After a 2-year S$52 million revamp, SAFRA Toa Payoh re-opened it doors in early February this year. Since the clubhouse used to be my playground, I popped by to see how my old friend’s facelift went. The makeover surgery was total. Not a shred of its past self was left, and rising in its place is a new paradise!
I joined SAFRA as a member and subscribed to its gym in the early 1990s while serving National Service (NS) because wearing my army green, I was what you would call a toothpick in camouflage…
Ah Boy to He-Man! With needle arms and bony legs, my skeletal frame was the parcel of Grayskull and SAFRA was my magic transformation sword!
… so I joined SAFRA’s EnergyOne gym to pack on some meat. I took up the membership because it was very good value-for-money, and continues to be to this day. I was with EnergyOne for a looooonnng time until 2007 when I migrated to another sweathouse because of proximity to home.
But having revisited my dear friend today, I regretted our break-up. Here are the reasons why…
23 Feb 2013 : Stepping foot into SAFRA Toa Payoh after an almost 6 years hiatus. It looks so awesomely different! And I’m still far from being He-Man.
The handsome visage with a 24-hour McD. How about also making it the first 24-hour club in Singapore, and possibly the world?!
I couldn’t believe it’s a SAFRA clubhouse. With Toastbox, McD, and a wide spread of F&B who’s who in its premises, it felt like a swanky lifestyle mall.
Like-father-like-son made the girls green with envy because SAFRA clubs (5 in total around Singapore) are built to provide men who have gone through or still serving National Service (NS) a destination to foster family ties and link back to that NSmen brotherhood we lived through.
There are 5 SAFRA clubhouses around our island – Toa Payoh (north-central), Yishun (north), Mount Faber (south), Tampines (east), and Jurong (west), and the pool in each club has its own unique features and designs. SAFRA Toa Payoh used to have 2 pools that could at most accomodate an adult elephant each. But now, the water playground at SAFRA Toa Payoh is the kind of stuff wet dreams are made of (pardon the pun)!
Splish and splash for every age. From kids’ waterworld to adult aqua fantasies, the pool area will definitely be making waves!
Not knowing that SAFRA Toa Payoh’s pool was closed for maintenance today, I went in to take some photos but was promptly asked to leave by the security personnel. Rather unfriendly, but she was just doing her job. It’s so rare to get clean shots of the gorgeous pool without people that I felt It was well worth being chided for my trespassing. I don’t think I can ever get photos like these when the pool is fully operational at the end of Feb 2013.
I was really mesmerised by the pool and almost forgot why I came to SAFRA Toa Payoh for… to check out what’s being done to the EnergyOne gym where my attempts to be macho started.
O.M.G. The gym is so different! The old gym used to be an arena where I could look down into from an upper ring but now, it’s on ground level with a designer sleek-chic appeal. The gym comes with steamroom and jacuzzi facilities too! At approximately S$30 a month (excluding a one-time membership fee of around S$200), staying healthy has never been more affordable.
The new gym has 2 levels with the first floor offering a complete range of free-weights tortures while the upper storey torches fats through a cardio zone. What I really liked is the spaciousness. No need to squeeze and jostle with commercial gyms. And there are no sales people waiting at the door to prospect you for leads or extend membership.
If being a being bunny doesn’t appeal, Toa Payoh, and most of other SAFRA clubhouses, also offer additional sporting spaces (badminton, squash, billard, etc) for booking.
Children get to have a good time too with a slew of playhouses such as the Kids Amaze adventure zone and various enrichment establishments (music, fencing, learning, etc) all under one roof. There’s something for everyone.
After all that physical and mental exercise, it’s time to nourish with a delectable selection of yums. There’s a choice to suit every palate… from Asian to Western, from quick meals to sit-down dinners.
Swim-gym-eat-play-learn-chill… all under one roof! That’s the thing I missed about being a SAFRA member and I’ve made a lot of friends while gymming there, many of us still keep in regular contact to this day. I think it’s time for me to rekindle my SAFRA membership.
The great news is, SAFRA is giving away free vouchers and/or membership so all NSmen can access the comprehensive facilities at all the clubhouses.
If you are Singaporean male and had served NS, go to https://ns45.safra.sg/ to register for your NS45 goodies. Registration ends 28 Feb 2014 and all vouchers are valid until 31 Mar 2014. Below is a quick reference of what you’ll be receiving depending on your NS status.
I’ve registered and since I fall under the ‘Currently serving ORNS (Operationally Ready National Serviceman)’ category, I will be receiving S$80 worth of vouchers redeemable at 5,000 outlets islandwide. Woohoo! Don’t miss out on this fantastic giveaway and enjoy the club that has it all – SAFRA!