanity areas, and updated ceilings and lighting to create a bright, spacious feel.

Additionally, a larger sauna with increased seating was introduced, along with a new steam room and feature shower, elevating the overall guest experience.

Phase two commenced in March 2024, focusing on enhancing the spa offerings. The original reception area was redesigned to accommodate a third treatment room, including a double treatment room for couples or friends. This expansion provided more options for clients to enjoy spa services together.

A significant improvement was the creation of a new member journey. Previously, members entered through a small side door.

Now, they enter through the main hotel entrance and are greeted by the hotel receptionist before proceeding past the restaurant and bar to the new dedicated health club reception.

This change not only enhanced the customer experience but also provided the hotel with opportunities to upsell food and beverages to health club members.

Throughout the health club, new ceilings, flooring, and a fresh color scheme in line with VOCO’s brand were implemented.

Thompson remarked, “We have worked with 3d Leisure, which manages the Elevate health club on behalf of VOCO, numerous times over the years on a range of projects, and so were excited to take on the challenge of designing and transforming VOCO Reading’s outdated health club into an exciting, modern, fit-for-purpose leisure destination.”

Black Book Leisure Consultancy’s careful planning and execution allowed them to deliver a £750,000 project for £500,000, meeting the client’s budget and finishing on time.

Thompson concluded, “Our final design has married the look and feel of the health club to the hotel finishes elsewhere.

Not only does it give members and guests a much better offering, but it also makes Elevate Health Club feel part of the four-star hotel it already is.”