Best Boutique Gyms


The Landmark 

Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas used to tone their pecs at EASTON GYM HOLLYWOOD (8053 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-651-3636 or easton , which in its eighth decade continues to attract actors with its well-stocked weight area and unpretentious aesthetic ( brick walls and casement windows that open). The rooftop deck is ideal for lounging, and Nick Pratley’s Saturday-morning Spinning class—held in a studio with views of the Hollywood Hills—is the only reason to set your alarm on the weekend. A new branch in Santa Monica lacks this facility’s 1930s charm. No initiation fee; monthly dues, $55 (includes the use of the Santa Monica club).

Breathing Room 

ACTIVE FITNESS (1315 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-434-1400 or looks like a buff version of a New York loft. The pristine 5,000-square-foot space features floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed pipes, and shock-absorbing floors. The layout, which accommodates strength-training machines that allow you to increase resistance by turning a dial, is smart, with plenty of room to stretch, jump rope, or do walking lunges. Classes aren’t off ered, but motivation arrives in the form of hand-picked rock, hip-hop, R&B, and dance playlists. No initiation fee; monthly dues, $70.

Seasoned Stalwart 

A low-key civility pervades the TOLUCA LAKE TENNIS CLUB & SPORTS CENTER (6711 Forest Lawn Dr., L.A., 323-851-6000 or sports Patrons are an intergenerational mix who dutifully wipe down equipment and abide by the cell-phone ban. The Cybex machines in the weight room are brandnew, and the 60-foot lap pool is heated yearround. More than 50 weekly classes are held in a large training room (our favorite is “War & Peace,” a sweat-inducing hour of kickboxing, martial arts drills, and meditation). Initiation fee, $450; monthly dues, $89.

Redondo Ritz 

In an homage to the pastime of owner David Olan, photos of surfers line the walls of the RIVIERA FITNESS CLUB (1650 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, 310-316-5000 or rivfit .com). The facility’s 9,000 square feet holds 34 high-end cardio machines, including three kinds of ellipticals . A trainer works the floor, Pilates classes are held on a patio, and bootcamp sessions hit the beach during the summer. Members can bring their kids to the supervised playroom. No initiation fee; monthly dues, $85 ($850 for 14 months).

City Slicker 

On the street level of the 1924 Toy Factory lofts building, PHYSIQUE DOWNTOWN (1855 Industrial St., downtown, 310-717-9824 or off ers the Cardio- Wave, a sidestepping variation on the elliptical trainer from Technogym, the Italian company that will be outfitting Beijing’s Olympic Village this year. Members build biceps and tighten glutes with the same line of resistance equipment used at the Navy SEAL training center in Coronado. Semiprivate boot-camp and circuit classes with a maximum of four people are open to nonmembers for $15 to $20 a class. No initiation fee; monthly dues, $60.

Light Show 

The glamour-to-grunting ratio is high at BURN FITNESS (1315 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, 310-394-1300 or, a 10,000-square-foot bilevel club perched four stories above the 3rd Street Promenade. In addition to spotless hardwood floors, smudgefree mirrors, and glass doors that let in sun and ocean breezes, Burn boasts three dozen cardio machines, each with an LCD TV and a Sirius radio hookup, and resistance equipment from Panatta. Membership covers access to Fatburn, a Web -based program that helps track calories consumed and expended —an incentive, perhaps, to sign up for the club’s “Rave with Dave” or “Kickbox Burn” class. Initiation fee, $250; monthly dues, $89.

Photograph courtesy