Equinox is moving into luxury active travel with $6,000 hiking trips to Morocco and a $2,000 running trip through Italy, and it shows the power of 'wellness tourism'
Courtesy Equinox Explore
- Equinox Explore, the adventure travel arm of luxury fitness club Equinox, opened its inaugural set of trips for booking last week.
- The four 2020 trips will visit Florence, New York's Hudson Valley, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Prices start at $2,350 per person.
- Equinox has 105 fitness clubs across the US and Canada, with memberships ranging from $150 to $500 per month.
- In 2019, Equinox expanded into hospitality and luxury travel, opening its first five-star hotel in New York's Hudson Yards in July and launching two luxury adventure trips to Morocco in May and September.
- Equinox's core focus on health and wellness capitalizes on the wellness tourism movement that's spawned a $639 billion industry.
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Equinox, the luxury gym with 105 locations across the U.S. and Canada, is expanding its fitness empire.
The brand is already known for its unlimited workout classes, benefits like Kiehl's products, cold eucalyptus towels, two-hour babysitting, and spa treatments like stone therapy massages. In July, it opened a five-star hotel featuring full access to an Equinox club in New York's Hudson Yards.
Now, it's now venturing into the world of luxury active travel. Last week, Equinox Explore opened its inaugural set of luxury adventure trips for booking in 2020.
The four trips - running in Florence (from $2,350, four days), cycling in the Hudson Valley (from $2,800, three days), hiking in Morocco (from $6,250, six days) and surfing in Costa Rica (from $3,450, six days) - feature multiple departures and are available exclusively to Equinox members and guests.
The 2020 itineraries, Equinox representative Aubrey Bohn told Business Insider, come on the heels of two launch trips to Morocco in May and September - the first for influencers and press, and the second for members and guests. The focus of the trips was summiting Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in Northern Africa.
"Going to Equinox ... is an undeniable signal of status," Business Insider's Benjamin Goggin wrote in his review of Equinox's New York City branches. "They have expertly crafted a brand that truly evokes luxury, sex, and wellness even when brought up in casual conversation."
Trips that serve as extensions of the Equinox experience
Equinox Explore trips are extensions of the Equinox experience, Leah Howe, Senior Director of Retreats and Experiences at Equinox, told Business Insider. Led by teams of Equinox instructors and local guides, they incorporate the brand's three pillars: movement, nutrition, and regeneration, she said.
Florence is the first Equinox Explore trip of 2020 and takes place in early April. Its itinerary promises "3- to 8-mile guided morning runs, led by one of our star running coaches" followed by restorative yoga sessions with local instructors and soaks in a 19th-century palazzo's outdoor plunge pool to prepare for a half marathon. Equinox also partnered with a local wine and food expert Aldo Fiordelli to create custom menus for the trip.
"The demand for fitness and high-performance living - both inside and outside our clubs - has never been greater," Howe told Business Insider.
The desire to achieve has become trendy in luxury active travel, Kathy Stewart, VP of Product for established luxury active travel company Butterfield & Robinson, told Business Insider, noting that younger generations prefer travel "with a goal."
Finding space in a booming, $639 billion industry
Equinox's core focus on improving members' health and wellness makes it a strong contender in both the hospitality and travel spaces, as travelers and hotel guests are increasingly seeking out these values.
"Wealthy travelers are ditching the beach parties and all-night clubbing and instead spending their money on wellness summits, spirituality retreats, and resorts that focus on self-care, which has turned "wellness tourism" into a $639 billion industry, according to the 2018 Global Wellness Tourism Economy study," Business Insider's Katie Warren reported in June.
Where Equinox - which, along with SoulCycle, is owned by billionaire Stephen Ross - has a leg up in entering the hospitality space is in its established member base. Harvey Spevak, executive chairman and managing partner for Equinox, told New York Times reporter Tariro Mzezewa in July that Equinox surveyed members in order to gauge interest in a brand hotel, and "an overwhelming 95 percent" responded that they would stay in one.
As a newcomer to the hotel scene, Equinox Hotels is distinguishing itself in the separation of fitness and regeneration.
"A lot of hotels are trying to go into wellness-fitness, but we're the only fitness company going into hotels at this scale," Christopher Norton, Chief Executive of Equinox Hotels, told Mzezewa. "They're putting treadmills in rooms, pull-up bars in bathrooms, but we believe that fitness happens in the club and the room is for regeneration."
Where Equinox Explore stands out, Howe says, is capitalizing on the brand's existing community of instructors and its deep knowledge base related to fitness, health, and relaxation.
"For 25-plus years, our members have counted on us to be the best part of their days, so they're already sweating with us, regenerating with us and fueling with us. Now, we're entering the active travel world guided by the notion that we are in the business of helping people maximize their potential," she said.