The Crosby Club in Rancho Santa Fe pumps up fitness center with top-of-the-line gym equipment


By Karen Billing

The Crosby Club is excited to unveil its buffed-up fitness center, which recently completed an extreme makeover.

The Rancho Santa Fe club’s fitness center was once a smaller, darker space with equipment much in need of an update. Darkened walls received a new coat of paint, darkened floors were lightened and ceiling fans were added to the now-bright and airy space. Most important, the new state-of-the art equipment has created a high-quality experience for members.

“We’re seeing members come back and work out with us and getting rid of their outside gym membership, because they love what we’ve done,” said Ed Sanabria, general manager.

Athletic Director Kira Haley, who has wanted this overhaul since she joined the staff three years ago, said seeing the space reinvigorated has been amazing.

“They’re just excited,” she said of the members. “They’re running on the treadmill with a smile on their face. The entire environment has changed.”

The Crosby National in Rancho Santa Fe is home to an 18-hole Fred Couples award-winning golf course, driving range, chipping area and putting greens, and a main clubhouse. The fitness center property includes the gym and group training room as well as a Junior Olympic-size pool, Jacuzzi and four tennis courts.

Since 2009, the Crosby has been owned and operated by Escalante, purchased from the original developer, Starwood Capital. Sanabria said Escalante has worked to build membership over the past few years and improving the fitness element was an important piece.

To accomplish the remodel, some underutilized spa treatment rooms were converted and the number of treadmills was doubled. Bikes were added, as were four regular elliptical trainers and two Vario ellipticals, which allow users to make strides as short or as long as they like. “They’ve become one of the most popular pieces of equipment,” Haley said of the Vario machines.

The room that used to be the entire, crowded gym is now home to new weight-training machines and free weights.

“This type of equipment is really high-end and you won’t see it in your average gym,” Sanabria said.

Called TechnoGym, the entire line was imported from Italy and is featured in high-end resorts such as The Houstonian and the Ritz Carlton. While some places may have one or two machines from the TechnoGym line, The Crosby is one of the few spots to own the complete set.

TechnoGym’s treadmills, bikes and ellipticals feature a touch-screen flat screen on each machine that has USB ports, allowing users to plug in their iPods, surf the Internet, log in to Facebook or watch TV.

“We have a lot of activity during college football games,” Sanabria said.

A “wellness cloud” also allows users to log and track their workouts and progress.

Haley said one feature that members have loved is the outdoor feature. Users can pick locations like wooded trails or scenic San Francisco streets to move along with them on the screens as they walk, ride or run so they feel as if they are outside.

“People have emailed me from the machine to tell me how awesome it is,” Haley said.

The TechnoGym weight training machines are cable-based, so users can move the cables in any direction for a variety of exercises. The six machines can do more than 150 exercises.

“This space was really noisy before because of the typical clanking of the weight stack equipment, but with the cables, it’s really quiet,” Haley said. “Members have commented on how quiet it is in here, even with the increased use.”

Each machine uses Italian leather, and a lot of thought has gone into comfort of use. As an example, the core work machine has eliminated the hard bar that used to land across the chest; instead, it now has straps that resemble a backpack.

The Crosby also has the Kinesis I, a stand-alone station that uses a cable system with multiple handles above and below as well as waist belts and ankle belts. It does everything all six of the other machines do. Sanabria said it’s used a lot for sport-specific resistance training.

The group exercise room also got an update with 11 new spin bikes, new TRX suspension training mounts and new hand weights, yoga mats and exercise balls. Two sets of double doors were converted to windows to control access, and ceiling fans were added to match the gym.

The Crosby offers 11 group classes a week and one-on-one training on a gyrotonic tower, which Haley describes as a “super-duper Pilates reformer.”

Members have key-fob access to the gates that open the fitness center. Sanabria said when Starwood owned The Crosby, the fitness center was sold as an amenity to the homeowners. But Sanabria said he wants fitness members to feel that this is their place and have a sense of ownership with the key fobs.

While The Crosby is closed on Tuesdays, the fitness center is open daily.

The Crosby Club has three levels of memberships: social, which is just a dining membership; golf, which has access to everything including the fitness center; and the sports membership, which has access to everything except golf, but it does come with eight rounds of golf a year. Members do not have to be residents of The Crosby.

The fitness center has a cap of 240 memberships. Sanabria said he’d love to sell it out by next year.

“This facility is really going to open people’s eyes to the value of a sports membership at The Crosby,” he said.