I recently got a temporary membership at the new Akasha gym at the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem. There is no question that they have gone all out to create beautifully designed modern “wellbeing center” as they call it. The state of the art gym has a selection of all the latest gym equipment, there is a yoga and pilates sala, a spinning room, a private training room and many other elements that set it above the standard hotel gym but in some ways, they have just tried too hard.
The entrance hall has a very Zen like quality and everything is designed with hidden doors – my first visit there felt like Alice in Wonderland. If it was not for a barely visible sign outside each room – I would not have had any idea of what I would find behind each door, it is very disorientating.
The mood lighting in the gym changes color, but as there is loud music and the usual buzz of a busy gym I am not really sure what mood they are trying to create. There is no shortage of towels for people to use in the gym itself but for me, the water did not match the quality of the 5 star gym they have created.
For me, having a steaming hot shower after a workout, if half the fun, however, despite the rest of the gym being well designed and laid out, the changing rooms are not. The actually changing area is tiny compared to the size of the room itself, most of the space is taken up by a long dark corridor that seems to lead to nowhere. But what struck me as most ridiculous were the showers. There are 4 shower cubicles next to each other, with no locks on them (not everybody wants to parade their naked body for all to see), and there is no place to put anything. There are tiny hooks on the wall to hang your towel, but once you are inside the shower, there is nothing. Clearly a man designed them. Yes they provide beautiful smelling L’Occitane shower gel and shampoo, but what about conditioner and the truth is, most girls will bring their own shampoo anyway. But in this cavernous shower cubicle with its minimalist design, there are just floor to ceiling tiled walls. There is the option to use a small hand held shower head or to switch to the huge central shower head – but guess what – another design flaw – the shower head is so high up, that by the time the water reaches you, it has lost its pressure and just feels weak. They also have not taken Jerusalem hard water into consideration, because considering they only just opened, some of the shower head wholes are already blocked, resulting in the water coming out at crazy angles. What should be a wonderful shower experience was sorely disappointing.
Perhaps they will redeem themselves elsewhere, but right now, the King David gym is still my favorite to work out in.