With a retreat in Tulum under its belt—plus a cumulative four years spent hosting immersive wellness retreats around the world—Habitas, an experience-focused hospitality group, has just unveiled a set of members-only clubs in New York City and Los Angeles. Cozy and eclectic, the N.Y.C. location opened inside a 19th-century midtown firehouse, while the latter debuted in the former home office of a sex therapist on Venice Beach’s trendier-than-thou Abbot Kinney. The annual $2,200 membership promises access to glossy wellness areas for yoga, kitchens stocked with sweet snacks by a Fat Radish alum, a score of creativity-sparking facilities (recording studios included), and loads of leisurely perks—think surfboards and communal wet bars—in a stylish setting.
To get the inside scoop on the most coveted new membership in the country, we spoke with Habitas cofounder Eduardo Castillo on taking the social wellness trend to the nth degree.
Habitas began as one-off retreats in unique locations. Why was hospitality your next step? Over the past four years, we’ve built—and continue to build—this incredible community, so it was a natural next step to begin creating permanent homes for them.
Tell us about Habitas New York City.
New York City itself represents old and new, and so we wanted the clubhouse to reflect that. The building used to be a firehouse which was built in the 1890s, so we’ve kept the original emergency call box and ornamental windows, but we’ve added contemporary artwork and a mix of modern and vintage furnishings to carry on this idea.
Does the same design follow through to Habitas Venice Beach?
The Venice Beach clubhouse is similar in that we’ve preserved its sense of place, but we’ve let it take its own course. Furnishings are custom or vintage, sourced from estate sales and artisan markets around the world, which is fitting for a property that sits on Abbot Kinney.
Walk us through a typical day at Habitas. What can new members expect to experience in each location?
The experience only varies in the physical. In Venice Beach, you might take a yoga class, send a few emails from the loft, then grab a clubhouse surfboard and hit the beach at sunset. In New York City, you might join us for a family-style dinner, move upstairs to listen to rare jazz records, and then jump in a cab to head to a private show at a secret penthouse location—completely orchestrated by our team. This is just scratching the surface.
What about the wellness offerings?
In all of our wellness spaces, we focus on physiology and empowerment. We’ve sought after the best practitioners in their fields to bring yoga, meditation, Reiki, massage, and more to our clubhouses and homes. We also offer equipment for strength training and physical conditioning that members can use at any time, and space for their own private practice.
In this age of digital social communication, why is a physical social architecture so important?
Human beings are their own greatest assets, and in having a genuine commitment to yourself, you’re able to inspire others. We believe that social architecture bridges the gap between people, allowing them to connect and stay connected.
Where is Habitas heading next?
We’re currently building homes in the Bahamas and Namibia. We are also bringing our ethos to those who need it most and to places with limited resources, unforgiving circumstances, and hardship, with our philanthropic initiative, Habitas Rise. We will continue to spread our commitment to “live inspired” and do our part in making the world—our great home—a better place.