The 5 Swankiest Gyms in California


The Los Angeles Athletic Club: Downtown L.A.
This highly prestigious, private fitness club is the absolute epitome of beauty at its most ostentatious. The award-winning basketball court sits adjacent to a full-service bar (complete with glossy mahogany countertops); two indoor swimming pools — one designed especially for children — are surrounded by top-quality pool tables; four squash courts are decorated with museum-grade art; and finally, waiting areas feature classically luxurious leather decor offset by silver gilt-framed, black and white photography, gunmetal gray walls, and snow white lamps and fixtures. A tribute to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, this is the place to shape yourself into a star — that is, if you can get in past the velvet ropes.  

The Sports Club/ LA: San Francisco 
The Sports Club/ LA is a veritable fitness epicenter located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. It’s been featured in Vogue, Self, and Women’s Health, and for good reason: besides their vast array of class offerings, state-of-the-art equipment, and well-credentialed staff, their dedication to aesthetic is nothing short of impressive. Gorgeous, polished wood flooring and stone brick walls adorn the waiting areas and classrooms. An Olympic-sized pool, super spacious workout rooms and full basketball court are just a few of the treats this fitness locale has to offer; the design is clean and contemporary, sparsely decorated but luxurious nonetheless. Now developing what they’ve titled the “jewel box concept,” the Sports Club is focusing on melding cutting-edge technology with precise, beautiful architecture for a fitness experience that simply can’t be outdone. If you’re interested in joining, check out their website for more info.

Equinox: Beverly Hills
This super sleek, elegantly elite fitness center is not for the faint of heart. Boasting the “most sought after fitness instructors, personal trainers, strength and cardio equipment and experts in wellness,” Equinox takes its mission — and its ambience — very seriously. Beautiful open-rafter ceilings in basement rooms, sprawling, candlelit yoga studios, a world-class boxing ring and a heated indoor pool are just a few of the stunning amenities guests at this lavish gym can expect, not to mention over 10,000 square feet of training space filled with pristine equipment. Come for the classes, but stick around for the class. 

220 Fitness: Santa Monica
It’s no surprise that the majority of California boutique gyms are located near Tinseltown — beauty and fitness play leading roles in southern Cali’s fashion-forward culture. 220 Fitness caters to its clients as though they’ve all starred in at least one silver screen hit — ultra-hip brick and wood paneling, sleek, colorful machinery and wall after wall of sparkling glass windows show its members they deserve to be surrounded in beauty as they work to attain it. Certified personal trainers and teachers offer everything from tailored individual workout plans to cycling and Zumba classes, too. Whatever your fitness plan, rest assured that your eyes will get just as much of a workout as the rest of your body!

California Family Fitness: Orangevale

When you walk into this gym, it feels more like a tech startup than a place to work up a sweat, but don’t be fooled — despite its wholesome name and nifty aesthetic, the folks at California Family Fitness have little else in mind besides helping you and your entire family get in shape. Even better, they do it with style: the vast, stunning turquoise swimming pool, cheerful, brightly painted walls, striking cutting-edge machines and a sophisticated faux rock climbing wall are housed within a large but charming brick-and-glass building. In addition to plenty of workout activities and classes for adults, kids get access to the Kidz Klub, a fun, imaginatively designed space ideal for children of all ages. After a serious workout, the whole family can grab a snack at their beautiful juice bar, or relax in one of the sleek, warmly lit wooden saunas.

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