After making investigative phone calls to six of Dubai’s swankiest gyms, we discovered that membership will set you back an average of Dhs6,500 a year, and you’ll often have to sign up for at least six months. Bosh to that – we’ve hunted out gyms that offer no-fuss, short-term, affordable memberships that will get you through the scorchio summer.
VIP Gym, Satwa
Best for: Men who love weights.
USP: This community gym is always full of beefy lads discussing their biceps, so is probably not the place for shy lady joggers who don’t like too much testosterone near the treadmill. That said, there’s a real Venice Beach quality about VIP, especially when you consider the real-life bodybuilders that train here – Iranian beefcake Siavoush Aria used to be national champ back in his home country .
Equipment: There’s 465 sq m of floorspace featuring 100 weight machines, as well as cardio equipment from Body Solid and Matrix. There are separate male and female changing rooms, and TVs with sports on loop.
Price: Join for six months before April 30 and pay Dhs800. A year costs Dhs2,400: there are no joining fees.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-11.30pm; Fri 4pm-9pm. Al Mina Road, Satwa (04 345 2207).
Colosseum Gym, Karama
Best for: Martial arts enthusiasts.
USP: Seven years old, Colosseum (questionable spelling aside) is a great spot for those who love Muay Thai – the gym has two Thai instructors on hand and offers 20 classes a week. It’s also a good option for swimmers, with a 15 metre outdoor pool. The mid-size space is reasonably priced considering it has all the trimmings – and with a 60/40 split of men and women, it’s not as intimidating as other spots in town.
Equipment: The gym offers resistance machines by Paramount and cardio machines from Lite Fitness, as well as a boxing ring, swimming pool, hot tub and sauna.
Price: There are three tiers of membership. Gold, which includes use of the facilities as well as a fitness assessment, costs Dhs900 for three months and Dhs2,400 for a year (this is the only membership with an admin fee, which is Dhs100). A platinum membership, which adds unlimited martial arts classes, towels and mineral water, is Dhs1,800 for three months, while a VIP membership, including 12 personal training sessions, costs Dhs3,000 for three months. You can also opt to pay Dhs410 per month just for classes.
Open Sat-Thu 6am-midnight; Fri 1pm-9pm. Za’abeel Road, Karama (04 337 2755).
Pullman Hotel, Mall of the Emirates
Best for: Techno-heads.
USP: This new gym is a little more expensive than the other options, but it’s also that much swankier. Featuring high-tech equipment (you can plug in your iPod or iPhone and play movies and music from them on your personal TV), this spot also boasts beautiful panoramic views of Dubai. The sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room are of five-star spa quality – great for winding down post-workout.
Equipment: Most of the equipment is Technogym, although there are also Vibra-Plate machines as well as the Kinesis, a full-body machine featuring a stretchable band, allowing fluid movements.
Price: A one month membership costs Dhs600, three months is Dhs1,400 and six months Dhs2,200 (that’s only the same price as four blowout brunches, remember). While it’s more expensive than the others on this page, the Pullman is of note for its central location and the fact that members get 30 per cent discount on all spa treatments, as well as 20 per cent off at the hotel’s restaurants. The only downside is that access to the swimming pool is not officially available, but we’d try sweet-talking.
Open 24 hours. Pullman Hotel, Mall of the Emirates (04 377 2380).
Fitness Factory, Discovery Gardens
Why? This friendly spot has ample cardio and weights equipment, great staff and a juice and coffee bar, as well as free Wi-Fi.
Dhs990 for three months, Dhs1,860 for six months, Dhs2,500 for a year. Open Sun-Thu 6am-midnight, Fri-Sat 7am-11pm (04 447 4844).
Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
Why? The gym is a little old, but members can use the 25-metre outdoor pool – perfect for laps.
Dhs1,100 for three months, Dhs3,000 for a year. Open daily 6am-midnight (04 343 0000).
24 Fitness, Al Quoz
Why? This fitness warehouse is for the hardcore among us – head there any time of day and you’ll find someone to chat to about the latest and greatest fitness techniques. Chatting on the phone to them can be a bewildering experience, but the pay-per-exercise system is unbeatable.
Dhs30 per visit (04 338 3389).