If you live in New York, Los Angeles, Miami or San Francisco (or London, Toronto and Vancouver) and you go to the gym, there is a decent chance you are working out with Equinox. The international wellness giant operates 94 full-service health clubs, and since its founding nearly 30 years ago, has become one of the best-known names in fitness. In recent years the company has acquired other big name like Soul Cycle and Pure Yoga.
Now Equinox is taking its workouts on the road, with the launch of Equinox Hotels and Equinox travel experiences, both in spring of 2019. Equinox Hotels launches in New York with a property at the Hudson Yards development, and will incorporate the company’s’ largest ever gym, some 60,00 square feet. Chicago is rumored to be the next city on its list.
But for now I am more interested in the travel arm, since it will serve many more destinations than just a couple of big cities. The first trip, scheduled for April is a hiking adventure in Morocco.
Equinox Executive Chairman Harvey Spevak explained via release that “Equinox is already recognized globally for transforming the lives of our members with immersive experiences within the four walls of our clubs, so our move into travel is a natural – and almost inevitable -extension of our unmatched lifestyle proposition. Equinox single-handedly invented the concept of fitness-as-lifestyle nearly 30 years ago, and now we are expanding our purview to include active, covetable experiences that empower our discerning members to connect with the world -and themselves.”
One really good sign is that they hired Leah Howe, formerly of Toronto-based Butterfield Robinson, to oversee the travel arm. BR is widely recognized as one of the world’s best luxury active travel companies, has won endless awards and acclaim, and I have traveled with them three times on high-end cycling trips throughout the world and can testify to their excellence. Howe has almost two decades of experience curating off-the-beaten path experiences that combine exercise and luxury.
The Equinox brand philosophy states that, “It’s Not Fitness. It’s Life,” and life – at least the life well-lived – includes vacations. These new fitness/travel experiences promise to visit wonderful destinations and undiscovered places, all with fitness and lifestyle programming integral to the trips. Offerings will range from physically intense adventures such as a journey to Ethiopia to explore the birth of the nation’s elite running culture to regenerative mindfulness excursions in places like India. Each itinerary will be led by some of Equinox’s top talent, and include harmonized meals, premium transportation, and tailored fitness programming. An example of these features the company gives is a multi-day itinerary that might include a personalized training session with a champion athlete, exploration of seasonal local cooking with a foraging experience by a renowned chef, and mountaintop sunrise meditation.
Active and fitness travel is something I have covered here regularly because these are the kinds of vacations that enrich both body and mind. It is always good to see experienced players entering the field and Equinox’s travel arm should deliver.