Fitness Goes Luxe in Hell’s Kitchen
In Hell’s Kitchen it is easy to work up a sweat in style. The neighborhood is home to four fitness clubs whose state-of-the-art equipment, spectacular surroundings, and luxe amenities will encourage even exercise-phobes to get off the couch and into the gym.
605 West 42nd Street (at 11th Avenue)
This 70,000-square-foot multilevel facility bills itself as “New York’s most luxurious health club.” Doubtless some of its competitors would disagree, but Life Time Athletic is definitely among the most deluxe gyms. Its two rooftop pools, surrounded by chaises for after-swim sunning, are the splashiest features (literally and figuratively), followed closely by the 50-foot-long three-lane indoor lap pool. There is also a full-size basketball court designed by former New York Knick Carmelo Anthony, where serious players can participate in the Ultimate Hoops recreational league. Along with yoga, Pilates, and cycling studios, there are of course spaces equipped with a gamut of machines and weights. Classes range from intense (Cardio Kickboxing, No Limits Circuit, Gluteus MAXout ) to low-key (these include yoga nidra, a type of guided meditation, and Melt, which uses specially designed balls and a soft roller to help mitigate pain). After your workout, you can relax in the sauna, the steam room, or the “water club,” which includes a Turkish-style hammam and a cold plunge pool, or treat yourself to a massage at the spa or a salad at the café.
482 West 43rd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
MPHC has numerous notable features, but its colorful 5,000-square-foot rock-climbing gym is probably its most renowned. You can climb on your own—the gym changes the positions of the grips weekly so that regulars can challenge themselves with different routes—as well as take private classes or participate in clinics. Another standout amenity is the 75-foot pool, located in an atrium with a glass ceiling that is retracted on warm, sunny days so that you can swim alfresco. Afterward you can lounge poolside or, in the summer, on the outdoor sundeck. As well as open swims, the pool is used for aquatic classes, swimming and scuba instruction, and MHPC’s swim team. The cardio mezzanine is equipped with machines ranging from stair climbers to cross-trainers, while classes include Pilates, yoga, jazz dancing, cycling, and TRX. Members can also take advantage of the five indoor tennis courts at Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club, in the same building, for just the cost of the court fees. MPHC massage therapists offer eight types of massage, including myofascial release and trigger-point therapy, and the club boasts two whirlpools, a steam room, and a sauna for post-workout pampering.
550 West 54th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Mercedes Club was originally available exclusively to residents of Mercedes House, the sparkling steel-and-glass high-rise in which it is located. Now, however, even nonresidents can become members and take advantage of its indoor lap pool, outdoor swimming pool, and sundeck. In addition to the cardio and strength-training equipment of the fitness floor, which spans more than 10,000 square feet, the gym has boxing, spin, yoga, and movement studios and an indoor basketball court. Classes, which range from Yoga Fundamentals and Boxing Basics to Power Sculpt and Intense Metcon, cater to just about every level of fitness. Mercedes Club is as much about relaxation as it is about fitness: Along with an airy lounge complete with a fireplace and a flat-screen TV, there are ping-pong and pool tables, and in summer the club shows movies on its terrace, where you can play bocce as well. Like any other luxury gym worthy of the name, Mercedes Club has a sauna, a Jacuzzi, and (eucalyptus-infused) steam rooms, and it also has a spa that offers massages, facials, and waxing.
355 West 49th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
David Barton has long been a doyen of the New York gym scene, and his latest venture, TMPL, adds to his well-deserved reputation. Dramatic lighting gives the facility less of a utilitarian and more of a nightclub vibe, while smart cardio machines (which work with the gym’s app to tailor workouts to your specific abilities and requirements), 3-D body scans to help gauge your metabolic level and further personalize your fitness program, and a virtual-reality spin studio emphasize the gym’s high-tech sensibility. Aquatic classes such as Holy Water and S’Wet make use of the gym’s 25-meter pool, filled with saltwater rather than chlorinated water to be gentler on skin and eyes. Other classes held in the nearly 40,000-square-foot facility include Barre Sculpt, yoga, strength training, and Box the Beat, in which boxing combinations are practiced to music. In addition there are nearly 20,000 pounds of free weights available and a room with equipment exclusively for lower-body workouts.