Until you’ve seen it with your own eyes, it’s tough to imagine a place where you’ll find an Olympic-size pool, water park, two ice rinks, four basketball courts, a full-size indoor soccer field and a three-story gym all under one roof. And that’s not even close to everything available at The St. James, a 450,000-square-foot sports, wellness and lifestyle complex that opened in Springfield, Va., last September.
To say my kids are obsessed with it would be an understatement—and if we lived closer, I’d be mighty tempted to pay the membership fees ($100–$269 per month) for the ability to have access to the pristine facilities. Here are five reasons why we love it.
1. Super, Awesome & Amazing
The aptly named active play space housed in The St. James is all of those things, thanks to its 30,000 square feet of a Nerf battle zone, three climbing structures, a Ninja Warrior course, ropes course, trampolines, party rooms and an area with soft, oversized blocks that can be stacked into a fort in no time. Extras like virtual reality gaming and esports can be added on for a fee, and members get free entry during non-peak hours.
2. The kids are alright
One of the best things about Super, Awesome & Amazing (and the water park) is that as long as there’s a 10-year-old who can look out for younger siblings are present, parents can sneak away guilt-free to indulge in spa treatments at Courted or sign up for classes like pilates or cycling in the members-only fitness center. The area is enclosed yet wide open, so kids are safe and being watched by the many staff members all the time.
3. Top-notch instructors
Whether it’s squash, gymnastics, football or volleyball, The St. James has wooed instructors who have excelled in their sport. “We want to provide kids with the same type of training a professional athlete would get,” says Robert Kram, general manager of The St. James. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, you can enroll your kids in training for the sport of their choice, with each program designed to improve fitness and develop effective training habits.
4. Summer in the suburbs
If you live or work close to the complex, or can work out a carpooling situation with a friend, The St. James kicks off its summer camps program this year with options like a golf and squash combo; camps dedicated to single sports like ice skating, water polo or soccer; or an ultimate sports camp that incorporates a wide range of them throughout the day.
5. One-stop shop
With the January addition of Vim & Victor, a restaurant conceived by DC-based celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, you could literally spend all day at The St. James. There’s also the spa, which offers everything from facials to cryotherapy to eyelash extensions. Soon there will be a retail shop that will sell sneakers, sporty clothing and equipment, and a MedStar Health and Sports Medicine Center is expected to open on-site this spring.
Now, really, what more could you possibly want—except for one to open in DC? (Yeah ... me, too.)