Tag Archives: celebrity fitness jakarta

Fitness First @Oakwood (S. Jakarta) Costs Rp 500,000/ month

The reason I mention it, is because I just signed up for another four months and I’m looking at the receipt. Also, fitness is serious business here in new Jak city and FF is a no-nonsense outfit. Folks are nice and they don’t fast talk you. You can let your membership expire and sign up again at the same rate and they won’t even pretend that you can’t. They accept your cash at — you know — cash value. No card games.

The views aren’t quite as good as Grand Indonesia but they’re less cluttered, too.

As for Plan B, would you rather be surfing, sailing, jogging in Jak?  A shame really that Jakarta isn’t located in British Colombia, New South Wales or California. It would be a perfect fit as people in Jakarta are relaxed and even mildly outdoorsy.

Fact is, Jabotabek (ugly name but Jakarta/Bogor/Tangerang/Bekasi’s all jammed together crazy like that) is sandwiched between a volcano and the port of Sunda Kelapa.  And as we approach 30 million souls, we’ll be catching up with Canada.

So you can say that you’re going surfing — and you might. But in Jakarta, even the likes of Timothy Ferris (4-Hour Work Week/4-Hour Body) may find his/herself logistically weak-kneed having to rely on anything that tricky as a primary source of exercise. (Mountain biking, on the other hand, is fairly practical in Jak as long as its not too hot.)

Jak just isn’t your in-and-out type of place. As such, even “going out for some fresh air” or “taking a walk” may or may not be feasible. First go downstairs and check out the weather.  (Today it was lovely. Jakarta can be a real charmer — for example , when the smog blows out to sea and you notice all the brand-new shiny buildings that have gone up since the last clear-weather day.)

Keep your walking shoes handy, learn the roads and study maps, traffic and weather. Then work it baby (an article by a journalist formerly in residence @Sharehouse), cuz you’re gonna get some looks.  (Honestly, there’s almost nothing I find as exhilarating as mountain biking Jak and it has something to do with the people contact.) On the other hand, you could end up like one Sharehouse woman (yep, the one who went for a swim in the big ol’ fountain at the Plaza Indonesia roundabout on her last day in town) who got a large pointy piece of metal stuck in her foot on one of her very first freestyle Jak-abouts. Extra points for bravery, ’cause she was actually jogging down the railroad tracks. But she got a terribly nasty infection, too, that had her on crutches for a week or so and in a lot of pain.

So what does that leave . . . Yoga and the gym, pretty much. Use the free gym at your apartment? Yep, that’s always convenient. Conveniently located near your frig, your couch, and your wifi. So you may as well be hunting for activity partners on the Internet.  Or, better yet, at the bar! Drinking has been the official expat sport in this city since day 1.

I mean, if you want to spend all week (except for those 4 working hours) at Red Square or BATS, I think that’s fair.  But what I don’t get (I used to) is reasoning like “I just hate gyms” and “I just can’t see paying 60 dollars a month for the gym.”  That’s nothing if it keeps you healthy.

Because the Susan Waine fitness joint at Bellagio, across the street from Oakwood, is less than Rp 100,000/month. (A bit grotty and best for the heat-resistant types as they can’t be bothered to keep the AC very cold. I was cool and the gang with it, but my wife got a bit itchy and so we worked that membership on out, and let ‘er expire natural-like, easing across the street to join the in-crowd upstairs from the ever-popular Loewy and the ever-happening Bux.)  But we’ve also done a couple of Gold’s, Elite, Fit by Beat, pretty much every gym around. At a place like FF you’ll find brand-new equipment, hyper-convenient locations, awesome views of Jakarta, a pool (the one at Grand Indo, even though it was too small and somehow more uptight last time we tried it).

The money is the least of it. You’ll have tons of it left over after you quit all your dirty Indonesian bad habits, like smoking, dodgy street food, carousing, etc.

Complaints? Sauna’s really small and the music used to be really anemic; but it’s gotten better lately.


Celebrity Fitness stands out among Jakarta fitness club nonsense

What does a membership cost at Celebrity Fitness — the presumed third amigo in the Gold’s Gym (GG)/ Fitness First(FF)/ Celebrity Fitness (CF) triad?

We were were all carbed up with plenty of time to waste, so we popped into CF at Gandaria City, Indonesia’s newest fake city (still empty, kinda cool).

Perhaps it’s same around the world but at Jakarta fitness clubs there’s always two or three levels of hype before you get anywhere close to the true knowledge you seek. We’ve commented before on the fast-talking sales reps of the Jakarta gym world. And it’s true — if you’re rusty on automatic renewal and chargeback and can’t do long division in your head, then you better bring along your attorney in addition to your calculator and all your credit cards.  Even though all you want to know is:

  • What is the monthly fee (unless they offer 12 months)
  • Which fitness location can you use
  • How will you pay (do they insist on credit card)

Instead they’re going to dispose of your first 15 minutes trying to figure out which language to rip you off with — English or Indonesian (they’re equally proficient here). Next comes the “your fitness objectives” survey.  I told them straight up that I’d like to look like Ade Rai (pictured) and become a celebrity and we kept the whole ridiculous interchange to a very painful 10 minutes. I mean, unless they trying to cheat you (by charging you more than other members) why wouldn’t they just tell you the price of a membership?

Eventually they start throwing around numbers. But ya Allah it takes a long time and a lot of patience.  At the manager level they begin with the chicken scratch. This is good, since it means the denouement is just around the corner. It sets me up for my big question : May I take it  home (the scratch paper)?  Only a standardized multiple-choice testing proctor or voir dire attorney would refuse.

But no, you may not touch, handle, or carry away the perspiration-soaked scratch paper over which both elbows are positioned when you arm wrestle the sales rep at Celebrity Fitness  in Jakarta.  I tell you the paper has no value. It is marked with several geometric shapes but few words. I would say vaguely Masonic — with all due respect for the my Masonic forbears — but ultimately, just a distraction while they move in on the MasterCard.

Long story short, they are hiding the ball, pulling their punches — subjecting you to all this unsportsmanlike behavior, at the gym.

The first price they quote is a nice round Rp 999,000 per month. Of course that’s nonsense. But I swear they play poker. What a waste of time. No one pays those kind of prices at a fitness chains in Jakarta. (Although I admit that everyone may pay a slightly different price and that lets the sales rep feed his family). My understanding, based on feedback in the forums at Kaskus,  was that CF was positioned between FF and GG. And FF was right at Rp 500,000 the last time I signed up ( I think maybe they did a global 10% price hike in Jan 2011).

The second price point — where we folded and walked — was Rp 660,000  (per person per month) . Or perhaps I’m off by 6000 rupiah. Did the man have three of a kind? The mark of the beast?  It feels like numerology more than shopping.  And these per-month rates at tongue tip, while they claim they never offer contracts of lesser duration than 12 months.

And to reach chapter 2 in this cock-and-bull story about 60-d0llar-a-month ONE LOCATION fitness in Jakarta, they will need your passport, which they’ll photocopy. They’d like to verify that you aren’t a returning member is what they say. Because this promotion is for newcomers.

One step from me being locked into a 12-month automatically renewing agreement linked to my credit card and they won’t even tell me the price. I thought it was pretty bad. But I guess they treat members worse, so I got lucky there.

Would like to think they learned all this stuff in LA. Take it easy Instant Expat.