Beijing's Central Business District delivers just what you'd expect: well-managed chain gyms, at CBD prices.
While it’s not Venice Beach in the ’80s, California Fitness
has one of the top atmospheres in the city for putting in some body toning effort. Situated on the third floor of The Place, the workout space is open, full of light and spilling over with machinery. The sizeable weights area would do Schwarzenegger proud, plus there’s a boxing ring and even an indoor basketball court.
The staff seem far more interested in getting you fit than signing you up, which is a welcome change and makes us think that the full-on health analysis suite might actually get some use. Popular with office workers in the area, the gym gets slammed during lunch and early evening hours, but no surprise there. Facilities-wise, there's a half-size indoor basketball court, sauna, steam room and pre-work early hours classes.
Price guide 6,888RMB per year; 8,888RMB for two years; 5,000RMB per year (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun only or Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun only or off-peak hours only – cannot use the gym 5-9pm). An ‘Asia membership’ is available and valid at any branch in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
Alexander Health Club
This large, upmarket gym
spreads out over three floors in Central Park. It boasts a heated swimming pool and a wide range of machines, including 20 Technogym treadmills, step and rowing machines and cross trainers. If you prefer pumping iron, there’s a separate weights room with a variety of free weights and machines.
Alexander also offers an extensive range of classes, with an interesting focus on dance. From folk dancing to ballet, K-pop and hip-hop, they’ve got every base covered. Bust a move! Sauna, squash court, swimming pool, tennis court.
Price guide 14,000RMB per year.
Similarly to the CBD, gyms in Guomao tend to be among Beijing's upper crust, with plenty of high-quality equipment on offer.
Just over two years old and located in the basement of the swanky IFC building, this Powerhouse
branch holds its own as an excellent choice for a gym. The atmosphere’s friendly and accessible, there are individual TVs on the treadmills and very friendly staff.
Unlike many basement locations that can feel dingy and cramped. Equipment, like the Life Fitness treadmills and Star Trac weight machines, still appears brand new. There’s nearly 50 machines and, unless you’ve come at lunchtime or just after office hours, it’s easy enough to find a free one. Changing rooms are perhaps the crown jewel here, with sleek blonde wood and absolutely massive showerheads. The whole place is pretty plush.
Price guide 4,699RMB per year; 880RMB per month; 6,699RMB for two years.
Kerry Sports Beijing
Beijing is as good as working out gets – with prices to match. The 7,000sqm space boasts a tricked-out collection, over 90 pieces strong, of Life Fitness equipment; a spacious five-lane, 35-metre indoor swimming pool plus a children’s pool, a Jacuzzi and a plunge pool; a 220-metre outdoor track on the rooftop terrace; and a multi-function court that converts into an NBA-compliant basketball court to full-sized specs.
Group classes, which are included in the membership, focus primarily on yoga and pilates, with a few types of dance and twice-a-week spin sessions. Speciality classes led by ‘star coaches’ cost extra for members (150RMB) but are open to the public (200RMB). Perks Members get discounts like 20 percent off court rentals and Kerry Hotel’s restaurants. The Adventure Zone – with its vertical-drop slides, climbing apparatus and ball pool – keeps your kids occupied while you’re hitting the weights.
Price guide 25,000RMB per year; 42,000RMB per year (couple).