Hyatt Hotels Corp., Chicago, has acquired boutique well-being studio brand exhale, New York, according to the two companies. The price of the Aug. 29 purchase was not disclosed.
Exhale has 25 locations in the United States and the Caribbean, half of which are in hospitality mixed-use developments. Exhale, which addresses mind and body through spa and fitness offerings, will operate as a standalone brand within Hyatt’s wellness category, and the exhale team and associates will continue to lead and operate the business, a Hyatt spokesperson told Club Industry in an email.
Exhale opened with one studio in 2002, the brainchild of Annbeth Eschbach, who received Club Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for her role as one of the pioneers in the boutique mind-body studio movement.
Through the years, Eschbach, who will continue as CEO and president of exhale, has established exhale in standalone locations and in hotel and resort properties. Exhale is located in the Loews Hotel in Atlanta; the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Hamilton, Bermuda; the Battery Wharf Hotel in Boston; the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica, California; the EPIC Hotel and Residences in Miami; The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour Miami; the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida; the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel in New York; the Gansevoort Meatpacking Hotel in New York; and Gansevoort Turks + Caicos Resort on Turks and Caicos Islands.
Hyatt already had a partnership with exhale to offer spa services to guests of its Hyatt Centric South Beach location across the street from exhale in Miami.
Exhale is also in two residential locations, the Manhattan House in Manhattan and 45PROVINCE in Boston, as well as in an office facility in Stamford, Connecticut.
Exhale also has locations in the Centurion Lounge for American Express Card Members at the Miami International Airport and the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
"Hyatt is committed to working with exhale’s hospitality partners to continue to offer exhale customers the experience they love," the spokesperson said. "We are looking forward to bringing exhale's transformational programs to a larger global audience and engaging with travelers everywhere, every day."
Hyatt has been focused on extending the brand beyond traditional hotel stays, apparent most recently in its January acquisition of Miraval Group, a wellness resort brand.
"The Miraval leadership team, led by Steve Rudnitsky and Matt MacDonald, have had a productive relationship with the exhale team, and when they joined the Hyatt family, we were able to continue those discussions about how we could work together to deliver wellness experiences that complement our Miraval and Hyatt offerings," the Hyatt spokesperson said. "Hyatt recognizes that wellness is a powerful and growing movement and is increasingly important to guests who prioritize wellbeing on the road and at home."
Eschbach told Club Industry in an email: "Exhale wanted a strategic growth partner who could position and fuel this unique wellbeing brand for global expansion. Culturally and strategically, exhale and Hyatt are a great fit. We share the same dedication to mindfulness, transformation and caring for people to be their best. And we share the same passion for transcending the traditional industry boundaries to deliver on our promise. Exhale has transcended the traditional spa and fitness-only industries with a concept that plays on ships, in hotels, resorts and free standing. The exhale experience is not bound by bricks and mortar and a defined set space requirements. Similarly, Hyatt's novel vision is to engage with travelers beyond traditional hotel stays, and that means we are part of a revolutionary path forward."
The acquisition includes capital improvement efforts through 2018 that will refresh, reset and renovate existing exhale facilities to underscore Hyatt's commitment to its guests and reinforce the value of the brand, according to the spokesperson.
"With Hyatt's support, the exhale brand will be positioned for global expansion in free-standing locations, existing locations, and Hyatt properties where the offering and brand fits," the spokesperson said.
As of June 30, 2017, Hyatt had 731 properties in 56 countries under 13 brands. Exhale will make that 14 brands.
The blending of hotels with health clubs is not new. The Houstonian, Houston, is a hotel, club and spa that has been around since 1980. Leisure Sports, Pleasanton, California, operates two Renaissance ClubSport locations that combine hotel and health club offerings. In 2015, Equinox, New York, announced that it has plans to open 75 hotels with fitness centers in them or with an Equinox club nearby. Midtown Athletic Club, Chicago, renovated one of its facilities into a six-story, 575,000-square-foot health club and hotel this past year. In 2013, InterContinental Hotels Group, Denham, United Kingdom, announced it would launch a new hotel brand, EVEN Hotels, that would focus on offering healthy food options, healthy rest options and workout facilities.