The Most Exclusive Gyms In North America


Have you ever wondered how the one per cent breaks a sweat? These gyms represent the cream of the crop, with amenities like retinal scanners, regulation-sized NBA courts and some of the best personal trainers in the world on staff. Of course, memberships don’t come cheap. Herein, we break down some of the most exclusive fitness facilities to exist.


E at Equinox

With two days a week of personal training and all the other bells and whistles, you’re looking at around $25,0000 a year to get into this New York club. If you’re only planning to show up on the weekends, however, the minimum fees are $500 monthly after a less modest $5,000 initiation for access to all Equinox clubs across the nation. You get a retinal scanner that keeps out the rabble, freshly-laundered Equinox workout apparel and private showers with cabanas for the shyer gym-goers among us.
The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Philly’s Bellevue Hotel has a fitness facility measuring in at a truly massive 93,000 square feet of goodness, it even houses a professional-sized NBA basketball court. The Sporting Club costs $550 up front, and another $174 a month after that.

The Houstonian Club
Located in its eponymous city of Houston, Texas, “The Club,” as it is known to members, is invite-only. Once you score a nod, expect to drop roughly $24,000 for an initiation fee, followed by $200 a month after that. The Houstonian Hotel’s workout facility spraws 125,000 square feet and includes over 300 pieces of equipment. Even more impressive are the rock climbing wall, three pools, eight tennis courts and a full basketball court.


The Madison Square Club
Fitness guru David Kirsch only allows six gym-goers of a total 500-person membership into his gym—a sparse room filled with a few machines and a Persian rug—at any given time. The aim is to provide a serene, intimate setting to work out with Kirsch available for one-on-one time. For the privilege of membership, the Madison Square Club costs roughly $25,000 for initiation, followed by $125 in monthly dues.


The Detroit Athletic Club
The Detroit Athletic Club used to charge members a $5,000 initiation fee before asking for up to $400 monthly depending on the membership type. Today, the monthly fees remain the same, but the up-front cost has been lowered to $2,500. It’s housed in a historic building and has country club-style amenities to match, including a fine dining restaurant and a hotel. The gym itself features a running track, basketball courts, a professional-sized swimming pool and even an eight-lane bowling alley.


The Setai Club
For only $5,000 a year, you’ll have access to New York’s Setai Club, which also encompasses a member’s-only lounge (the drinking kind, not the smoothie kind), recording studio, restaurant and spa aside from the luxurious Setai Fitness Studio. As a member, you’ll get free breakfast daily, complimentary treatments at the aforementioned spa and free training sessions at the gym.


Peak Performance
Yet another New York City gym, Peak Performance has a different approach to fitness. While they do offer regular training packages (10 will run you around $1,500 with a gold-level service), their special Peak 90 45-day fitness program runs roughly $8,350 for men. It includes personal training, assessments and nutritional guidance, and is apparently worth the price of admission.


La Palestra
The Frank Gehry-designed facilities at La Palestra embody its mission of being a private holistic wellness space. Located underground below New York’s Plaza Hotel, the upscale gym offers training in practical skills that members can put to use elsewhere and tries to emphasize personal growth. Of course, top-of-the-line machines and equipment don’t hurt. This one costs roughly $8,000-$8,800 a year.


If you’re a professional athlete, the $30,000 annual membership fee for EXOS’ (formerly Athletes’ Performance) executive training program should be fairly easy to afford—in fact, several elite NFL and NBA players call the facility home base. On site is a 60-yard football field, 25-metre lane pool, a running track and even a half-court basketball court.


East Bank Club
It may not necessarily be the priciest, but it’s definitely one of the most well-stocked exclusive gyms out there, and is more akin to a sports facility than anything. For a $500 initial fee and $170 monthly, the facilities include everything you need from free weights and a lounge area to basketball courts to kayaking instruction.


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