The new, 50,000-square-foot version of the St. James Performance Club opening Saturday in Bethesda doesn’t have the vast scale of the 450,000-square-foot flagship location in Springfield, Virginia.
But a tour Wednesday of the St. James’ first Maryland location highlights the kinds of amenities that have built buzz around the brand in the Washington, D.C. area. Think moss walls, a wellness bar, infrared sauna, steam rooms, cold plunge pool, lap pool, cryotherapy, IV infusion therapy and compression boots.
Similarly, an interview with co-founder Craig Dixon, a Gaithersburg native, indicates the company has a consistent philosophy of fitness across its locations. It’s inspired by the athletic facilities most professional athletes utilize, but that is not to mean that it’s only for athletes or those who live an athletic lifestyle.
“Our mission as a company is to maximize human potential, and we believe that one big way to do that is to help make people healthier and stronger and able to perform in whatever it is that they need to do in life,” Dixon said. “It is our goal that each and every one of our members will be able to use The St. James experience to fuel every day of their lives and enjoy life.”
Dixon said he’s long eyed Bethesda as a location for the club. The former site of the Washington Sports Club, 6828 Wisconsin Ave., will extend the brand’s three core elements of a comprehensive training regimen: building, burning and recovery.
“This is one of the most attractive submarkets in the Washington region,” Dixon said. “I … have always thought that Bethesda’s a great sub-market – a great community so when we had the opportunity to bring The St. James to Bethesda, we jumped at it.”
The St. James was opened by Dixon, 47, and Kendrick Ashton, 46, in Springfield, Virginia, in 2018. The duo opened their second location in Reston, Virginia in 2022. Dixon and Ashton, who’s from Washington, D.C., met in 1994 while attending the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In addition to the appeal of Bethesda, the third location is also part of an effort to extend parts of the St. James experience, Dixon said.
“We have a lot of people who love the brand, love the experience at Springfield, but because of where they may live in the region, would not be able to get to Springfield as frequently as they would like to get the St. James experience,” he said. “So, we thought there was an opportunity to break out part of the experience in a smaller footprint and open additional locations throughout the region so that we can satisfy the demand.”
Members will be able to enroll in an all-access membership that allows them to utilize services at all three locations for $195 monthly. The Bethesda location is less than 25 miles aways from the two Virginia locations.
The Bethesda location has two levels. On the immediate front-end of the main floor will be Vim & Victor Wellness Bar designed by Chef Spike Mendelsohn with cold-pressed juices and customized acai bowls.
“It’s really intended to be this space where you can refuel your body after a workout,” Dixon said.
A moss wall ahead of the wellness bar will feature the Vim & Victor logo to “emphasize that everything in this space is to be fresh; green, fresh, revitalizing and exciting,” he said.
The front end of the main floor entrance also features the St. James merchandise sales area and the suite for one of the three core elements: recovery. The suite features a host of recovery treatments including infrared sauna and cold plunge pool for contrast therapy. There’s also cryotherapy, IV infusion therapy and compression boots.
Various workout equipment including free weights, synergy machines, stair climbers, stationary bikes, weight racks and open space are positioned on the main floor’s back end.
The bottom floor features locker rooms, a treadmill studio, a cycle studio, main studio for large-format training experiences, a yoga studio, the club’s 25-yard lap pool and steam rooms.
In honor of the grand opening Saturday, the St. James is running a deal for the Bethesda location with the Founding Membership being $140 a month, until the grand opening and then the Signature Rate for $150 a month afterwards.
The St. James Bethesda location will also have an open house 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.