Review: The Place Gym, Phnom Penh

The Place is widely believed to be the best gym in Phnom Penh (except for the few dissenters who favor the Sofitel), and it’s certainly the most expensive. They’re doing another rate hike on June 1st, so if you are thinking of joining, go now. I reluctantly joined last year and after six months of membership, offer you this unbiased review.

The Place Phnom Penh Pool

Laps or lounging, your choice.

The Place is huge–there’s an outdoor pool, a floor of mostly free weights and other weight equipment, another floor of mostly cardio, including at least twenty treadmills and half a dozen crosstrainers, plus a room of weight machines. On the top floor are studios for classes, which are included in the membership prices. Some of the current offerings are: spinning, yoga, pilates, body pump, zumba, stretching, Khmer dancing, and karate.

The Place Phnom Penh Weight Machines

Pumpin’ iron Phnom Penh

The Place is an undeniably nice fitness center–air-conditioning throughout, everything is super clean and all of the machines have been recently replaced with Technogym equipment, which is apparently very expensive and high tech. The cardio equipment all have television on them that also, to my great pleasure and dismay, have solitaire and other card games. This slows one’s pace down considerably, but can keep me on the machine for an hour.

Personal training fees are $20 for most of the trainers, and the friends I have who use the trainers are happy with the training.

The Place Phnom Penh Treadmills

Playing solitaire while running–not easy, but well worth it.

Lest it seem that I am completely happy with the Place, let me enumerate its lesser qualities. They’re clearly doing everything they can to make the place more expensive–immediately after adding the Technogym equipment they put up signs saying that if you wanted to learn how to use it, you should pay a $20 training fee. Much of the equipment is confusing, and the staff aren’t proactive in helping you figure out how to use it. Members don’t get to bring guests, ever. I tried to bring a friend who was willing to pay the exorbitant daily rate, and because we wanted to go for a class, leave for lunch and come back and use the weights, we were told he would have to pay for two day passes, for a total of $30. It’s a ridiculous policy and goes a long way towards alienating their members.

Despite going there five times a week, I feel no affection for the place, which is a shame. Nonetheless, I will continue to go there. If you’re looking for a high-end gym in Phnom Penh, this or the Sofitel are your best options, and The Place is the most central.

The Place Phnom Penh

The Place to be.

The new rates starting on June 1st are: 1 session, $15, 10 sessions (in one month) $130, 1 month $180, 3 months $380, 6 months $600, 1 year $880, 2 years $1,450. Around the big Cambodian holidays they usually have promotions that give about $100 off for a year-long membership, but the promotions seem to be getting smaller and smaller.

The Place

11 Pasteur St (Street 51), across from Wat Lanka, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 069 876 777

20 Responses to Review: The Place Gym, Phnom Penh

  1. Derrik Tikmann says:

    For everyone talking about the price being to high: Yes for what it is and compared to western gyms, it is very expensive but… that is not the point. You aren’t paying for the gym or swimming pool or how nice it is, you are paying to go to an exclusive venue that only pretty wealthy people can afford. You are paying to be part of a club for the Cambodian elite. The price is hiked up because people who can afford it will pay to go to a place that poor(er) people cannot access. How much are you willing to pay for status? It’s a statement saying that you can afford to spend money on a gym that costs more than the majority of people even earn. If you want to talk about great value, go down to a 1000r a session gym that has everything you could possibly need to do a good training session. No one needs to pay 45x this to do the same workout but it’s just a matter of showing your face in the right place :-)

    • Lina says:

      I’d argue that it’s more about supply and demand. There’s huge demand for air-conditioned gyms in Cambodia, but limited supply. At home it’s exactly the opposite, so they have to offer low prices to get people in the door. In Siem Reap, where there are even fewer gyms, you pay more than in Phnom Penh for significantly less ($50-60 a month for a gym with two old treadmills, for example).

      • Dave says:

        Have to agree with Lina here. It’s simply the local market.
        I’ve been going to The Place since June, and while I somewhat resent paying through the nose (my university union gym back in London was less than $300 for a year) for possibly excessive service (Do I need a doorman? A sauna…in Phnom Penh?), this is not really comparing like-with-like. Labour is cheap, Phnom Penh is not Europe or America economically, socially, or in terms of service-culture, and The Place (by absence of competition) finds itself at the top of the heap by default.
        Any issues I have with the place are minor with the biggest annoyance being an absence of guest policies. Is this still the case even?
        On the other hand, it is one of the few well equipped, well air-conditioned, gyms around. Even at peak times it isn’t overly crowded, the staff are friendly enough (I like being left to it with no interruption) and the overall facilities good. Yes, there are oddities, and there is a prevalence of Lexuses and their drivers picking up the well-appointed after their work-outs. But the visibility of hi-soc patrons is more a symptom of ordinary Khmer not being in a position to pay these sorts of prices. From those I have spoken to there, it’s abundantly clear they aren’t looking for “exclusivity” or to escape from the general population. Quite the opposite. But if you want a good gym, in what can be an unhealthy city to live in, and are willing to pay for it, you will likely find yourself at a place like The Place.

        • Lina says:

          I get lots of comments on the blog by people who are really surprised and/or outraged about gym prices in Cambodia. While I share their unhappiness, it’s completely understandable due to the reasons that you listed above. So I suck it up and pay it.

  2. Robin Thepsiri says:

    I just wanted to swim! And $11 for use of pool just ridiculous ….. I was told I had access to any part of the gym but I am not interested in gyms. I just wanted to swim.

  3. Hort Chornnaton says:

    The price is too expensive. like more expensive than in america, if the price is decrease i would love to go, The Place gym should be a good price, because not only one person workout there, there’re a lot of ppl. So the price should be normal around 400-450$ PER YEAR

  4. Martin says:

    I bought a years membership at the place for $650. I found the place is over-staffed. About 8 girls on the front desk doing nothing and an abundance of male staff who spend most of their time in the changing rooms chatting to each other. That’s where the money goes. The facilities are nice, it is clean, and it’s hardly crowded. Contrasted against the Cambodiana, 1 smart girl on the counter and 1 or 2 gym staff who keep themselves busy. Different management styles.

    • Lina says:

      I’m guessing the staff make about $100/month maximum, so I doubt the price is being influenced by the staff costs. They’re using new equipment that is far more expensive and abundant than what’s available at Cambodiana, which is probably part of the reason for higher costs.

    • Mick says:

      I agree with Martin that most of the staff are there wasting their time and just trying to create a “wow”effect. As the article author said I myself did not feel any affection in about 2 years attending the gym. Staff seems just to care about the money and not the satisfaction on the gym users. This surely depends on the Management guidelines which I find very money addicted. For about 1 year then, the wi-fi inside the gym was so poor that at times you could connect yourself to some of the bars/cafes surrounding the compound. Eventually they did upgrade the wi-fi, after hundred of complains from furious customers. As I don’t intend to commit for year long membership, I will try Cambodiana.

  5. David says:

    too much 880USD per year, even the california Gym that specialize for this is expensive about 500USD per year in HCM city but not as crazy as this price.

  6. Pingback: Review: Cambodiana Physique Club gym, Phnom Penh | Move to Cambodia

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  8. Lina says:

    Mark, I agree about the staff trying to close the place early every night. I often work out late and have to ask them to turn the machines back on–45 minutes before they are supposed to close and then they give me the stink-eye until I leave.

    My other gripe is that they have no reasonable plan for people that are in and out of town. 10 passes for $130 is sort of reasonable, except for the fact that you have to use them in a month. Cambodiana has a better deal.

  9. gavinmac says:

    They are running a 5th anniversary promotion now – $720 for a new annual membership, $650 for existing members to renew for a year.

  10. Jay says:

    Thats the most ridiculous pricing for a gym, Im from america and they dont even have gyms that expensive. Your talking about $25 to about $70 a month gyms in America, if you want more people even tourist to come to your gym do something with your pricing. I live here now and will be for a year and will never pay your over charged facility, dont get me wrong its a beautiful gym but no where worth that much a month.

    • Mark Tenally says:

      Hi have to respectfully disagree with Jay here when i)t comes to comparing the Place to gyms in the States. I have been a member of several back home over the years(and a handful overseas in various countries for that matter), and the place is worth more than any I have seen in the States for one simple reason – the equipment to member ration is dramatically better. Waiting in line for equipment is par for the course in gyms in the States, and was always the biggest negative for me by far. I have never waited in line for anything at the Place in 2 years as a member and that has great value in my mind. They have twice as many treadmills as they need, twice as many weight benches, etc. Frankly they seem to have wasted a lot of money buying more equipment than they need, but benefit is for those of us who value our time and don’t want to waste it waiting for things at the gym. For that alone I would pay the extra charge. Also, the main competition (Core Fitness), closes too early and their A/C isn’t strong enough. The Place has no competition in PP, and I would pay twice what they charge me frankly.

      Only complaint is the staff late at night. They start shutting the place down 40 minutes before closing time, then seem to glare at you for not letting them go home early if you are still working out. C’mon ownership, will it really cost that much to have the cleaning crew come in AFTER the place closes??

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