Lads Locker Room - Bristol -
After a long absence, I paid a visit to Lad's Locker Room in Bristol on Tuesday October 23 2017, the first naked day after what they had proudly claimed on their Facebook page was going to be a "partial refurbishment". They added "WE WILL BE MAKING FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS” i.e. by November 3.
A refurbishment was certainly overdue.
What had they done, I wondered, as I walked in?
Had they cleaned the place up, I wondered?
Had they tidied away the floor mops and the hose used to top up the jacuzzi?
Had they fixed the showers to bare even the slightest resemblance the attractive blue tiled ones displayed on their website?
Had they cleaned the jacuzzi?
Had they fixed the steam room to produce sufficient steam to keep it steamy?
No. None of these things.
When I got there I found that the three showers were still drab and dirty, and one of them was still hanging off the wall, rusting as it had done for over a year. There was still very little hot water, and then only after a lot of fiddling with the geriatric controls, and a long cold wait.
If they had tried to clean the jacuzzi, they had failed. It stank. The switch on the wall that operates the air pump was broken and had to be fiddled with to make it work.
The steam room was stone cold. Even after the helpful door man “rebooted” it when I complained, the steam was sporadic and inadequate and required the switch on the wall to be pressed endlessly. I have been to over 40 Gay saunas around the world, and this one continues to have the worst steam room I have ever been in.
So what had the owner done while the place was closed for four days?
He had knocked a hole through a wall to provide access from the reception area to the lounge area.
Why did he bother, I wondered? There was already a perfectly good doorway between the two, about two steps along the same wall.
What a waste of time and money.
The potential clientele in Bristol must exceed that in Swindon and Newport, because its population is three times as big as either of them, and yet the clientele is a fraction of that in that in those towns.
Let’s, for a moment, compare Lads Locker Room to Touch in Swindon. Touch is clean, stylishly decorated, and well maintained, because the enthusiastic young guys who own it know that repeat custom comes from looking after your customers, making them feel that they are valued, and treating them with respect by providing good reliable facilities. They have invested their time and money in it. As a result, customers willingly go back again and again. That is why it is generally busy with guys of all ages, and always so on a naked Tuesday. This is why it it profitable.
Consider the Greenhouse in Newport, another clean, tidy, well run, well maintained gay sauna within reach of Bristol. Always packed on a naked Wednesday and plenty busy at other times.
The owner of Lad's Locker Room is called Mathew. Mathew spreads himself around as a director of 14 companies at the last count. I’m not sure if he is competent to direct any of them. As far as Lad's Locker Room is concerned, he has demonstrated since he bought the place about three years ago, that he is not.
When I arrived on Tuesday October 23 2017 after the partial refurbishment, there were two customers. Two. Why so few? Because since Mathew bought it, this place has never ever failed to disappoint.
I withheld this review for several weeks to give Mathew a chance to finish his refurbishment or at least announce his plans to do so. He has not, so I can only assume Lad's Locker Room remains awful and that Mathew has no intention of improving it.
Mathew, I understand that you are targeting the drunken late night weekend crowd. Perhaps that is why you don't care that Lad's Locker Room looks like a pig sty. Perhaps late on Friday and Saturday is when you make your profit. You cannot possibly do so at any other time. I have been there at all sorts of times, and the place has never been busy.
Mathew, why don't you do yourself a favour, by thinking about your customers? It is directly in your financial interests to provide a clean, well decorated, fully functional gay sauna. So far you have failed miserably, and it is only because there is now zero competition in Bristol that Lad's Locker Room is still drizzling along at all.
What a waste of a facility!
Mathew, where is your pride? Where is your business acumen?
I CHALLENGE YOU to respond.
I've been coming hear for years when it was called the Cottage Health Spa (I think thats what it was called) to be honest when it was owned by the previous owner (Shaun) he extended it and put lots of other facilities such as the hot tub, cinema room steam room and tv room etc and extended the dark room into the other part of the loft - he spent a lot of money on it. However, when he sold it it has got dirty the steam room as not worked for I would say about year maybe longer they seem to keep the mop bucket in there now, the hot tub does not get cleaned out as often as it should - the water tends to be rather murky, I don't feel comfortable to go in there - on the plus side the the upstairs is better although they have changed the cinema room and it is harder to get comfortable now - the dark room is ok for what it is the everything else is fine to be honest - they really need to spend some money on improvements I would like to see it be the best in Bristol they have the space there they just need to utilise it and get the facilities back up to scratch!
I used to go to this place years ago when it was The Cottage, then The Village. Let's face it, it was never the best sauna in the world. Now it is competing for the title of the worst in the world.
I was there early Saturday evening. There were maybe 6 other people in the place and I can see why it was not busier. The steam room was not working, the Jacuzzi was only half full of water. The floors in the shower area and the sauna itself were filthy to the point that I really was not happy to walk on them.
The cinema room was showing a bad copy of some 1970s porn, clearly a copy of a copy of a copy of a VHS film.
What have they done to the lounge area? For some reason they have taken away the sofas and put in high stools so there is nowhere to chill out in the time that you don't want to cruise the upstairs area.
It is probably three years since I have been to this place. It will be at least as long before I go back.
What a trap!
No renovation at all. Old and dirty. A shame. It looks Bristol does not have the sauna it deserves :(
The Lads locker room is the old cottage sauna under new management and what a change it has been the place is friendly and has been cleaned from top to bottom. There has been a repositioning of some of the facilities and it feels fresh and inviting. As word gets around I am sure this will be a very busy sauna.
Having visited the Lad's Locker room for the first time since it's major refurbishment, I was pleasantly surprised! Very well decorated, with friendly staff. Price for entry isn't too bad either. Would highly recommend the weekend pass but only if you plan on using it for the whole weekend.
I went to the Lads Locker Room last Saturday night, and I wasn't disappointed :) I was a bit apprehensive at first going to a new sauna, but was made to feel so welcomed as soon as I walked through the door. I was also glad to see a bar full of beers, as a couple down the hatchet before going to the facilities usually helps. The facilities we're fantastic and so clean, plenty of the free essential extras (condoms/lube) were placed around everywhere. The locker run was quirky from the grass floor, the Jacuzzi was hot and clean, and the bonus for me was the smoking area, a great addition to a fantastic sauna. There was a great mix of guys, so plenty to choose from. I give it 10 stars and will be going back regularly.
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