Engine Health & Fitness
Size: Approximately 2,781 sq m.
Members: The gym is still in its soft-opening phase, but the aim is to have between 4,000 and 5,000 members when it’s in full swing.
The lowdown: Sitting in an enormous glass box next to Jumeirah Plaza, Engine has the benefit of being flooded with natural light on all three floors. It’s keen to offer something different from Dubai’s existing chain gyms, and the many unique components in the complex include a Wi-Fi area, juice bar, non-motorised ‘Woodway curve’ treadmills and Queenex equipment area (similar to TRX). The Technogym equipment here uses a key facility, meaning you can store and follow workout programmes.
Classes offered: Engine offers a full range of Les Mills workout classes, and will soon incorporate swing, or anti-gravity yoga into its repertoire. Classes are open to non-members, from Dhs55 per class.
Downsides: They’re quite guarded about sharing their rates.
Rates: From Dhs299 per month for ‘special’ memberships, annual membership from Dhs385 per month.
Next to Jumeira Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 381 9999).
Size: About 836 sq m.
Members: There are currently more than 500 members, and it’s still early doors so the club won’t be capping membership for some time yet.
The lowdown: Located in the J3 Mall on Al Wasl Road, which is so new you can still smell the paint in some parts, this branch of Fitness 360° is a ladies-only health club. But don’t expect a room full of patronising pink and glitter. The black, red and white theme indicates this gym means business as much as any other. An open boxing ring is one of the unique features here, alongside a room packed full of state-of-the-art Cybex exercise equipment, some of which looks as though it came straight from the set of Prometheus.
Classes offered: Belly dancing, Bodypump, Bodyattack, Bodyjam, Kbox Circuit, hatha yoga, Zumba, Step and Pilates sessions. Non-members are only allowed to take reformer classes (Dhs120), but are welcome to use the gym afterwards.
Downsides: It’s only for ladies – and then there’s the Tim Hortons hurdle to pass on the way out.
Rates: These change quite regularly, and discounts are sometimes available, but on the day we visited, a three-month membership cost Dhs1,296, a six-month membership was Dhs2,193 and a 12-month membership was Dhs3,687, working out at Dhs307 per month.
J3 Mall, Al Wasl Road (04 380 9969).
Golds Gym International
Size: Approximately 1,900 sq m.
Members: Currently a few hundred, but plenty of room for more. There are different brackets of membership available, including passport membership, which allows you to use all Golds branches, located in Mirdif, Deira and Abu Dhabi.
The lowdown: Golds’ latest branch is located inside the relatively unexplored Al Barsha Mall, with the main mixed section of the gym sitting under an enormous atrium, and boasting plenty of natural light. Rows of cardio equipment face out over Al Barsha Park towards the Burj Al Arab, offering a more impressive workout view than most. The downstairs area houses a ladies-only gym with its own studios and spa, using Thalgo and Nimue products (members get discounts).
Classes offered: Pilates, Bodypump, spinning, yoga, super step, hip-hop, kickboxing and bootcamps. Classes are open to members only.
Downsides: The area near the mall is often quiet, so finding a taxi after leaving the gym can take some time.
Rates: From Dhs375 per month for a limited period. Al Barsha Mall (04 385 1181).
Unique gyms: two more to try
Bodylines, Amwaj Rotana
This gym boasts a beautiful view over the sea, which will hopefully make running on the treadmill a little bit less monotonous.
Annual membership from Dhs3,800 per person until December 31. The Walk at JBR(04 428 2000).
Work out right on the beach at this innovative spot. It may look like a hut from afar, but inside(and out) it offers everything you need to stay in shape, plus top-notch training advice and no monthly membership fees.
Dhs35 drop-in fee. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim (056 693 9258).