By Humphrey Carter
THE United Kingdom's leading fitness and leisure group David Lloyd plans to invest an estimated ten million euros on developing a “premium” health and sports club in Majorca.

Next Tuesday, the former British Davis Cup tennis captain David Lloyd will unveil the group's new health and fitness club in the very heart of Barcelona. This is the first of 40 clubs the David Lloyd Leisure, which was bought by Whitbread in 1995 for £200 million, will be setting up in Spain, including Majorca. The clubs will be set up over the next nine years at a cost of 400 million euros - an average of ten million euros per club. David Lloyd Leisure's development manager for Spain, Ralph Harrisson, said yesterday that his team will be making its first contact with Palma next week when they arrive on a fact finding mission. “David Lloyd, which owns 56 leading sport and tennis clubs in the UK, including the famous Harbour Club in Chelsea, and ten in Holland, believes that Spain is an opportune market. “At the one end you have the massive gym chains and at the other the exclusive and very expensive polo, golf and country clubs which have long waiting lists and members are required to buy shares. “With the experience and know-how we have, we are going to fill the middle ground with a premium product offering the very best fitness and leisure facilities and training at prices compatible with the top gyms. “Members will not be to required to buy shares, we will operate similarly to the fitness centres with people paying by the month or maybe on a three month-basis,” Harrisson said. “We have adopted our UK model to meet the demands of the Spanish market and climate. Spain now has the youngest and most active population in Europe, so obviously the club rooms we have in the UK will be club areas around swimming pools and on terraces in Spain,” he said. “Also we have decided to replace squash with padel and each David Lloyd club will have tennis courts and ten padel courts. “Each club will have an indoor and outdoor pool, the indoor being for serious swimmers with the leisure pool outside, a spa, large gym, health and beauty, aerobic studios, social areas, a service restaurant and lots of facilities for children. “While being a premium sports and health club we are also going to be family friendly. “Our research has revealed that here in Spain, parents would rather have their children being active than sitting in front of the tv and play stations - they want their kids to be playing tennis, learning how to swim or playing five-a-side football. So we will be providing a healthy, active environment for all the family,” Harrisson said,“ which will be accessible for everyone,” he added.

David Lloyd leisure is currently working on a number of “serious” projects in Barcelona and Madrid and then it will start branching out into cities across the country. “We are looking at socio-demographics closely. Obviously we have got to pick the right location where we believe we will have a good catchment area. While joining a David Lloyd Club is far from expensive, people have the economics to take advantage of the kinds of facilities we are going to be offering,” said Harrisson.

What is more, the catchment area for the clubs has to be within 12 to 15 minutes drive, “people are not going to use our clubs seriously and regularly if they have to drive 20 minutes or more. We want to be as close as we can to the very centre of our potential clients as we aim to be fully operational all year round, not just during the summer” he said. Next week the fact-finding team will be looking in and around Palma for the ideal location for David Lloyd.

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