When folks enter Balance Gym Foggy Bottom, the local chain’s new 17,000-square-foot location in the swanky Fairmont Hotel, the first thing they see is a pingpong table.
“Probably the best athletes in the world are pingpong players,” says co-owner Mark Crick. (He’s joking, but also sweating from swinging around his paddle.)
The table tennis is an immediate way for Balance to show off its goofy side — and prove it’s not a typical hotel gym. There’s more evidence in the main training area, which features barbells and kettlebells, along with specialized lifting equipment, including a reverse hyper.
It’s a noticeable shift from the fitness center that previously occupied the space, although Balance hasn’t done away with most of the luxury touches, such as locker rooms with saunas.
Crick says renovations included putting $250,000 into the lap pool, which is already hosting aquatic fitness classes. Soon to come are swim lessons, Aqua Zumba and, of course, parties. There’s a volleyball net ready for action, Crick notes.
All of that exercising should work up an appetite, so Balance is partnering with the Fairmont’s chef to offer Paleo-diet-friendly meals. Starting next month, members can order off a rotating menu of breakfast and lunch options available to go — although they’re also welcome to enjoy them while watching some pingpong.
You can’t beat the price of D.C.’s public outdoor pools (free for residents), but they’re open only on weekends until June 24. Those willing to put up more cash to splash will find seven-day schedules at these members-only spots.
Penthouse Pool Club (1612 U St. NW, 202-939-2563, Penthousepoolclub.com) $159 per month, including access to all Vida Fitness locations.
LivingWell Health Club (Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-483-3000, Livingwellwh.squarespace.com) Seasonal members pay around $1,000.
Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I St. SW, 202-488-7500, Capitolskyline.com) $20 daily rates; full season is $325 for singles or $525 for a family.