By Michael Hiller
Photos by Michael Hiller
It’s a knockout kind of night at Virgin Dallas
Hotel penthouse suites typically welcome guests with over-the-top amenities. Chilled champagne, fruit baskets and embroidered bathrobes? Very 2020.
Guests booking the Sir Richard’s Flat penthouse (named for Virgin founder Richard Branson) on the 15th floor of the Virgin Hotels Dallas will discover something that beats all those others: a pair of boxing gloves. They’re part of the Liteboxer fitness experience, available only in the 1,400-square-foot penthouse of the Design District hotel.
Like a Peloton stationary bike and the Mirror system, the Liteboxer is an internet-connected smart fitness device designed to transform a space into something it’s not. If Peloton’s goal is to place you in a private spin class, Liteboxer wants you to step into a digital boxing ring.
For a free-standing device that promises a whole-body workout, the Liteboxer packs a lot of potential in its sturdy 5-foot frame jammed with computer chips, LEDs and pressure-sensing punch pads.
The premise is simple: Users log in to a subscription-based app on a digital device (both are free to use on the hotel’s Liteboxer unit), then select a workout from options that include skill level, duration and classes taught by former U.S. heavyweight Leyon Azubuike, kickboxer Eliza Shirazi and fitness trainer Emily Collins. You can compete against other subscribers or go it alone, punching each of the six target zones on the boxing panel as they light up in sync to a playlist of up-tempo tunes. Coaches offer tips and encouragement as you go. If you’ve played Beat Saber, Supernatural or Thrill of the Fight on the Oculus, you know the drill. It’s a blast — and a butt-kicking workout. The bonus? It doesn’t punch back.
If you’re new to virtual reality fitness, trying to avoid gyms and boxing appeals to you, the Liteboxer’s beat-based cardio workout could be your new daily jam. And a night in the Sir Richard’s Flat — if only its king-size bed, lipstick-red clawfoot bathtub and vintage Mick Jagger photo could tell stories — isn’t a bad way to see if you can go all 12 rounds.