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alking around the property, you’d be mistaken for thinking you were in a stylish five-

star resort, albeit a rather traditional one. Here’s a reception area as elegant as that of any hotel, fitted out with fine furniture, sumptuous fabrics and floral arrangements. Here’s a comfy meeting room and a fine-dining restaurant. And, of course, here’s the other facility that no self-respecting high-end resort can be without: a luxury spa and gym. There are just a few clues – handrails

running along the corridors, a portable hoist in the pool, people who look suspiciously like medical staff wandering about – that betray the true function of the place. Far from being a hotel,

Richmond Village Letcombe Regis in Oxfordshire is the fi fth and largest

‘retirement village’ to be opened by Richmond Villages, a subsidiary of the leading care home operator Barchester Healthcare. Located on the edge of the picture-postcard village of Letcombe Regis, this lakeside property is also the second site in the portfolio to have a high-end wellness centre at its heart.

zest for life

With 34 ‘independent living’ apartments, 23 ‘assisted living’ apartments and a 51-bed care home, this £60m development is catering for the whole gamut of retired people, from those who want to maintain their independence, with the safety net of knowing help is at hand, to those who require round-the-clock nursing care. What they all have in common is independent wealth: this is a high-spec facility and the property prices and fees reflect this (see information box, p40). The apartments and public areas officially opened in March, with 60 per cent of the properties sold or reserved, while the care home opens this month. A second phase of the development will see a further 38 independent living apartments and 30 assisted living apartments added over time. According to marketing manager

David Reaves, most residents are aged between their early 70s and late 90s; the lower age limit is 55. Yet far from being places where old-timers go to end their days, the ethos is one of helping people maintain their ‘zest for life’ for as long as possible. “The challenge is overcoming the misconceptions of what we are,” says Reaves. “People start off thinking of us as a place for old fogies, but when we get them through the door, that changes to ‘wow, this isn’t what I was expecting, I’d like to live here’.” It was to reinforce this philosophy of

The gym, which is equipped by Technogym, includes an upright bike, reclining bike, a rower and a treadmill

encouraging residents to enjoy life, as well as fi tting in nicely with its high-end remit, that the company decided to

38 Read Health Club Management online

A retirement home may not be the obvious location for a luxury wellness centre, but that hasn’t deterred the developers of Richmond Village Letcombe Regis. Rhianon Howells pays a visit

include a wellness spa at its fourth site, Richmond Village Painswick, when it opened in Gloucestershire in 2007. But while the concept might have

started life as a clever marketing idea, it quickly grew into something more profound. Brought on board to oversee the launch, spa manager Bev Boyce – a qualifi ed nurse and former fi tness manager with Esporta – was determined that the full potential of the facility to benefi t people’s physical and mental health should be realised. More than two and a half years after

opening, the spa at Painswick is used by 90 per cent of residents, as well as catering for 85–90 members from the local community. Given these fi gures, the decision to open a second facility at Letcombe Regis was a no-brainer.

personalised service

Designed by Bev Bayes of London-based SparcStudio, with finishing touches by

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