Our tagline – it’s not fitness, it’s life – perfectly sums up my attraction to Equinox,” says Amanda Al-Masri. She’s recently taken up the role of vice president of spa services at Equinox, and she’s eager to reaffirm that the luxury fitness operator is not solely a gym provider, but a leader in the high-performance lifestyle space.
“Spa is front and centre in the club’s offerings, rather than simply an amenity or a place to be pampered, as is so often the case in day spas or hotel spas,” says Al-Masri.
This statement may come as a surprise, given Equinox’s well-established reputation as a fitness club. However, with a portfolio of 88 spas worldwide, the company, which describes its clubs as “temples of wellbeing”, is clearly serious about bringing wellness and fitness together to build the ultimate health, body and mind experience.
Equinox now plans to take its concept a step further by opening the first Equinox Hotel in 2018. Based in New York, the building will feature a one-of-a-kind 60,000sq ft (5,400sq m) gym and a “major spa” – a revelation that makes spa and hotel veteran Al-Masri a huge asset to the health club operator.
The spa industry veteran brings years of experience in spa operations to Equinox. Prior to joining the high-end operator in January 2017, Al-Masri was the global director of spa operations and development for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Before this, she spent three years as the project director of Resense Spas in Geneva, Switzerland.
When asked about joining the Equinox team, it’s clear that she thinks wellness is a vital part of the health and fitness club experience and has long been a fan of the Equinox approach.
“I love having the opportunity to create a deep and lasting impact on our members’ wellbeing through our spa services, both alone and in combination with other club services and facilities,” she says.
The integration of Equinox’s spa offering with its core fitness business is a key part of the company’s lifestyle concept. Trainers working in the gym recommend treatments to help guests recover from challenging workouts, improve performance and increase their overall levels of wellbeing.
Al-Masri explains: “One of the most powerful tools we have as a spa department is the ability to collaborate with our peers in personal training, group fitness and pilates. Working together allows us to provide an outcome that’s much more powerful than the sum of its parts.”
The road to Equinox
Al-Masri began her career in New York City, where she worked as a marketer for the well-known luxury fashion brand Hermès. It was a world away from the industry she now finds herself in, but it set in motion the strong career in brand development and project management that she has since created.
With a foreign languages background – her Bachelor degree was in French – it’s unsurprising that Al-Masri’s ambitions have taken her across Europe, from France to Switzerland and Slovakia.
Now at Equinox, Al-Masri finds herself on a new journey: helping a brand that has already set the bar for high-end health clubs worldwide turn its hand to fusing wellbeing with travel.
“The goal here is to create the sense of community, personalisation and style we’re already known for in our clubs, re-envisioned in a new, luxury-driven environment,” she says.
“We are looking to raise the bar on what a hotel experience should feel like, and evolve the idea of travel as something that can always fit seamlessly into a healthy lifestyle.”