At a Glance:
Address: Loews Hotel, 1755 N. Highland Ave. Hollywood, CA 90028
Length: 60 minutes
Price: 1 class/$25, 10 classes/$230, month unlimited/$175 w $100 enrollment
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: medium
When I saw the words Barre+Cardio, I knew Exhale Spa was speaking my language. As I’ve mentioned, I love me some good barre, but I hate feeling like I need to find time to do cardio to make up for 60 minutes of ballet inspired strength training. This class, my friends, was the best of both worlds.
The class is located in the heart of Hollywood, steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since I live .5 mile away, I walked. However, Loews offers free valet parking to anyone visiting Exhale Spa (yes, you heard me right). Walking should have taken me 8 minutes but, naturally, I had to literally dodge a red carpet movie premiere and a herd of tourists snapping pics of said premiere (ok, ok, I snapped one too).
Walking into the Loews, I felt like I was on vacation. I headed up to the 5th floor and was immediately struck with the most relaxing spa scent. The Exhale fitness studio opened up 3 months ago next to the hotel spa and outdoor pool. I checked in at the desk and, after seeing it was my first time, they happily showed me around and introduced me to the instructor, Candice, who kindly asked me if there were any injuries that she should know about.
The workout room was very clean and organized. It came complete with mats and weights in bins while straps and balls were already waiting at each spot at the bar. There was complementary ice water and fresh towels on a counter above the shoe/belongings cubbies. One side of the room was all mirrors while the other was a view of the pool.
Core Fusion Barre+Cardio is separated into two 30-minute sections. We began with cardio. For 30 minutes we rapidly alternated between a variety of planks and boxing moves while holding weights, with a downward facing dog peppered in a few times for relief. In addition to the “simple” straight-arm plank, we spent minutes at a time lifting and lowering our legs, touching our knees to elbows, touching our opposite knees to opposite elbows, and “running” in plank. I broke a sweat pretty quickly and wish I hadn’t worn socks because they ended up rubbing and created two blisters. I was excited to move onto the “less challenging” second portion of the class.
We all took our mats to the wall and got ready to barre. It’s always hard to remember exactly what makes it so challenging, but along with the typical on-your-toes pulsing and tiny leg lifts, we did a lot of crazy lower ab work using the strap. Unlike in Pure Barre, the strap was cloth and did not stretch. We pulled on it while scissoring, lifting, lowering, hovering, and more. I really appreciated how Candice was never shy to correct anyone’s form. When the end was finally near, we spent a minute in savasana (my favorite part) listening to relaxing music and finished up with stretches.
Hands down, going to a class at Exhale needs to be treated like a girly spa day. I talked to one regular who said she tries to make it to a class every weekend just so she can enjoy the showers, steam room, outdoor pool, and Wolfgang Puck poolside service. Basically, if you go to an Exhale class, you are treated like a Loews guest and have access to all the amenities. If you’re really feeling crazy, book a massage or facial!
After you’re done pampering, grab a PSL at the Starbucks across the street and take a stroll to Hollywood & Highland where you can shop favorites like Gap, Zara, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and more. Pretend to be a tourist and Instagram a pic of the iconic Chinese Theatre or your favorite star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Tricks of the Trade
- Become a Mind and Body member and get unlimited classes along with amazing perks like 20% off spa therapies, 5 free guest passes, 10% off private training sessions and more.
- I assume because it’s so new, the Hollywood location only has two classes a day—Barre+Cardio and Barre at either 8:30 am or 6:30 pm on weekdays, and Barre Basic and Yoga on the weekends. If you live on the Westside, the Venice and Santa Monica Exhale locations offer about 8 classes daily with a ton of yoga options.