- Trendy New York City-based cycling studio SoulCycle is now offering wellness retreats, Skift reported.
- The retreats will include activities like mindfulness exercises, breathing workshops, sessions with an acupuncturist and Reiki master, morning movement sessions, s’mores and stargazing by the campfire, and SoulCycle classes.
- The first retreat was held in October at a luxury hotel in Austin and a retreat hotel in the Texas wilderness with yurts, cabins, a pool, and a beer garden.
- Prices and dates for future retreats have not been disclosed, but the company says the next retreat will host between 20 and 30 people.
- Las Vegas has been named as one of the potential destinations for the next retreat in 2020.
- SoulCycle’s expansion into wellness retreats aligns with the trend of fitness companies moving into hospitality and travel as part of the growing $639 billion wellness tourism industry.
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The retreats, hosted in partnership with luxury travel company Black Tomato, will include activities like mindfulness exercises, breathing workshops, morning movement sessions, s’mores and stargazing by the campfire, and of course, SoulCycle classes.
Prices, dates, and locations haven’t yet been disclosed, but the first official retreat will be in 2020, according to the brand.
Each retreat will be led by one of SoulCycle’s senior instructors and curated to the instructor’s personality, areas of interest, and the destination, according to the brand.
The first retreat was held at a luxury hotel in Austin with yoga mats in every room, and a wilderness retreat with yurts and cabins
SoulCycle held a three-day kick-off retreat in Austin and Texas Hill Country at the end of October.
Led by SoulCycle master instructor Melanie Griffith and senior instructor Bevin Prince, the retreat included mindfulness exercises, breathing workshops with an acupuncturist and Reiki master, s’mores and stargazing by the campfire, morning movement sessions, and cycling classes, the brand told Business Insider.
In Austin, guests stayed at the Kimpton Van Zandt hotel, a four-star boutique hotel with a rooftop pool that supplies yoga mats in every room. Part of the retreat also included SoulCycle classes at a local Austin studio.
And in the Texas wilderness, they were lodged at the Lucky Arrow Retreat, a 15-acre property with yurts and private cabins, a SoulCycle representative said.
While Texas was the kick-off for SoulCycle’s wellness retreat experience, in 2020 the fitness company will start offering retreats to paying customers. The cost of future trips will vary based on the destination and length of the trip, according to the brand. Las Vegas is one of the potential destinations for the next retreat in 2020.
SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan said in a press release that they launched the retreats because customers were constantly asking for “more experiential ways” to spend time with each other and the instructors.
“With Retreats by SoulCycle, we’re giving our community another opportunity to devote attention to themselves and deepen their ties to one another over the span of multiple days in a beautiful setting, outside of the day-to-day hustle,” Whelan said.
SoulCycle and other fitness companies want to ‘recharge your soul’ … and take over your lives
The Retreats by SoulCycle website poses a question: “Ready to recharge your soul?”
That lofty goal embodies the trend of fitness companies expanding well beyond ordinary gyms into full-fledged lifestyle brands, as Business Insider’s Bethany Biron recently reported.
“These fitness brands have become a gathering place – both a community gathering place and a social gathering place – in addition to just going to the gym to work out,” Josh Ginsberg, CEO and cofounder of marketing consultancy Zignal Labs, told Biron.
Equinox, the luxury gym, moved into hospitality earlier this year by opening a five-star Equinox Hotel in New York City’s new Hudson Yards neighborhood. And now it’s expanding into the luxury travel sector by offering tours like a $2,000 running trip through Italy and a $6,000 hiking trip through Morocco.
Both Equinox and SoulCycle are part of the Related Companies portfolio, which is owned by billionaire Stephen Ross. Earlier this year, Ross faced criticism for planning to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump, resulting in threats to boycott both brands. SoulCycle reportedly saw a decline in attendance in the month following news of the proposed fundraiser.
“Consistent with our policies, no company profits are used to fund politicians,” Whelan wrote. “… Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of SoulCycle.”
The evolution of these fitness companies dovetails with a fast-growing $639 billion industry: wellness tourism. Wealthy travelers are increasingly looking for wellness summits, spirituality retreats, and resorts that focus on self-care rather than beach parties and all-night clubbing.
According to a 2018 Global Wellness Tourism Economy study, the wellness tourism industry is expected to be worth $919 billion by 2022 – and clearly companies like SoulCycle and Equinox are hoping to get their slice of the pie