It is clearly the coming-of-age season for co-working spaces, private business clubs and specialized health clubs. We are seeing grown-up options in all three categories, ranging from elegant and glamorous, to minimalist and highly niche.
The WELL, just opened in Flatiron in New York, is definitely not a co-working space or a business club. Instead, it is most decidedly an example of the new wave of grown-up membership-based private health clubs. Very specific. Very niche. And very chic.
If you took the old English men’s club with its leather chairs, dark wood paneling and cigar smoke and created a club that in many ways serves the same purpose as those men’s clubs but is their polar opposite, you’d come up with The WELL.
We imagine founders Rebecca Parekh (Former COO for Deepak Chopra and a Deutche Bank executive), Sarrah Hallock (Former Marketing Executive at Vitamin Water, Bai and WTRMLN Water) and Kane Sarhan (former Head of Brand for Starwood Capital Group and 1 Hotels) thinking in those terms.
But in reality they simply created a health and wellness club that they themselves wanted and the result is the 18,000 square-foot (1,672 sq. metres) club that claims to offer “the best in-class, integrated and highly personalized plans for each of its members.”
This is a club focusing on wellness, combining “the science of Western medicine and wisdom of Eastern healing.” There are specialists in all modalities of medicine, from functional to Ayurveda, sports medicine to Chinese medicine.
In fact, Parekh had been looking for this type of club in her own life as early as 2009. She was, like so many others, trying to balance a hectic career with the rest of her life and finding, just like so many others, the different health and wellness-related PR and information both conflicting and thoroughly confusing.
A destination spa in Sedona, Arizona inspired her to imagine an urban version of a destination spa, where you can leave your stresses, aches and pains in the hands of specialists who have taken the time to understand your specific needs and preferences.
The other two founders had had similar experiences and together, the team of three with truly impressive business backgrounds decided to bring the holistic spa experience to the super-hectic New York professionals.
The design of the predominantly white spa is by the Miami, Florida-based Rose Ink Workshop. Curves, natural wood and soft hues create an airy and luxurious environment that manages to feel completely un-clinical with lavender being a more likely scent than disinfectant.
In addition to the actual spa and its many different treatment and wellness facilities, the concept includes classes, training, a library and a retail shop.
A restaurant, THE WELL Kitchen & Table, will also open in the complex in October. Not surprisingly, it will focus on seasonal, local and organic offerings, from the team behind Cafe Clover and Clover Grocery. Also not surprisingly, the ambition of the financially well-backed The WELL team is to extend the urban brand into a global player in the otherwise already crowded wellness retreat space. Tuija Seipell.