KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Nestled on the rooftop of Menara Ken in Taman Tun Dr Ismail is Babel Fit, an ultra-luxurious gym that could easily double as an interior design showroom, art gallery, nightclub and high-end condo, all rolled into one.
Sounds too fancy for a workout space?
Yes, but in the best way possible (because doing yoga under bright fluorescent lights does nothing for inner peace).
Those active on social media may have come across the luxury fitness centre that combines club facilities, plus everything you would find in a gym, and more.
“We’re known as the Dyson hairdryer gym,” exclaims general manager Jacq Ng when Malay Mail met him.
The raved-about hair dryer is just one of the many superlative gadgets and gizmos one would find at Babel, living up to its affordable premium identity that would set clients back RM250 a month to be a member of.
All machines in the gym are from Technogym and customers will find the most Skillmill machines in the country (eight in total), the first non-motorised treadmill that intensifies your workout.
Ng explained that Technogym is often referred to as “the Ferrari of fitness equipment”. The gym also uses Rogue weightlifting bars and plates.
Each machine features a screen that uses Technogym’s software to enable members to track their workout.
“Sometimes on a machine, you don’t know how fast you need to go or at what rate you’re supposed to be going at — the app acts like a mini-personal trainer that guides you on the screen,” Ng said, adding that new members will be given an induction session.
After spending 10 years at one of the country’s largest commercial gyms, Ng teamed up with a Malaysian businessman (who wishes to remain anonymous) a year and a half ago, to mull over a new fitness concept.
“We found that boutiques are growing and commercial gyms will always be there so we want to bridge the gap between the two,” he said.
The home-grown gym took nine months to plan and they even hired a Singaporean interior decorator.
Each room has a theme — Gym 1 has an art gallery vibe while the HIIT Room has a neon skull light instalment — and the gym is also decorated with paintings along with sculptures commissioned from China.
Amenities also include plush premium hotel towels (they each have a security tag) and skincare from Malaysian beauty brand Good Virtues Co
Ng revealed the cost to build the gym was in the multi-million range.
“The equipment alone is close to a couple million ringgit,” he said.
So, does the ultra-luxurious gym live up to its hype?
Recently, Malay Mail popped by the gym incognito and decided to give the day pass a try.
At RM75 per day, customers can experience Babel’s unique group classes and all its facilities.
On top of the gym’s accessible location in TTDI, parking is also a breeze in the newly-opened Menara Ken, which is always a bonus.
Day pass customers will have to book their class of choice when they walk in to avoid disappointment as classes are kept small, around 15 to 20 per session.
At Power Flo Yoga, a form of yoga that increases flexibility, strength and tone, instructor Claudia Gallo, a well-known Puerto Rican yogi and model had the Main Room prepped with Manduka yoga mats and foam blocks — great for time-pressed individuals who can’t be fussed lugging around their own mats.
Next up was sandbags, an unusual but fun and challenging workout using, you guessed it, bags filled with sand that weight at least 12kgs. This full body workout builds strength and stamina, and our instructor Kish made the group of five sweat bullets right from the warm up until the end of the 45-minute class.
The highlight at the end of any workout here is the sprawling 4,600 sq ft changing rooms that boast ample locker space, shower rooms, and dressing stations. There’s enough privacy, the water pressure is great and the space is spotless.
Part of Babel’s appeal lies in its wide range of unique workouts, including Boga Fit (Babel is the only gym offering this one-of-a-kind floating exercise), the mixed martial arts and yoga hybrid Budokon, Aqua Fit and the confidence-boosting dance class Griind.
Also, instructors for the various classes are experts in their fields.
“Our dance coach Maybelline is known in the dance scene as the choreographer for Malaysian artistes,” he said.
With a customer base comprised of mostly young working adults, social media plays a huge role in marketing the new gym.
But for a fitness centre that continues to induce ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at the sight of its immaculate design aesthetics, Ng said there is more to it than just being Instagrammable.
“The sad reality about how the media portrays fitness is that everybody needs to look good, have a six-pack and be social media worthy. But how many people are like that?
“I’ve seen people who look good on camera and can be on the front page of a fitness magazine but may not be able to compete in a single run. You’ll be surprised, someone can be a little heavier or bigger but they are pacing well — that makes us think about the definition of fit,” he said.