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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Dimo’s Gym: Tiny, Tidy Zamalek Gym
Dimo’s Gym’s blacked out windows and bright blue lights hanging above Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Zamalek give passerby the impression that the second-floor facility may be a dingy gym not worth checking out. However, Dimo’s Gym is proof that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
The gym is actually the fitness centre for Om Kolthoum Hotel. Despite being tiny, it is bright and sparkling clean. Blonde wooden floors barely show a day of wear and the equipment is modern. Although there were only two other people working out at the time of this review, a larger crowd might create a problem at Dimo’s. High-quality performance indicator weight equipment is available for all the major muscle groups; but only one of each machine is present, which could leave members waiting to use equipment during peak hours.
Three treadmills, a couple of elliptical machines and two stationery bicycles round out the exercise equipment at Dimo’s, in addition to a corner with a dozen or so free weights and a bench. There is minimal space for stretching in this small room; yet Dimo’s Gym somehow maintains a tranquil atmosphere.
The music is low so that gym goers don’t have to blow out the speakers on their headphones to enjoy their own tunes. Tinted windows at the tree line give Dimo’s a sense of privacy; a plus for many patrons.
The locker facilities at Dimo’s Gym are also extremely clean and quite spacious considering the space of the facility. A changing area includes lockers, benches and cubbies filled with plush blue and white towels. Several showering stalls and a bathroom are located around the corner, while the far end of the locker room has a sizeable sauna as well as a steam room for some post -workout relaxation.
Dimo’s Gym is opened daily from 7AM to 10PM, and priced quite reasonably for a Zamalek gym. Trial uses are on par with neighbouring facilities (residents pay 100LE a day and 300LE a week while non-residents pay 120LE a day and 500LE a week), but longer commitments have quite substantial savings. A month-long membership is priced at 700LE, while a six-month membership goes for 2000LE and a year at Dimo’s Gym costs only 3000LE.
Despite the small size of the facility; the quality of Dimo’s equipment makes this gym a great deal for long-term fitness.
Gyms in Cairo tend to be either mixed, or ladies-only; very rarely do we come across men’s only fitness establishments in the city. Under the same ownership as popular women’s only chain, Hers, Balance Gym caters for men, and only men.
Right next door to Hers’ New Cairo branch, Balance is also on the upper level of restaurant complex, Emerald Empire. With full-length windows stretching across the front, the gym benefits from a great people-watching view, as well as being visible from afar.
The roomy reception area is filled with energetic, welcoming staff, as well as an incredibly well-stocked display of protein, vitamins, energy boosters and fat burners for both men and women. Just inside, a snack bar is notably hosted by the cafe franchise, Chez Edy.
The long, open-plan workout space is lined with full length mirrors on one side to add a spacious feel. Furthermore, the industrial, exposed pipes on the ceiling and the contemporary grey hues, coupled with orange-red accents throughout make for a surprisingly masculine aesthetic.
Top-of-the-range equipment is neatly organised into cardio and strength sections, with a well stocked and kept free-weights section for some serious iron-pumping. Due to the gym’s popularity, peak times may feel a little cramped and the distinct smell of 'man' becomes increasingly noticeable. There is also a glass-walled room dedicated to spinning classes, as well as a separate studio for a range of fitness classes.
At the far end of the gym, the locker rooms are spacious and well kept, with a relaxing spa area complete with a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
For such decent fitness and relaxation facilities, we were surprised to find the membership prices so reasonable. At the time of our visit, a running promotion discounted a year membership to 2200LE from 3000LE. Included in this price are a whopping 24 personal training sessions, 12 guest invitations, two months, optional, freezing and six follow-up sessions. A six month membership is 1800LE, including 12 personal training sessions, six invitations, one month freezing and three follow-up sessions. The shortest membership, 3 months, includes six personal training sessions, three invitations, seven days freezing and two follow-up sessions. Special discounts are also offered to married couples, where the woman is joining Hers.
With such attractive prices, Balance Gym is likely to increase in popularity – and rightly so – but may quickly become over populated. As it stands, this men’s only fitness man-cave provides body-conscious men with well-stocked work-out areas, complete with top-of-the range equipment at affordable prices.