When I say ‘gym’, you probablytune out immediately, either because you don’t like them or you already have one — these are the only two types of gym people there are. Not all gyms are created equal though, so what if I told you there’s a place right in the heart of Sydney CBD that turns the gym into a whole lifestyle destination?
I know, I wouldn’t believe me either, except that I spent a whole month at SOMA Collection inside Chifley Tower, and it was exactly that.
Unless you’re a professional bodybuilder or something, most people either need their gym to be super close or super nice. If you can have both, that’s workout nirvana.
SOMA is a full-service boutique wellness, fitness and spa. From the beautiful golden decor to fully equipped bathrooms and towel service, and right down to infrared saunas and in-house masseuses and physiotherapist — they really live up to the name.
Co-founded by Simon Anderson and Franco Atashi, the idea was to create an exclusive space that offers holistic wellness. It has everything you need to either get your heart rate racing with high-intensity training and PTs, or chill completely out.
“SOMA allows clients to escape to a tranquil, private and exclusive space to work out, while the concierge organises their dry-cleaning and dinner plans,” said Anderson.
“We have carefully thought through every customer touchpoint with our brand — and that’s what sets us apart. It’s the little things like the phone charging ports available while you wait for your studio class or the option to play whatever music you please while you indulge in the infrared sauna”.
My first visit is for a massage, because obviously. The experience was quite nice and sure got a few knots out. The best part was being able to chill out in the infrared sauna afterwards. I normally hate saunas, something about the steam must mess with my asthma and make it hard to breathe, so infrared is perfection.
My next few visits are for gym classes, which range from yoga to boxing. I try out barre and, for the first time, reformer pilates. Classes are kept quite small so you don’t feel lost in the crowd. In fact, the whole gym is quite small which gives it a really intimate/ part of the club type of vibe.
“My clientele has been invaluable to me, shaping the way I view the fitness market. It’s a day and age where mass-market clubs are losing touch with some of their clients,” said Anderson.
Seriously though, I get gym anxiety and this is the kind of place that could easily become that snobby gym from Dodgeball, but it just isn’t. There are all fitness levels and everyone is there to be part of a community. They even have little networking events.
Overall, this is unlike any gym I’ve ever been to, it definitely ticks the ‘super nice’ requisite, but given its central location, it would also meet the ‘super close’ criteria for most commuters.
Memberships start from $54 a week, or you can buy bundles of class passes, that work out to be from $28 to $32 per visit. You can find all your options here.
The writer was a guest of SOMA Collection.
(Lead image: provided / SOMA Collection)