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The challenge for Christopher Norton’s newest venture—this new luxury hotel at New York’s shiny Hudson Yards, where modern bedrooms start at $700 a night—was maintaining the fitness giant’s energy and personality without asking guests to put on rose-colored glasses.
In recent years, many hotels have been clamoring for a piece of the $4 trillion wellness industry, though some efforts read as gimmicky rather than organic. From these flaws, Equinox discovered a niche that was underserviced: a hybrid of lifestyle and luxury hotel that would enable guests to seamlessly continue their fast-paced, active routines, no matter how far from home.
“The lifestyle guys have better programs, but they don’t deliver the high-end service experience. And the luxury guys deliver the service, but they’re a bit boring and they don’t activate their spaces,” Norton says. “We find a balance between luxury and lifestyle.”
To straddle that line, Norton says, staying true to the 25-year old brand’s ethos guides the way. The team called on the interior design firm Rockwell Group to glam out the space, adding rich finishes and sex appeal to the 212-room hotel and Electric Lemon—the Stephen Starr restaurant now open to the public. A few floors below, Joyce Wang designed the over-the-top Equinox fitness club and spa by Equinox luxury hotel. “Movement is something we really wanted to play with in the design,” says Greg Keffer, a partner and studio leader at Rockwell. “It’s active and visual, and that’s what Equinox as a lifestyle is.”
But in true Hudson Yards fashion, the hotel has some showstopping features that will even impress those who have seen it all. Think a next-level cryotherapy chamber in the spa, a monumental Jaume Plensa sculpture perched on the terrace’s infinity-edge water feature, and angular Zaha Hadid sofas in the sky lobby.
“This is a social space,” says Keffer of the hotel’s bar. Low tables and chairs, seated atop custom painterly rugs, create a relaxed atmosphere primed for both people-watching and private conversation. Mirrored cabinets are rotated depending on the time of day—they flip to reveal libations once it’s happy hour. “So you don’t have to flirt with a vodka bottle while you’re having your almond latte in the morning,” Norton says. The walls and bar are clad in slabs of polished stone that nod to the theme of movement.
Norton and Keffer refer to all bedrooms as sci-fi-sounding “sleep chambers.” – each room has a “dark, quiet, cool” feature on its bedside iPad that, with the push of a button, draws blackout shades and cools the room to an optimal sleep temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Upholstered headboards, padded walls, and a plush rug give the room a silence rarely found in Manhattan. And the smart layout, which separates sleep chamber from the dressing area, ensures each room feels larger.
The luxury hotel‘s presidential modern suite encapsulates design sex appeal. Floor-to-ceiling stone walls in the bath, dark finishes and a statement bathtub make the bath a seamless part of the space. Add unobstructed river views, a curving sofa, and one of the hotel’s signature mattresses and guests may never check out.
A well-appointed terrace serves as a respite during the day and transforms into a modern bar at night. Luxury furniture surrounds a zero-edge reflecting pool topped with a massive Jaume Plensa artwork. “The fire with the water is magic,” says Norton.
With the Vessel just to the south, the outdoor pool is a premier spot for an aerial view of Hudson Yards’s happenings. Private cabanas featuring mini-fridges offer space for groups to spread out; while chaise longues are free for all. And after a session with your personal trainer, what better place to show off?
What do you think about this luxury hotel?
Photo: Collin Hughes
Source: Architectural Digest