If you prefer a gym that makes working out feel less like a chore and more like a treat, you are in luck: Many of the Flatiron District’s fitness centers offer spa services, gorgeously decorated settings, pampering amenities, and even rooftop lounges where you can dine alfresco. Such features will have you making excuses to squeeze in another workout rather than to avoid one.
25 West 14th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
You will feel pampered as soon as you enter this club and spy the serene fireside lounge, a haven of sleek lines and white and gray furnishings. On the other side of the lounge is the gym, with myriad machines and weights set amid the same sophisticated palette; freestanding mirrors not only allow you to monitor your form as you work out but also reflect the sunlight pouring in through the wall of picture windows. There is an equally sunny Pilates studio, plus a rooftop sundeck, complete with chairs, chaises, and tables with sun umbrellas, that doubles as an alfresco studio space. In addition to Pilates, classes include several types of yoga, cycling, boxing set within a high-intensity interval training framework, Body Barre (dance meets yoga meets isometrics), and Cardio Sculpt. And then there are the spa services. Among the massage options are shiatsu, Thai, and East Meets West, which incorporates aromatherapy and hot steam towels into a full-body massage. The facial menu is equally diverse, with ultrasonic, anti-aging, and Men’s Performance among the choices. Peels, scrubs, and waxing are available as well. And after your workout or spa session, you can fortify yourself with a tasty—and of course healthy—bite at the Clay Café.
Flatiron – 897 Broadway (between 19th and 20th Streets)
Gramercy – 315 Park Avenue South (between 23rd and 24th Streets)
Located just a few blocks from each other, both of these Equinox gyms allow you to work out in urban-chic surroundings, and both offer Kiehl’s toiletries in the locker rooms and complimentary WiFi throughout. Both also include personal training, separate yoga and cycling studios (the latter enable you to sync your bike stats to your online account so that you can monitor your progress over time), and spas where you can indulge in a wide variety of massages, facials, and other treatments, many of which use Caudalie all-natural products from France. The class offering at Equinox Flatiron (on Broadway) is somewhat more expansive than that of Equinox Gramercy (on Park Avenue South); though both offer Pilates, Precision Running, barre, and numerous cycling, athletic training, and yoga options, Flatiron also features classes such as Cardio Dance Club, Absession, kickboxing, and dance-based Inner Strength, along with a boxing studio. The Gramercy facility does include a café and juice bar, however, where you can treat yourself to a well-deserved smoothie.
Flatiron – 19 West 21st Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
Gramercy – 420 Park Avenue South (between 28th and 29th Streets)
Like Equinox, Exhale has two studios within strolling distance of each other. Both facilities are decorated in relaxed yet refined fashion—wide-planked floors, chic lighting—which adds to the self-indulgent ambiance of the yoga, barre, and cardio classes. The Gramercy facility, located in the Royalton Park Hotel on Park Avenue South, includes a spa where you can pamper yourself with personalized facials, deep-tissue and reflexology massages, body scrubs, and waxing.
656 Sixth Avenue (between 20th and 21st Streets)
This is the ideal gym for those who consider their body a temple: It is located in a former church and retains much of the church’s original features. When you are not running on the treadmill while admiring the sunlight streaming through stained-glass windows, you can pump iron amid Gothic arches. Spread out among three floors and 20,000 square feet, Limelight Fitness offers a variety of classes: yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre, Zumba, and some with fanciful names such as Battlerope Galactica and Beast Boxing Circuit. On occasion live DJs will provide the soundtrack to classes. Spa services, including massages and cryotherapy, are available as well.
24 West 25th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
First-class treadmills, kettle-bells for additional training, and foam rollers for use after a session are not what make Mile High luxurious, though the studio certainly makes the most of them. What does is its recovery room, where after your workout you can encase your legs in high-tech compression sleeves that knead your muscles and are intended to boost circulation and promote healing. The Red Flower botanical toiletries in the locker rooms are an additional dash of cosseting.
New York Health & Racquet Club
Amenities at New York Health & Racquet’s 21st Street facility include massage services, a sauna, and a 45-foot-long saltwater pool; being able to look out across the street at Calvary Church, designed by the same architect responsible for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as you work the treadmill is another bonus. The 23rd Street gym is even more deluxe. In addition to a 50-foot saltwater pool, in boasts a wet area with a whirlpool and separate sauna and steam rooms for men and women. It offers a boxing/kickboxing area, an outdoor sun deck, and even babysitting and laundry services as well. Of course, both facilities also provide a full gamut of machines, weights, and classes that range from yoga to Dance HIIT, strength training to Athletic Abs.