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Midtown Athletic Club's New Hotel Combines Luxury and Fitness 

The new Midtown Athletic Club and the Hotel at Midtown is about to make its debut in Chicago. The club will open this month, and its hotel component, in October.

It is not—repeat, not—an ordinary big-city hotel with an upscale, high-end gym. It is, rather, a 35,000-square-foot, 55-room boutique hotel nestled within an impeccably designed and superbly equipped six-level, 575,000-square-foot health and fitness facility—the largest of its type in the United States.

In other words, it’s a unique, upscale, high-end gym with its own boutique hotel. It’s also a brilliant example of transforming a threat into an opportunity, a challenge into a stunning achievement.

“Twelve years ago, Chicago informed us that they were going to requisition part of our Midtown club for road improvements,” says Steven Schwartz, the president and CEO of the Midtown Athletic Clubs chain.

Midtown has logged an impressive track record since it opened its first club in 1970. Its portfolio currently includes eight iconic clubs in the U.S. and Canada. So Schwartz, after giving the matter a bit of thought, viewed the development not as a potential disaster, but, instead, as an unexpected gift.

“Since we found out about the city’s intention, it’s been a gradual evolution— built on the success we’ve had at our other clubs, the things we’ve learned from seeing the best clubs and boutiques around the world, and the ideas of the many great associates in our company,” he says. “We also worked closely with DMAC Architecture, our design partner for the last 10 years, and Alexander Agency, our marketing firm, to help bring our ideas to life.

“We didn’t model Midtown Athletic Club and The Hotel at Midtown on another facility,” he continues. “That said, we did take inspiration from elements of other clubs, boutiques, hotels, and programs that we found appealing. However, there’s no other athletic club or hotel like this one.”

The hotel will have four private suites—one created by V Starr Interiors, Venus Williams’ design firm, which also is responsible for the club’s tennis lounge—an executive conference room, and two meeting rooms. Hotel guests will have full, complimentary access to the club during their stay.

The $75-million transformation expanded the club’s footprint from 150,000 to 575,000 square feet.

Rooms will average $200 a night, and club membership dues will be $180 a month for an individual, beginning August 1.

“Our goal was to build the world’s best athletic club and boutique hotel in our hometown of Chicago,” says Schwartz. “Our vision involved combining big-club amenities—such as a 24,000-square-foot outdoor pool deck, two floors of cutting-edge fitness equipment and performance training spaces, and 15 indoor tennis courts—with the best of boutique fitness programming, including boxing, boot-camp, Pilates, yoga, Spinning—all under one roof for one membership.

“We’ve achieved that.”