WITH SUN-DRENCHED DAYS AND GLITTERATI-FILLED NIGHTS, Los Angeles has the tendency to come across as picture perfect. While it may seem that all of L.A. is a stage, and bronzed blonde beauties with svelte physiques are mere players, it's important for the average person to remember that looking good takes time and dedication. Forget the silver screen; Equinox Fitness Clubs are where the true magic happens.
Both Equinox's West Hollywood club and Century City location (opposite) invite guests to indulge in first-class spa services and cutting-edge fitness offerings.
With 41 outposts around the U.S., Equinox has brought its fully integrated approach to healthy living to the star-strewn streets of Los Angeles with the opening of two locations—one in Century City and the other in West Hollywood. The word "equinox" connotates balance and refers specifically to the moment the sun crosses the equator, causing day and night to be equal lengths all over the world. "We embrace this philosophy of balance to create complete wellness through the fusion of fitness and spa," says national spa director Melanie Edwards. "You really can't have one without the other." According to Edwards, this comprehensive approach helps Equinox guests achieve their precise goals and inspire immediate and long-lasting results. "Our vision is to fully integrate and expand our core fitness philosophy with results-oriented spa therapies to leverage a member's health, well-being, and lifestyle experience, bringing wellness to a new level."
The Century City location.
Operating under the mantra, "It's not fitness; it's life," all Equinox locations foster a positive, sophisticated, and results-driven environment for guests. While innovative classes—such as INKA, a cardio session inspired by South American training methods practiced around the Andes, or Budokon, which brings together martial arts, yoga, and meditation—are a major draw, the clubs also allow guests to experience topnotch trainers and experiment with cutting-edge equipment. With a retail selection rivaling the most upscale fitness boutiques, The Shop gives guests even more opportunities to look good by offering the latest gear on the scene, such as Stella McCartney, James Perse, Splendid, and Vancouver-based lululemon athletica.
The sleek design of the West Hollywood club, as reflected in its reception desk and locker rooms (pictured at right), caters to its hip and trendy clientele.
Although membership does have its privileges (i.e. a 10 percent discount off of spa treatments), non-members, who make up 20 percent of spa-goers, are also invited to enjoy what Equinox has to offer. "A guest can utilize the fitness facility, group fitness classes, steam, and sauna for the cost of a single spa service," says West Hollywood's spa manager Vance Soto. "This allows guests to participate in a full day at Equinox, customized for their enjoyment."
While every Equinox offers spa services, there are some stars in the bunch. Featuring eight treatment rooms, the 6,000-square-foot Spa at Equinox West Hollywood, which opened in July, is located in a very hip and trendy part of town. "The West Hollywood guest is someone who enjoys what's new," says Soto. "They want whatever is hot at the time, and appearances are everything." Awash in baby blue, yellow, and white, the spot's posh outdoor terrace, with views of the L.A. skyline, is certainly a place to see and be seen. "The atmosphere defines all the senses necessary to induce a state of unsurpassed relaxation," he says.
Century City spa-goers can enjoy tranquil moments in the elegant treatment rooms or poolside (pictured at right)
Catering to its trendy guests, the West Hollywood spa is the only Equinox that offers a hammam. According to Edwards, the elite group of spa-goers who frequent the spa truly enjoy the experience of this Mediterranean bathing ritual. "In ancient times, the hammam served as a social center to a community; a place for gathering and personal cleansing," says Edwards. "In modern times we can draw comparisons between it and our fully integrated fitness center—a place to rediscover your health and well-being in a setting with like-minded people."
Guests who would like to smooth their skin and invigorate their circulation with this classic method can try the self-guided Hammam Self-Indulgence ($35, 30 minutes). For those who opt for therapist-guided services, the Hammam Body Renewal ($120, 50 minutes) incorporates a warm marine herbal wrap to the experience, and the Hammam Detox ($120, 50 minutes) features a mud mask for the face and body.
The spa lounge at West Hollywood features a modern and minimalist decor.
In addition to traditional treatments such as Deep Pressure Massage ($120, 50 minutes; $175, 80 minutes) and Sports Massage ($120, 50 minutes; $175, 80 minutes), the spa offers a host of popular signature services. The most requested massage is the Equinox Solstice Massage ($115, 50 minutes; $170, 80 minutes), in which the therapist uses a custom-blend of aromatherapy oils to melt stress away by enhancing a combination of long strokes, gentle stretches, and reflexology.
Beyond kneading knots, the spa offers the ever-popular BuffManicure ($33, 25 minutes) and BuffPedicure ($70, 55 minutes). Featuring a three-step exfoliation, these treatments were added to the roster last year after Equinox acquired BuffSpa, a nailcare spa from New York City-based retail mecca Bergdorf Goodman. Currently, three Equinox spas have introduced BuffSpa services, and more are on the horizon.
Century City guests can kick back in the whirlpool area, which features the property's signature mosaic tiles.
In addition to BuffSpa, Equinox welcomed another important addition to its portfolio last year when it opened a location in Century City, known as L.A.'s second downtown because of its position as a thriving business center. According to Edwards, Equinox Fitness Club + Spa, a limited membership club, caters to studio execs, celebrities, and high-profile socialites in the area who want a private and tranquil environment. Perks that accompany the annual fee—starting at $3,650—include access to all Equinox Fitness Clubs, valet parking, daily laundry service, and a member-to-staff ratio of 6-to-1.
In comparison with other Equinoxes, the Century City location shares the luxurious aesthetic but has a decidedly intimate feel that sets it apart. Boasting 20 treatment rooms, the spa plays leading lady at this club, which Edwards describes as "spa-infused," featuring a soothing palette of creams, blues, and greens to nurture a peaceful environment. The number of treatment rooms, as well as three outdoor relaxation cabanas flanking the club's Resort Pool, provide plenty of space for unwinding, allowing the spa to maintain an air of exclusivity as it caters to as many as 240 guests per day.
Between the elite ambience and the number of spa packages available, it's easy for people to spend entire days at a time at the club. Head-to-toe offerings provide the perfect pampering escape for the spa's notoriously busy clientele. A few popular picks include the Absolute Supreme Luxury ($550, 5 hours), which includes The Ultra-Luxe Diamond Experience facial, a Solstice Spa Ritual body treatment, and the Glamicure BuffManicure and BuffPedicure, as well as the Back-to-Balance ($350, 3 hours 30 minutes), which includes a Celestial Sugar Glow body scrub, the aromatherapy Equinox Solstice Massage, an Age-Defying Facial, and a BuffPedicure.
Customization is key in Century City, and this is evident literally from the moment clients walk through the door as members are verified via fingerprint check-in. Not only can guests transform their physiques through stringent individual training programs, but they can also revamp their skincare regimens with detailed photo consultations. The In-Depth UV Skin Analysis ($70, 25 minutes) uses infrared technology to view sun and pollutant damage before it's visible to the naked eye, allowing estheticians to create a reparative and preventative program for guests. Guests can also choose from a series of add-ons to complement their facials, such as Dual Hydrafacial Resurfacing ($90, 30 minutes), which offers crystal-free, diamond microdermabrasion, or Light Therapy Treatment ($70, 30 minutes), which calms irritation and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles with LED therapy.
Accompanying the state-of-the-art facial treatments, the menu also offers cutting-edge body services. The Advanced Total Body Resurfacing ($395, 110 minutes) is an anti-aging option that visibly reduces fine lines, wrinkles, damaged skin, and superficial spots with the application of specialized serums from head to toe. Popular with both men and women, the Bodymelt ($210, 80 minutes) features a blend of faradic and galvanic stimulation, known as Ionithermie, to provide immediate inch loss and enhance muscle- and skintone.
It is results from treatments such as these, coupled with high standards of service, that have created the brand's loyal clientele. Whether an A-lister or a non-lister walks through the door, the winning Equinox formula remains the same: a seamless balance among mind, body, and spirit. Providing a setting where clients can attain this goal seems to be working, and the result is a growing number of properties in the Equinox portfolio. In addition to clubs opening in New York City and in the Washington, D.C.-area, Equinox has two more Southern California properties slated to open this year. This high demand proves that Equinox truly has star quality.