California Fitness & Yoga, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
Tòa nhà Capital Building, 41 Hai Bà Trưng, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 6:00 – 22:00, Sat and Sun: 6:00 – 21:00
Cost: 420k per day. Gulp.
Note, there are a couple of California Fitness Hanoi clubs around the old quarter. The one I’m at is level with the bottom of Ho Hoan Kiem Lake, a few hundred metres directly west of it. The entrance is unmissable on the corner of two streets and marked in big letters. Go inside, to the right and up the escalator (unless you’re stopping in the coffee shop first, that is). You’ll need to go up a couple of floors to reception. The fitness facilities are on the two floors above reception.
Welcome to the creme de la creme of gyms! Yep, California Fitness is one of Vietnam’s elite chains and the facilities won’t disappoint. The large gym is split over two floors, with cardio and weights making up the whole of one floor. The floor above this has three classy studios and several plush red sofas where a lot of people were just chilling before/after a class. Or maybe they were just chilling and didn’t do anything, who knows?
Go up one more flight and you’ll find the changing rooms – big enough to easily get lost in. Thankfully there were exit signs or I might still be there! It looks a bit like a five star hotel inside these (well, from my limited experience of them!). You’ll see loads of hairdryers around here too.
Outside the changing rooms is the manned towel station. I think you have to pay downstairs at reception and trade in your receipt here; it’s 25k for a large towel and/or 15k for a small one. So, take your own if you don’t want to pay and also take a padlock for the lockers.
Water is free!
Without even looking, I came across a jacuzzi, though I’d annoyingly forgotten to bring my swimsuit so I didn’t venture in this time, damn.
I also found a separate (even more) fancy-looking mini-gym which seemed to be an add-on to regular membership. I say this as you had to swipe to get in it, though I actually followed someone else in before I realised this.
The weights area at California Fitness Hanoi is attractive, modern and extensive – and when I went, very busy! It contains everything you’d expect in a modern gym and everything was tidy and pretty clean.
Dumbbells go up to 40kg, whilst barbells are measured in pounds and go from 30 to 115lbs, with a full range of both straight and curled.
You’ll find a cable crossover station with related cable stations around it, along with a couple of other pull up bar stations with narrow-set cables on each side. There’s also a squat rack with further pull up bars and a Smith machine.
Loadable resistance machines include a chest press, shoulder press, low row, row, pulldown and leg press.
There’s a good range of bench press stations here – around five in all, including flat, inclined and declined.
You’ll also find an assisted pull ups machine along with a good range of both lower and upper body resistance machines.
As well as free weights benches as standard, you’ll find a hip extension bench and a couple of abs benches.
This large club hosts more cardio machines than I think I’ve seen anywhere in Vietnam! I counted over 30 treadmills, 20 crosstrainers, 7 lateral trainers, 4 upright bikes and 6 recumbent bikes in the main area alone! There are rowing machines in the mini gym above, although I’m not sure if this area is included in regular membership.
The separate mini-gym which I stumbled across contained a mixture of cardio and weights. If you think the rest of the gym looks posh, this is another step up! You’ll see a TRX, multi-cable station, a few sets of kettlebells and some light to mid range dumbbells. There’s a good amount of floorspace here too and ample good quality mats.
You’ll also see some lightweight medicine balls here, along with BOSUs, abs benches, bikes and mats.
This area hosts the only rowing machines I saw in the whole club (there are two) along with some crosstrainers.
I found no less than three studios here, all looking tip-top, top of the range! The extensive class timetable includes Les Mills classes such as Body Combat, Pump, Jam, Sh’Bam and Balance. You’ll also see Zumba classes, Dance, Core Fit, Shape Up, Sculpt and Step and Bums ‘n Tums. I counted around 55 classes in all and there were a further 20 on the Spinning Timetable.
The main studio contained numerous trampets, disc weights and bars, lightweight dumbbells and mats.
I believe there must also be a separate yoga timetable that I overlooked for the yoga studio.
I loved working out in this very attractive and spacious astroturfed area. Whilst very popular, it’s still got plenty of space for you to do your own thing, due to its size. Gym toys include BOSUs, Swiss balls, ViPrs, a good range of lightweight dumbbells, some kettlebells and excellent quality mats in good condition.
All in all, California Fitness Hanoi is a superb club, worthy of its price tag. The excellent aircon made it a pleasure to use on a hot summer’s day for me and it was a real treat to train in such a luxury gym. The free water is a bonus, but if you don’t want to pay for a towel then take your own. The location is also good, depending on where you’re staying. Whilst the cardio and functional training areas far surpassed other gyms in the area, I would say the weights section was probably comparable to other quality clubs around. The aircon however is unrivalled!
Want a luxury gym for less money?
Check out TopGym Fitness and Yoga for a mid-price gym. The aircon on the ground floor is pretty good, although upstairs was more of a challenge. Of the budget gyms, I found X-Men Fitness Gym was best for aircon, although much smaller than these two.
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