I Stayed at The Equinox Hotel and Didn’t Exercise Once
I’ve never understood people who stick around the gym after their workout to chat with the trainers or grab a drink at the juice bar. Such is my aversion to the crowded, windowless boxes that are most New York City fitness clubs (even the bougie ones) that I usually duck out before even doing a proper cool down.
Staying at the Equinox Hotel
Because of this, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to overnight at Equinox's first hotel, a glorified temple of fitness if I've ever seen one. Located in New York’s $25 billion Hudson Yards neighborhood, the months-old property is arguably the ultimate realization of the brand’s tagline, “It’s not fitness, it’s life.” There's a 60,000-square-foot gym, an enormous spa with cryotherapy chambers, and an indoor saltwater lap pool. There's even an expansive sun deck with an outdoor pool and dead-on views of the Vessel, the large public artwork anchoring Hudson Yards. (One of the hotel’s most unique fitness offerings is the Vessel Run, a guided cardio class that involves walking and running up the structure’s 154 interlinked flights of stairs.)
Curious to see if the sleek, Rockwell Group-designed spaces and luxe amenities could win me over, I checked in for a one-night stay this past summer. What followed was the most restful staycation I’ve ever had — and a sleep so deep that I’m still dreaming about it.
The actual gym — Equinox’s 100th location — is the hotel’s crowning glory. But because it occupies the fourth and fifth floors, far from the bustle of the 25th-floor lobby, you thankfully don’t need to pass by it every time you, say, overindulge at the restaurant or come back indoors after vegging on the sun deck. Admittedly, I didn’t break a sweat once during my stay; the classes, equipment, and facilities didn’t seem all that different from what’s offered at Equinox’s other clubs. What did sell me on the hotel was the feeling of refuge that pervades the space — a hard thing to come by in a city as frenetic as New York.
The sense of escape largely has to do with the hotel’s perch in a futuristic-looking skyscraper that towers over Hudson Yards. From the window in my room on the 39th floor, I had unobstructed views of the Hudson River and downtown Manhattan. But there are lots of little things, too, that set the tone for health and wellness. The minibar, for example, is stocked with health products ranging from natural deodorants and magnesium sleep supplements to a CBD pain-relieving gel pen. There’s also Rhone workout gear for purchase along with yoga blocks and a foam roller. If you want a vitamin-infused IV drip post-workout, a nurse can come and administer it in the privacy of your room.
At Stephen Starr’s Electric Lemon restaurant, my friend and I polished off a healthy yet delicious spread of chickpea pasta with blistered shishito peppers and sungold tomatoes, duck dumplings garnished with turnips and lemon verbena-scented apples, and the Chocolate Moon Rock dessert, a lunar-looking mound of black sesame crunch, honeycomb, and goat’s milk ice cream. Exiting the restaurant, I passed the adjoining lounge, a dramatic, blonde-wood space accented with mirrored chairs, a black marble bar, and low-slung leather sofas. The place was bumping: hip twenty- and thirty-somethings filled the room, sipping cocktails and taking in the views. Had this place really only opened weeks before? And wasn’t Hudson Yards supposed to be the antithesis of cool?
Back in my room, I collapsed onto the bed, a spring-free mattress improbably composed of coconut fiber. I swaddled myself in one of the two duvets (for temperature regulation) and hit the “lights off” button next to my bed, causing the blackout shades to descend and the temperature to dip to a sleep-optimized 66 degrees. In that cold, dark box inside the Equinox Hotel, I had one of the best sleeps of my life.