In the world of wellness and fitness, there’s a rapidly growing supplement that’s been connected to overall improvement in performance, lowered stress and increased vitality: Vitamin N (a.k.a. nature).
Fitness facilities have caught on and are matching their state-of-the-art equipment with settings that bank on the added health benefits of biophilic living, which harnesses the restorative, energizing effects of Mother Nature. In Southwest Florida, newer residential developments are positioning their on-property fitness centers with unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico, nature preserves and championship-level golf courses. “Back in the day, the penthouse had the best views. Now, we’re beginning to realize that in order to give all of our residents the best amenities possible, we need to flip that model to offer incredible views to all our residents,” says Ed Gonzalez, director of sales at Aura at Metropolitan Naples, which is slated to debut in 2024 with a fitness center and yoga studio atop its 15-story tower.
The luxury condo community of Kalea Bay, which sprawls across nearly 48 acres in North Naples, has wholeheartedly subscribed to the benefits of biophilic design. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we make it inspiring if you want to workout?’” Inga Lodge, the property’s vice president of marketing and sales, says of the team’s plans for the fitness centers. The answer: elevate the gym. By the time the entire development is completed in 2024, Kalea Bay will be home to five high-rise towers, all with rooftop fitness centers that showcase open-air design. All the workout centers are unenclosed on two sides for clear views of the rooftop pool and the Wiggins Pass inlet beyond, sky-high breezes and a covered, shady area to sweat it out alfresco. The cardio equipment is strategically positioned so gymgoers overlook the Gulf while they jog or spin. On a clear day, members can see Captiva Island from the rooftop perch.
Matching the movement toward wellness-centric real estate, Kalea Bay takes a holistic approach throughout. Next to each rooftop gym is an infinity-edge pool for swimming laps. An amenity center located centrally on the ground level of the development is also home to three pools, bordered by towering palm trees and views of the nearby lake. Attached to the amenity center will be a 14,000-square-foot wellness center, which is slated to open before the end of the year. The center will offer personal trainers, a sauna, spin room and group fitness classes. “It’s about delivering on physical, mental and social wellbeing for our residents,” Inga says.
A short drive north of Kalea Bay, another development is intent on vaulting wellness real estate. Set to begin its closings in December, Omega Bonita Bay stretches 27 stories high with vistas of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The third-floor fitness center features 12-foot-tall, curved glass panels, so athletes can take in north and west views, including the ninth and tenth holes of the Bonita Bay Club golf course.
In a more urban setting, Aura at Metropolitan Naples, at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Davis Boulevard, features an approximately 2,350-square-foot rooftop fitness center and yoga studio, plus a 50-foot infinity-edge pool, all with wide vistas of Old Naples and Naples Bay. Ed imagines early evening runs on the west-facing cardio equipment becoming a popular option for residents. “Aura at Metropolitan Naples is being designed to take advantage of what all of us in Naples love: the glorious sunset,” he says. “If you time it properly, you can have a great workout 156 feet up in the air while the sun sets.”