The rooftop gym offers a gentler, more welcoming workout space that's targeting mental, social and physical fitness
Multidisciplinary designer Bob Barton, who owns the 60-seat Golden Age Cinema in the heritage-listed Paramount Building, has transformed the seldom used, sundrenched rooftop of the same Surry Hills landmark into a bright, LA-inspired, multipurpose gym that’s open to the elements and inspires a sense of superiority, high up above Commonwealth Street.
Paramount Recreation Club is a new concept gym that’s aiming to provide a well rounded experience of health and fitness, from physical to mental and social health. It’d be a prime spot for rooftop pool, but the building restrictions on the roof means that the space is designed to look like you’re poolside, without the water. White painted walls, green succulents and blue parasols give the space a holiday vibe – and the staff are kitted out in green sweaters that say ‘coach’, as though you’ve signed up for a Hollywood celebrity detox.
“We wanted to create something that helped people in the ways that they needed,” says fitness and health director Jordan Ponder. “People need to be strong, posturally; they need to be fit; they need mobility; and they need stability. We have specialists in each different area – an ex-long jumper for conditioning, an ex-dancer with military experience for building strength.”
Their daily program caters to early risers, but there are lunchtime and evening classes for the commuting crowd. You can book online into yoga, pilates, boxing, skipping or meditation – as well as their signature class, the Paramount Workout, which is a program designed to combine three of the four pillars Ponder mentions into an hourlong session. They also offer a run club, a swimming group at Bondi, they’re aiming to get a rock climbing group together.
“In the Paramount Workout, we wanted to give people what they need in an hour or less. You can go through activation, strength and then onto a conditioning specialist to help you stretch out properly. The whole space is about an incremental progression to one’s health.”
From the moment you arrive, via the lift, into the rock maple-lined reception you’re welcomed by the staff. There are lockers and towels, as you might expect, but the rest of the space is airy and lighter than you might expect of a gym. You’re welcome to curve round into the Pavilion – a partially covered space with rowing machines, medicine balls, dumbbells and Lululemon mats on the dance-ready floor. The space can be sectioned off for multiple uses – from ‘rowski’ to vinyasa. There’s also a studio space for small group classes, and eventually there’ll be a consultation room for physiotherapy, massage and dietitian consultations.
“Barriers [to fitness] tend to come from within,” says Ponder. “We’ve tried to make this space gentler. We’ve tried to provide a front-of-house experience that’s more caring to ease people into it.”
One of the first ways many prospective members will enter the space is via the health eatery, Kiosk, which is open to the public every day for breakfast and lunch – and a perfect spot for observing the action. The menu has been designed by Longrain restaurateurs Griff Pamment and Sam Christie, and you can expect to find dishes like the Hollywood Bowl, a vegetarian feast of avo, kale, roasted coconut, pickled radish, shredded coconut, black beans and roasted beets for $17. They also serve famous Nonie’s Charcoal Gluten Free Bread by the slice, and if you’re training on the weekends Talia’s Local Harvest Collective Market runs every Saturday from 8am selling bags of seasonal veg.
Matt Lennon, the gym’s brand manager, says it’s an oasis for residents and hotel guests alike. “We want people to feel relaxed. We want people to leave feeling happy, and if they leave with a smile on their face we’ve done our jobs.”
The gym operates on a membership basis, but they do offer a casual pass for $35, which gives you access to one class and towel service, plus use of the gym’s beautifully designed shower rooms. There’s also a ten-class pass for $300, a four-week personal training pass for $170, or the most attractive membership rate, the Pioneer Membership, which is $95 per week for unlimited classes – and only available to the first 100 members before June 30.
|Venue name:||Paramount Recreation Club|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 6am-8pm; Thu, Fri 6am-3pm; Sat 6am-2pm; Sun 7am-noon|