The plush West London gym which adjoins Stamford Bridge football ground is popular with Chelsea’s players and staff, and counts the likes of Hugh Grant and Lord Coe as members.
But the Chelsea Health Club and Spa, previously owned by Chelsea’s former boss Roman Abramovich, has suddenly shut down, leaving members and staff in ‘a state of shock’.
The venue had been temporarily closed, initially because of Covid restrictions. But then the UK government placed sanctions on Russian oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, and Chelsea was hit hard. The club was unable to sell tickets or merchandise, and the shutters remained down at the gym.
However, after the Blues were sold to a consortium led by 48-year-old American billionaire Todd Boehly in a deal worth £4.25 billion in May, it was thought that things would start to improve.
So nobody was expecting to receive an email this week that read: ‘I am writing to inform you that the Chelsea Health Club and Spa will not be reopening for business.
‘With this in mind, all existing memberships are concluded with immediate effect. Throughout August, we will be processing refunds due for those with membership fees paid beyond our closure.’
The Chelsea Health Club and Spa (pictured), previously owned by Chelsea’s former boss Roman Abramovich, has suddenly shut down, leaving members and staff in ‘a state of shock’
It was the favoured post-match warmdown spot for Chelsea stars, and was regularly frequented by ex-players Frank Lampard and John Terry. Abramovich apparently had his own private changing room and sauna within the building. (Pictured: Chelsea Football Club)
One disgruntled former employee tells me: ‘We’re all in a state of shock. No one comes out of this well. Both members and staff have been kept in the dark for months.
‘We had high hopes for the new owner but it seems that he is keen to wipe the slate clean from the Abramovich years.’
As one of London’s more exclusive spas, annual membership was upwards of £2,500, plus a joining fee of at least £500.
It was the favoured post-match warmdown spot for Chelsea stars, and was regularly frequented by ex-players Frank Lampard and John Terry. Abramovich apparently had his own private changing room and sauna within the building.
It was also the setting for earpiece-gate, when former manager Jose Mourinho sat out a touchline ban for Chelsea’s quarter-final with Bayern Munich in 2005.
He was rumoured to have been watching the game on TV at the gym while communicating with his assistant on the touchline, who allegedly had an earpiece under his hat.
If revenge is a dish best served cold, it would seem that Thai firm Minor International has had to wolf down a full helping.
Months after wresting control of Corbin & King from restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin — the duo behind The Wolseley in London — it is being forced to close Cafe Wolseley in Bicester Village.
Describing the closure as ‘highly regrettable’, the new owners say it is being done ‘at the insistence of the owner of Bicester Village’, who declines to comment.
But is it too much to presume that members of its board are Corbin & King loyalists, like celebrity fans Kate Moss and Nigella Lawson?
A Game of Sequins for warrior Christie
Known worldwide as Game Of Thrones warrior Brienne of Tarth (below), it seems Gwendoline Christie still has a penchant for armour.
The statuesque star, 43, showed off her quirky sense of style with a layered silver sequinned dress designed by Rick Owens, at the London premiere of Netflix series The Sandman.
In the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic books, Christie stars as Lucifer, who is usually depicted as a man.
Gwendoline Christie, 43, showed off her quirky sense of style with a layered silver sequinned dress designed by Rick Owens, at the London premiere of Netflix series The Sandman.
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in the hit series Game Of Thrones
She tells me: ‘It was extraordinary. Neil has always talked about Lucifer being inspired by a young David Bowie and this idea of a junkie angel.’
Gwendoline, who is dating designer Giles Deacon, adds: ‘The idea of being God’s favourite and cast out was really exciting.
As a female performer, playing a character with that choked bitterness of resentment after myriad disappointments felt like something I could connect to.’
It’s true that rock stars will do anything for attention, but Brian May wasn’t crying wolf when he had a heart attack in 2020.
The Queen guitarist’s wife Anita Dobson recalls: ‘He said, ‘Babe, I think I’m having a heart attack.’
‘I said, ‘No, you’ve been exercising and you’ve overdone it.’ He replied, ‘No, this is different.’ At hospital, the star, now 75, was found to be ‘very near death’.
So how was ex-EastEnders actress Dobson, 73, at nursing him back to health? ‘I was the most miserable nurse you’ve ever seen!’ I’m guessing she’s not watched One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?
Elle’s boy has a need for speed like his dad
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree for Flynn Busson, the 24-year-old son of billionaire Arpad Busson and supermodel Elle Macpherson.
He shared a picture of himself steering the same speedboat that his French financier father Arpad, 59, drove him around in as a toddler — and he looks just like his dad.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree for Flynn Busson (pictured right and left as a toddler with his father), the 24-year-old son of billionaire Arpad Busson and supermodel Elle Macpherson
Now a licensed pilot, Flynn divides his time between London, New York and Miami.
His mum Elle, dated Busson from 1996 until 2005. They also have a second son, Cy, 19.
The Queen has her own private entrance to one of her favourite beaches. Thomas Coke, 8th Earl of Leicester, who owns Holkham Estate in Norfolk, has given Her Majesty a ‘more discreet way to enter the reserve’ when she wants to walk the dogs.
‘When the Queen comes to Holkham Beach she comes down a secret pathway that doesn’t have public vehicle access,’ says Jake Fiennes, director of conservation at Holkham Hall.
He adds that whenever the monarch needs a rest, she ‘sits a mile and a half down from the main beach so as not to be seen by the public’.
Sienna’s swanky cottage revamp is no family affair
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Sienna Miller’s next big family gathering…
The 40-year-old actress has just renovated her Buckinghamshire cottage and, despite top interior designer Kelly Hoppen being her former stepmother, Sienna picked her film director pal Gaby Dellal, 61, to help her do it up.
Sienna Miller (pictured) has just renovated her Buckinghamshire cottage
In a video, she says: ‘Gaby has the best taste of anyone I’ve ever met. In lockdown, when she was panicking about what to do because her film was pushed, I said: ‘You can do up my cottage’, and she did.’
Sienna even calls Gaby her ‘other mother’.
Kelly, 63, was married to Edwin Miller from 1989 to 2003.
She is so close to Sienna and her sister, stylist Savannah, that she still calls them her stepchildren.