• Who to know

    Not only has London's Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park got a spectacularly swishy new 'wellbeing facility' - but they've also nabbed top trainer Ruben Tabares. 

    So alongside the 17 metre pool, Technogym filled fitness centre, sauna, steam, ice fountain and squashy gel-filled beds that change colour and squirt essential oils according to your your mood - you can hone your body with the man who helps shape folk including David Haye (see left- Former Heavy Weight Champion of the World), Tinie Tempah and Puff Daddy.

    Unexpectedly Ruben's physical career began with ballet.  But he quit aged 13, "I started at a new school and didn't want anyone to find out I was Billy Eliot," he explains. 

    A swathe of sports followed: basketball, football, rugby - alongside playing the piano, double bass and learning jazz at Italia Conti school.  "My mum instilled a competitive edge in me," says Ruben.  "She said, 'Even if you're a road sweeper, you need to be the best road sweeper in the world.'"

    There was no road sweeping for Ruben. He became English junior hurdles champion.  Then disaster struck.  He contracted Epstein Barr virus and spent two and a half years in bed until finally he discovered Dr Robert Jacobs - a Chinese herb, homeopathic practicing surgeon from Dorset, who got him well again.

    It was overcoming this physical blow, and as a result learning about health, nutrition and psychology that gave Tabares the holistic edge as a personal trainer; whether it's changing David Haye's diet to stop him cramping and getting injured or preparing Tinie Tempah for a huge tour.  And now he's available to train Mandarin Oriental Hotel guests or gym members. "I love working at the Mandarin Oriental," he explains, "because the level of service mirrors my standards."  And Ruben will take on all challenges, "whether someone's recovering from injury, want the legs of a ballerina, or want to get a six pack in six weeks!"

    Ruben Tabares personal training at Mandarin Oriental from £200 per hour.

    Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
    66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA

    For further information and bookings please contact Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London on +44 (0) 20 7235 2000 or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/london

    The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park offers all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win two personal training sessions with Ruben Tabares combined with use of the new fitness facilities and swimming pool (total worth £400).  To enter this prize draw, send your details (name, address, email, telephone number) to hfield@mohg.com by 12pm on Friday 15th August.  Terms and conditions apply. 

  • What to do

    Does that 'back-to-school' feeling ever go away?  With September looming, however old you are, why not consider a bit of self-improvement, some further education or a touch of 'working on project me'. 

    How to: Academy which delivers 'compact courses for people who think big', was set up in September 2013 by John Gordon (incredibly he's also the co-founder of Intelligence Squared, Contagious, Globalista and Notting Hill Editions).  Since then 135 events have been programmed with 7500 knowledge-thirsty folk attending.

    As well as properly helpful stuff like 'how to: Thrive in a World of Too Much: Mastering Busyness with Tony Crabbe' or 'how to: Remember with Ed Cooke', (I'm signing up now… before I forget), there's also unexpected courses including 'how to: Scandi Noir with Saga Noren' (she's the star from The Bridge) or moments with in-demand speakers including 'how to: An evening with Michael Sandel'. 

    And for bored-at-the-end-of-summer teenagers, there's a 4 day 'Student Life Skills' workshop held at Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design from  26th-29th August with talks on how to be a TV executive, become a publisher, or film director, how to be an entrepreneur or simply how to write a CV.

    How to: Academy - for people who want to be better.  Because no matter how old you are, there's always a bit more learning to be done.



  • What to do

    There are very few things I blame my mother for, but my legs are one of them. Unlike my ballet-schooled little sisters who have hand-drawn calves and pretty little ankles, I was sent to judo.  And got legs to match.

    So with adulthood came an unrelenting quest for delectable pins. I've endured both pain and pleasure; from dry skin brushing to endermologie, runs with super trainer and psyclelondon.com guru Tim Weeks, and regular sessions at Ten Pilates with a brilliant gang of trainers including Rob Carruthers, Luke Meessmann and Adam Ridler.

    But as fabulously lean as these lads are, it helps to have a same gender role model.  So to the new Ten Barre class at Ten Pilates, which as a ballet virgin I anxiously joined.  I didn't even know how to do first position for chrissakes. But there wasn't time to be self conscious. The fast-paced class is a clever combination of ballet, pilates, yoga and conditioning, which has been set up to complement the reformer pilates class.  Thankfully teacher Esme Benjamin was unpatronisingly attentive when I needed, and turned a blind eye and deaf ear, when my 'lightly land on your feet' moment, was more elephantine thud. 

    Esme Benjamin, with the dream dancer's body (not too thin, not too fat, not too muscly, just right) that will keep me coming back to this aching-in-all-the-right-places barre class, in the hope that one day, just maybe, the dancer in me (and her legs) will finally emerge.


    Ten Pilates offers all Vanity Fair A-List subscribers the chance to win one of ten, Ten Barre classes (worth £28 each).  To enter this prize draw, send your details (name, address, email, telephone number) to win@tenpilates.com  by 12pm on Friday 11th July.  Terms and conditions apply.