First Look: Inside Ardmore’s New Life Time Athletic

The facility, which debuted last week, includes a fitness club, spa, cafe and shared workspace.

After months of anticipation, Life Time Athletic Ardmore opened last week in Suburban Square. The former Macy’s building got quite a makeover. Some touches remain – like the stairway railing leading to the basement level – but Life Time’s in-house architects revamped everything else to fit the brand’s modern zen aesthetic. Whereas the King of Prussia center feels like an airy, upscale fitness mall, the Ardmore location is smaller but more posh, like a boutique hotel.

That’s in keeping with Life Time Ardmore’s status, explains general manager Miklos Horvath.  “We consider this the Ritz Carlton of the levels we offer,” Horvath says. “This location has an intimate feel that allows us to really engage with our members.”

Membership includes group exercise, yoga, barre, spin, and Pilates classes held in five studios and on an outdoor deck. The gym floor is well stocked with state-of-the-art cardio and strength-building equipment, but is noticeably smaller than the one in King of Prussia. And, unlike that club, Life Time Ardmore doesn’t have an aquatic center. Horvath says the lack of a pool won’t be a deterrent, as members will have access to the King of Prussia, Fort Washington and Mt. Laurel, N.J. clubs.

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So what does it cost to join? In addition to initiation fees, monthly memberships range from $159 for people ages 24-30 to $259 for couples and $379 for families of four with kids age 14 and older. For $50 per month, children ages 3 months to 13 years can attend Kids Academy, which offers babysitting and a mix of sports, and academic and arts classes. Private, progressive classes are available at additional cost.

Another add-on is access to the Zone, Life Time’s first sports performance enhancement center. The Zone’s private rooms have training and recovery treatments like hydro massage, vibration therapy as well as compression therapy made popular by NBA star LeBron James. Cryotherapy machines will be installed in the coming months.

Occupying the former fragrance department, the ground floor café is open to the public and features healthy foods and meals-to-go. Life Time Ardmore’s spa is located on the basement level in what was Macy’s men’s department. The luxurious spa is open to non-members.

As for the building’s top floor, it’s been transformed into Life Time Work. The shared workspace is Life Time’s newest concept, and Ardmore is the first club in the country to have one. Decorated in moss green, cool beige and rich brown tones, the space feels both modern and classic. In addition to private offices, Life Time Work has an open lounge filled. Restaurant-style booths have acoustics-blocking upholstery, outlets for electronics, and monitors for Skype sessions and video presentations. Small phone rooms have accordion-style doors reminiscent of old school phone booths. The large, shared kitchen opens onto a generous rooftop deck. Topped with artificial grass and outfitted with hip, upscale furniture, the deck is stylish enough for meetings or parties. Membership fees start at $375 per month and include access to the fitness center and the Forum, a members-only series of educational and social events.

Life Time Work is currently sold out, but president James O’Reilly says that new members will likely be accepted in the coming months, once his staff determines optimum capacity. 

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And what about parking, the bane of Suburban Square’s existence? Horvath addresses the topic with a polite smile indicating that he’s heard this concern many times. “Parking is great,” he insists, emphasizing the 600 spaces available in Suburban Square’s new garage. Life Time has dedicated spaces for valet parking that is free to members from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays.

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