The rows of cardio equipment that greet you scream "gym," but the soothing greens and whites, the pitchers of mint-infused water and the noise level (virtually zero thanks to a cell phone ban and just the faintest hint of music) whisper "spa."
And in fact, four treatment rooms are tucked in the back, where you can indulge in services like reiki ($80) and stone massages ($160), which co-owners Patrick and Melissa John say are a key part of their wellness message.
"People don't go to the gym just to do cardio or pump iron," Patrick explained, although that's easy enough with Mint's assortment of machines, weights and cycling classes. ýThey also want yoga, nutrition advice.ý So clients get two personal training sessions and a nutrition consultation as part of their membership to help identify goals and to map out a plan. For an extra fee, Mint will send one of its nutritionists to the grocery store with you to teach smart shopping.
To keep the feel of the club intimate, Mint is capping its membership
at 1,100 (there are about 700 members now). ýWe donýt want our clients feeling like theyýre part of a fitness factory,ý Patrick said.
And the Johns have strived to make the place as cozy as possible. The digital lockers donýt require locks -- just type in a number of your choosing to lock one, then repeat it to retrieve your stuff. Or, leave your gear overnight and take advantage of their laundry service. Showers are filled with organic peppermint
products, and a wine cooler at the front of the gym holds eucalyptus- and mint-infused towels for a soothing refresher.
Stressing ties with its Adams Morgan neighbors, Mint has already partnered with Fleet Feet to do sneaker fittings. In October, nearby LýEnfant Café will be offering
ýMint Mondays,ý on which members can get two-for-one entrees.
Non-members can savor some of Mintýs flavor at its juice bar, opening next month, which will boast free Wi-Fi and serve freshly squeezed fruit juices and snacks catered by Vegetate, the vegetarian hideout in Shaw.
--Vicky Hallett (Express, Sept. 26, 2007)