|President Barack Obama and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey have been spotted at the East Bank Club in Chicago.|
You've already formulated enough excuses not to work out: left the bag at home, ripped the yoga mat, forgot to do laundry, noticed a funky smell coming from the water bottle. Perhaps you'd lie to yourself a little less if getting fit involved doing Pilates alongside singer John Legend, sharing court time with basketball player Alonzo Mourning, putting your kids in the same fitness class as that of former model Heidi Klum and her husband, Seal, or ordering lunch from the same rooftop cafe as Oprah. Welcome to the U.S. version of high-end fitness, where clubs shun the term "gym" and active living is in the eye of the beholder. When one of Town Sports' ( CLUB) myriad city outlets or the local Life Time Fitness ( LTM) isn't cutting it aesthetically, or when your gym's amenities seem a bit too centered around Apple ( AAPL) products, follow the celebs to one of these four welcoming shrines of wellness. If it weren't for the lack of beds, you'd have no reason to leave. East Bank Club (500 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, 312-527-5800).
This isn't a fitness club; it's a palace. Members in the 20,000-square-foot cardio room work the elliptical machines beneath a 90-foot-by-14-foot mural: Peter Hurley and Scott Bullock's panorama "Lakefront Afternoon." President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey have been among the notables spotted by the two pools on the facility's 60,000-square-foot rooftop sun deck. The quarter-mile running track, indoor driving range, aerobics and spinning studios, and tennis, racquetball and squash courts, however, serve as a thin veil for less pro-active pampering EBC members enjoy. For your $500 initiation fee and more than $2,000 in annual dues, you get access to full salon and spa treatments, dry cleaning and shoe repair, a car wash, gourmet grocery shop and four dining options.