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Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.
InterFitness Health Club: Semiramis InterContinental Cairo’s Gym
When we dine, drink or play at one of Cairo’s five-star hotels, we pay top price expecting top quality to follow. Sadly, at the Semiramis InterContinental Cairo’s fitness centre you’ll pay a five-star price for three-star quality.
Located inside the hotel on the Garden City Corniche, the fourth-floor fitness facility is deceptively small. The space is divided into a grand entryway and waiting room, both of which could be downsized to make more room for the gym itself, as well as locker rooms with separate massage centres, a women’s gym, an outdoor pool and a mixed gender gym.
The gym itself is rather cramped with bulky machines by brands such as Nautilus, Star Trec and Universal. All the usual cardio machines are here, such as treadmills, elliptical and weight machines, yet the models are rather outdated for a hotel gym of such calibre.
The space feels congested; it’s not exactly the ‘clear your head’ kind of experience that we were hoping for. The free weights and singular bench hardly even have their own space in this gym. To their credit, the facility is kept immaculately clean thanks to an attentive staff.
The women’s gym is a small room in the back of the locker room that is furnished with what appears to be the hand-me-down’s from the mixed gym. The equipment is entirely metal and the benches are poorly padded. No care seems to have been given to supplying machines that women are more likely to use, with more weight machines than treadmills or staionary bikes.
Like the gym, the locker rooms are kept very clean, yet at the time of our visit, in the women’s room at least, there was neither an attendant nor a masseuse.
A plus for some gym goers will be the hotel’s strict policy regarding children. Anyone under the age of sixteen is not permitted in the gym at all, according to the fitness centre’s pamphlet. Children are allowed into the pool but anyone under the age of ten must be accompanied by an adult.
The hotel’s outdoor swimming pool is situated on a large terrace. The pool is big but its peculiar shape lends itself more to a lazy dip rather than a workout.
The InterFitness Health Club is clearly aimed at business-traveller guests that simply want to keep up with their fitness routine while away from home. The high prices for membership fees may deter many from joining the gym, anyone who pays 4500LE for a year, 1500LE for a ten-visit package or 180LE for a day's use should get their money’s worth.While this gym has some good qualities; if we’re going to drop this kind of money on a gym membership, it will likely be elsewhere.
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.