Back in 2009, when Rebecca Parekh was looking to organize all of her various doctors’ appointments and message-therapy sessions in one place, she couldn’t find a service to help. She was working so hard as COO for Deepak Chopra and traveling so much that she tended to put her own health and wellness priorities at the bottom of her “to do” list.
But after a weekend visit to Sedona’s Mii Amo spa, Parekh realized there was room in the market for a destination retreat in her hometown of New York City—a place where members could plan out their own wellness needs and consult all of their professionals under one roof. “I kept asking myself how I could bring that weekend immersion idea of destination wellness back to the city,” Parekh says. “We know that wellness is more than just celery juice and yoga, but how do you navigate and bring all these people together?”
Parekh teamed up with former Starwood Capital Group branding expert Kane Sarhan and Sarrah Hallock, a former marketing executive at Vitaminwater, and together they envisioned The Well, an 18,000-square-foot membership-based club in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood that brings together the science of Western medicine and the wisdom of Eastern healing. “The idea was to serve members a best-in-class integrated and personalized plan for wellness,” says Parekh. “Everyone works together. That integration is at the core of what’s happening here.”
Members can meet once a month with their team of experts to chart a wellness course, check in on their health goals, and take recommendations for additional services. “We want members to have a real sense of belonging and feel accountable for their health and wellness,” says Hallock.
Services encompass functional medicine, Ayurveda, sports therapy and Chinese medicine practiced by a group of experts led by Frank Lipman, MD, Keith Pyne, DC, and head of traditional Chinese medicine Aimee Raupp, MS, LAc. The Well also offers a signature Mindful Movement program that includes a “complete” class of breath work, strengthening and conditioning, a robust selection of yoga practices including kundalini and Ashtanga, QiGong and meditation. Barre class and Pilates will be added to the menu in the near future. A reflexology room offers personal treatments, and in the herb garden, members can consult with resident “plant whisperer” Luz LeStrange. More than 50 varieties of herbs and plants are chosen seasonally and used in treatments as well as the culinary selections offered at the Kitchen & Table restaurant, which is run by the chefs at New York’s health-based Cafe Clover.
The tranquil spaces, designed by Rose Ink Workshop, feature pale pink walls and light grey leather Eames chairs. A library contains wellness books donated by yoga teacher Eddie Stern, while the luxurious locker rooms include eucalyptus whisks, saunas, steam baths and plant-based products by Saya, the Australian all-natural beauty brand. Members can relax before and after treatments in a crystal-charged relaxation lounge and help themselves to herbal teas, grass-fed-beef bone broth and coriander water.
Monthly membership includes one-on-one sessions with a health coach who guides members through a personalized wellness plan. Members are welcome to unlimited classes as well as a private training gym and the relaxation lounge, sauna and steam bath. Exclusive treatments such as acupuncture, Reiki, craniosacral massage, dry brushing and deep-tissue massage are offered à la carte. The Well also invites members to special events such as book launches, support circles and astrology workshops. Travel memberships for out-of-town guests seeking an urban refuge are available, and plans are in place to launch The Well in additional New York City locations as well as Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Their goal is simple: “We want to change the narrative around wellness,” says Parekh.