|We have known about this venue for a number of years and just never attended until Saturday night for a number of reasons, which are a) it's a bit of distance for us to travel from the North East to Heathrow, b) even when we are in the area, it's in a location that has just never been right for us when we are in the South, c) added to these, the relatively high fees for club entry didn't entice us to go out of our way to attend, d) the website doesn't really 'sell' the place, especially with the aforementioned entry fees.
However, things came together this weekend. We arrived back in London by plane from a week in Cap d'Agde, so we were in the area, still in holiday mood, so prepared to pay a little more than normal to 'give it a go' and we are so glad we did. This place is a real cut above any other club we have been to in England and has a real quality and professional feel about it. The venue feels luxurious, is absolutely huge and has multiple facilities including a lounge, dancing area, private rooms, communal rooms, swimming pool, Jacuzzis (plural!!), viewing rooms, cabins, cinema and the dungeon with multiple rooms inside including a completely black 'dark room'. All are in an excellent state of repair and very clean.
So, back to the entry fee. As it was a Saturday, it was £50 entry for a couple plus £10 each to join, so £70 in total. Somewhat steep, however membership is for a lifetime, so a one off cost and what we didn't know is that once inside everything is complementary. As is usual in the UK, it's a case of bring your own alcohol and large fridges are provided if required and soft drinks and mineral water are on draft to help yourself, as are hot drinks. Along with this, on-site marshalled car parking is provided. At about 11pm, a complimentary buffet was laid out, so in comparison to other clubs, you received back what you paid as a cover all cost as opposed to entry and then paying as you go for soft drinks and food. Although it may sound aloof, the entry fee may also attract a higher class of clientele as our fellow guests certainly looked wealthier than the regular club crowd and the number of prestige vehicles in the car park appeared to echo this too.
So, club, facilities and organisation certainly provide good value for money for us. As for the evening, we were given a great tour of club at the start by one of the staff members who was very welcoming and helpful and then when we were left to explore by ourselves, we were surprised by the majority of couples who were simply socialising rather than playing. Of course as the evening progressed play commenced, but it appeared to be by couples who had struck up conversations and then retired to private rooms as opposed to simply joining in play as it was happening. Nothing wrong with this of course, just something we haven't seen on this sort of scale before.
Whilst waiting for play to start, we decided to indulge in the 'dark room', which is absolutely pitch black and just how we like it, however after a period of time it was unbearably hot in there and we just simply couldn't return for fear of 'passing out', which was a shame as we really enjoyed the naughtiness of it, so air conditioning or some sort of ventilation would have been welcome.
We played in some other rooms in the dungeon/stable area and watched some entertainment that was taking place in the lounge later in the evening.
One of the nice things about the clientele was that there was such a variety of physical types and all of the people appeared to be comfortable. There were the model types, petite, BBWs, larger men, different nationalities, etc, all looking at ease.
Whilst normal in French clubs, it is the first time that we have experienced a UK club where the ladies are dressed provocatively whilst the men constantly stay fully dressed when wandering around the club as opposed to dressing down or the simple towel . We prefer the latter, but it was good to see well dressed men looking like they had made the effort for the evening.
Overall, the venue delivered far more than we expected (based upon other club experiences and Abfab's website) and we felt it was good value, but we also recognise the comments that others have made in their reviews about couples sticking together or not being able to swap, but hey, make the effort, strike up conversation and see where it leads, as difficult as it can be at first.
We were impressed and intend to enjoy again.
Date: 15 September 2014