Until Equinox came along, even the most expensive gyms were sweaty, unsexy affairs. But the New York-based brand, which helped popularize the concept of the luxury health club in the 1990s, has turned fitness into an ultracool (and still sweaty) lifestyle experience with its high-end amenities, highly attractive staff and high-concept marketing campaigns that make you wonder whether you’re joining a gym or some kind of cult. Now Equinox is attempting the same with hotels: This June, the brand will open its first hospitality experience in Manhattan’s new Hudson Yards development, promising, in its usual hyperbolic fashion, to blend “the science of fitness [and] the art of travel.”
What that means is “dark, cool and quiet” rooms for optimal sleep; healthy(ish) cuisine from James Beard Award–winning restaurateur Stephen Starr; and a 60,000-square-foot gym that will put the brand’s other facilities to shame. Beyond hundreds of group fitness classes, the hotel will offer a SoulCycle studio, indoor and outdoor pools, and one-on-one training and recovery programs. The brand will expand later this year with a Frank Gehry–designed hotel in Los Angeles, and it recently debuted a new travel company that creates bespoke experiences, from summit-chasing in Morocco to hiking in the Adirondacks, for its fitness-obsessed clientele. Which leads us to wonder: Is Equinox determined to take over the travel world? If it means rock-hard abs for everyone, we can’t say we mind at all.