I worked out at every Equinox in New York City to see if the luxury gym lived up to the hype
- Equinox Fitness has established itself as the go-to luxury fitness location in major US cities and around the world.
- There are 34 Equinox locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and I worked out at all of them to see if their airtight brand identity lived up to its reputation.
- I found that most of the gyms, even at the base level, provide an elevated experience compared with other brands, but there were definitely some that are not worth the price alone.
- My favorite gym was the Sports Club, which is part of Equinox's middle-tier membership.
- Equinox's top-tier locations provided a superb experience, but the $500 per month price tag with a $750 initiation fee doesn't seem worth it unless you have excessive amounts of cash and can afford personal training every week of the year.
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In New York City, going to Equinox, a high-end gym chain, is an undeniable signal of status. They have expertly crafted a brand that truly evokes luxury, sex, and wellness even when brought up in casual conversation.
The gyms are notoriously expensive - Equinox's top membership costs $500 per month with a $750 initiation fee - and it's not uncommon to hear people quip that they can't afford it.For a long time, that reputation kept me away, but in February, with my local Williamsburg gym membership feeling a bit ragged, I decided to dip my toe into Equinox's waters.
What I discovered was a vast network of gyms at various price points with different amenities, aesthetics, and services.
Paying for a single gym can cost anywhere between $185 and $220 per month, typically with a $300 initiation fee, varying by gym and offers available. An "All Access" membership costs $260 per month plus a $500 initiation fee and gives you a membership at all 29 regular locations in New York City and clubs nationally, but doesn't allow access to premium "E" clubs, Sports Clubs, or other special locations. A destination membership allows you access to all clubs except for E clubs and costs $300 per month on top of a $500 initiation fee. And an E membership gives you access to all clubs, costing $500 per month on top of a $750 initiation fee.
During the enrollment process, the scope of options left me a bit baffled - How was I supposed to choose to have access to a set of gyms that I've never been to?
So, I decided to embark on a nearly two-month journey exploring all of Equinox's offerings in New York City. I worked out at all 34 Equinox locations in the city (not counting Long Island or Westchester).
Here's an overall guide to Equinox memberships in New York, what every location is like, and my personal rating of every gym out of 10.