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Up-and-Coming Hotelier: Christopher Norton


June 19, 2020
Up-and-Coming Hotelier: Christopher Norton

CHRISTOPHER NORTON, CEO, EQUINOX HOTELS
NEW YORK

ON WHY SOCIAL MACRO TRENDS MAKE EQUINOX HOTELS THE PERFECT FIT FOR THE MARKET: The one we’re most excited about are that the entire world is catching onto the fact that a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things a person can possess, which the Equinox brand has owned for the last 25 years. We’re excited by this as the growth of the Equinox brand into hospitality is a natural extension of the brand, and so appropriately fits into this new set of priorities. 

Read more from Boutique Design’s Spring 2020 issue.

HIS LEAP FROM FOUR SEASONS TO EQUINOX’S HOSPITALITY ARM: With Four Seasons I had the opportunity to meet with Equinox to explore a partnership between the brands (a cobranded offer was consider in . As our conversations progressed, it was clear to me that Equinox had potential to not only create fitness spaces, but drive a community to them. There was a strong foundation to evolve the brand into hotels, and push the boundaries of traditional luxury. Being asked to join was an exciting and natural next step for me. I find that if you really believe in the strength of a brand and the long term potential, then the sky is the limit with what can be achieved.

HOW HE DEFINES THE BRAND’S PREFERRED DESCRIPTOR OF CATERING TO THOSE SEEKING A “HIGH PERFORMANCE LIFESTYLE”: A high performance lifestyle is not simply defined by how good you look, but about how good you feel. With the notion of “no days off” and the need to constantly perform and fit it all into a 24-hour day. I think it’s important to find that perfect pace in order to succeed. 

EQUINOX’S SELF SELECTING TARGET MARKET: We are catering to a growing global community of individuals driven by a desire to maximize their own potential, so we want to provide the environment for them to succeed.

THE BRAND’S BOLD GROWTH PLANS: Our goal is over 30 properties by 2030. Following the launch of our flagship property in New York, we’ve broken ground in strategic gateways cities and other locations, including Houston, LA, Santa Clara and Chicago. We also will expand into resorts and internationally in the near future.

WHAT THAT MEANS FOR DESIGN BEYOND THE HUDSON YARDS DEBUT PROPERTY: Our aesthetic will remain true to the brand, which has always been a mix of substance with style, while remaining regionally appropriate.

HOW TO BALANCE HIGH TECH AND HIGH TOUCH: Each room is virtually paper and plastic free, and is equipped with a tablet that controls every function of your stay, from room service and temperature, to group fitness class registration. Technology can resolve all transactions from arrival through departure, while human interaction concentrates on pleasantries and problem solving.

WHAT THE FITNESS SIDE OF HIS OWN LIFESTYLE LOOKS LIKE: My mantra is ‘lift heavy, run fast.’ I rely on the squat rack, cross cable pulley and a dumbbell rack. I find these three pieces, accompanied with the treadmill and attack bike for HIIT training, are all I need to achieve a full workout routine, and on ‘off’ days I swim laps.

WHAT HE’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH PERSONALLY BY 2030: See the Northern Lights in Iceland. Tour Bhutan by motorcycle with my family. Record a jazz piano album. Be an accomplished Pilates practitioner. Hike in Patagonia.

WHAT’S CRINGE-WORTHY: Things that aren’t a fit for us are those that sit in what we define as the old world view of luxury such as anything with white gloves and brass buttons. We don’t need to do things for the sake of doing them.

Photos: Jesse Dittmar and Equinox Hotels

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