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Where are the Best Luxury Fitness Pop-ups this Holiday?

It’s almost vacation season, and staying fit while you’re away on holiday is a top priority for many. Who wants to come home from vacation feeling sluggish and unhealthy? So what do you do if your favorite workout is spinning, and you’re headed out of town? More and more, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The most beloved spinning studios and other popular boutique fitness classes are popping up in popular winter vacation spots around the world. Sand or snow, you’re more likely than ever to find your studio following you on your holiday adventures. SoulCycle started this trend, and others are beginning to follow. Here’s what you can expect to find this holiday season in the most luxurious vacation destinations.

SoulCycle. Destination SOUL is SoulCycle’s program of pop-ups in popular luxury vacation spots. There are already 74 SoulCycle locations in the US, so pop-ups aren’t necessary in every high-end destination. However, in the uber-chic places where the brand is not already present, under its new owner, Equinox, SoulCycle is increasingly demonstrating its willingness to show up wherever it’s needed.

The idea for a fitness pop-up came from the retail phenomenon that started a few years ago. In fitness, SoulCycle first adopted the trend when it partnered with Target to offer pop-up cycling classes in 10 cities over four different weekends in January and February 2016. The classes were free, and the two companies also launched a line of apparel featuring the Target and SoulCycle logos. That pilot test worked well enough that there have been several iterations since then:

  • On the second day of August this year, SoulCycle sent out an email with the headline “Heading to the Vineyard this month? We’ll meet you there.” For the first time ever, Destination SOUL-Martha’s Vineyard occupied a space in tiny Edgartown for nearly the entire month. Eleven instructors were listed as part of the group making the trip, and there was custom “MVYD” merchandise available only at the pop-up studio. Former First Lady Michelle Obama was spotted there several times.
  • Last December, SoulCycle popped up in Aspen for 12 days. Stephen Colbert wrote about his experience at the studio on East Cooper Avenue. That pop-up had 50 bikes, and also sold limited-edition gear, including puffer vests and hats with a site-specific logo. The winter-chic pop-up will return this year, opening on December 21, once again in Boogie’s Building.
  • New for the holiday season this year, SoulCycle has announced its first-ever pop-up studio in Palm Beach at the Royal Poinciana Shopping Plaza for 18 days, starting December 15. There are three permanent SoulCycle locations in Miami –South Beach, Coral Gables and Brickell — this will be the brand’s first presence in Palm Beach County. It, too, will have limited edition merchandise on sale.

A handful of other fitness studios have followed SoulCycle into the pop-up game:

  • Todd Snyder has opened a City Gym pop-up in Manhattan this holiday season at 108 Fifth Avenue with exclusive collaborations like Todd Snyder x Champion jogger sweatpants for $118, and a Todd Snyder x New Era pin-stripe wool Yankees cap for $78.
  • The Hamptons are ground zero for these kinds of pop-ups over the summer. In addition to SoulCycle, for several years top studios like Barry’s Bootcamp and Tracy Anderson have opened pop-ups on the East End from July until Labor Day (newcomers this past summer included Gotham Gym and New York Pilates).
  • Lululemon joined in the fun this summer with a concept called The Residency, which for 2 weeks (July 17-30) turned a home in East Hampton into a headquarters of health and fitness. The space was the Hamptons version of Hub Seventeen, Lululemon’s wellness and community-focused space in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. The buzzy workout The Class by Taryn Toomey was conducted on the lawn, and there was also paddle-boarding, pool parties, panel discussions, and dinners prepared by local chefs. (The Class by Taryn Toomey also had a pop-up in Nantucket this summer).
  • B/SPOKEthe haute cycling studio founded by a former investment banker, has locations in Boston’s Financial District and in the tony suburb of Wellesley. The brand hosted pop-ups on Cape Cod and in Newport, Rhode Island this summer.
  • Rittenhouse’s Body Cycle Studio did a summer “beach pop-up” on the shore in Margate, New Jersey; the studio emphasized that it would be bringing its full sound system along, so the classes had the same amped-up beat as their city studio.

The next wave of innovation in the boutique fitness sector seems to be that rather than doing a pop-up in a vacation destination, the fitness studio is the vacation:

  • CorePower Yoga is launching its own wellness vacation program, Perspective in Paradise. The brand promises that guests will “enjoy the intensely physical and mentally calming yoga classes you love back home with hands-on instruction and concentrated attention from our most experienced CPY yoga instructors. Our yoga retreats provide a chance to get away from the obligations and distractions of daily life and delve deeper into your yoga practice. Kick back by the pool, sharpen your yoga skills and connect with like-minded yogis. It’s the perfect tropical getaway.”
  • The Class by Taryn Toomey hosts “Retreatment Weekends” at which devotees of the workout can fully immerse themselves in it for a three-day period (Jennifer Aniston is reportedly a fan).

After all, who needs a pop-up in a vacation destination when you can just make your fitness studio the entire focus of your vacation? For the right workout and the right location, we’re totally in.

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