Equinox, a leader in the “fitness as lifestyle” movement, opens its first hotel in New York's Hudson Yards this month. With the opening, two aspirations of the new generation — travel and wellness — will collide in a big way.
As anyone who has experienced a breakdown of their workout routine while traveling knows, exercising and being on the road traditionally have been at odds with each other. Hotels and resorts have offered bandaids in the form of gyms, workout gear lending programs, and morning yoga sessions.
Equinox, in contrast, is entering the market with an unparalleled solution to travelers seeking the best of both worlds. To deliver on the concept, “For Those Who Want It All,” the brand has created the experience of a lifestyle hotel with a world-class luxury level of service.
“Don’t think of us as a hotel with a gym attached to it or a hotel with a great fitness club,” Christopher Norton, CEO of Equinox Hotels, told Travel + Leisure. “This isn’t two brands running parallel to each other, this is a brand integration and experience that includes the larger experience of staying in a hotel that offers exceptional health and wellness for guests.”
The 212-room flagship property focuses on three core concepts: movement, regeneration, and nutrition. For movement, the hotel houses a 60,000-square foot Equinox Fitness Club, the largest ever built. Hotel guests, who become members during their stay (if they aren’t members already), can access personal training services, group fitness classes, private Pilates, a 25-yard indoor salt water pool, and hot and cold plunge pools. An integrated digital platform allows for easy bookings and also gives club members access to their current workout routines at other Equinox Clubs.
Those who love the modern luxury and contemporary style of the Equinox Fitness Clubs will find a similar aesthetic in the hotel. Not only do the fitness clubs provide the DNA for the hotel — in look and concept — the on-property club offers a built-in community for hotel guests, activating the brand’s idea that “travel is a seamless extension of a life well-lived.”
“The fact that this is an active club, with members in and out of the club everyday, is unique,” Norton said. “Now, the hotel guests start connecting with other like minded people within the community — they’re entering an energy that's very different. Again, the club includes lounges, beverage spaces, and outdoor pools. It's really an environment that goes way beyond the typical club in a hotel.”
Regeneration happens in the guest rooms and at the spa — both backed by state-of-the-art science and technology through Equinox's proprietary Health Advisory Board. Guest rooms are conceived as sleep chambers with precise levels of quiet, darkness, and comfort. Temperature is maintained at 66F to encourage optimal sleep, a Scandinavian two-duvet style bed allows for personal warmth preferences, and customizable blackout shades are designed to keep 100 percent of the light out.
While sleep is integral to rejuvenating the body, the spa offers both unique and traditional treatments to further cater to guests. Technology-based offerings include infrared saunas, vitamin IV-drips, a cryotherapy chamber, and ionic balancing. Be sure to book an E.scape Pod pre- or post-treatment for some soothing downtime with a new view of New York City, overlooking Hudson Yards to the Hudson River.
Renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr heads the hotel’s food and beverage components. An 8,000 square foot outdoor terrace on the 24th floor is home to the restaurant and social hub, Electric Lemon. Another culinary concept is slated for the club with balanced offerings designed to “feed every need.”
“Sometimes people ask me if we're vegan or vegetarian, or if we don't serve alcohol, and that's not the point,” said Norton. “We have an approach to food and beverage that is very thoughtful. It's as good as it will be fun. We'll have animal protein for those who want it, we'll have liquor for those who want it. But we will offer up things throughout the food and beverage experience that if you're an active, thoughtful person that wants to live a healthy lifestyle, this is how you will eat.”
It is no coincidence that Equinox chose Hudson Yards — a new “culture crucible” within one of the most important cities in the world — for this first property. As an anchor of the city's newest and most expensive development ever, Equinox upholds itself as a leader in luxury and a cultural provocateur.
Moving forward, the company is pursuing an aggressive strategy for growth. Five future properties — in Seattle, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara — will open within the next three years. By the time the New York City location celebrates its 10th anniversary, the company plans to have over 30 hotels around the globe.
With so many new hotels on the horizon, why should travelers care about a fancy fitness brand entering into hospitality? “Because they care about themselves,” quipped Norton.
Rooms are available beginning July 29, with nightly rates starting at $615.