The value is enhanced by the pitch. Once Delos turns a condo into a wellness condo, the price increases substantially. Outfitted rooms at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand cost 40 percent more than equivalent, non-wellness rooms.
“Everyone wants to live healthier and longer right now, so this has a really broad appeal,” said Kevin Maloney, founder of PMG. “Having Chopra involved is very important to us. Obviously he has a great following of people. He brings a sense of real credibility to the concept.”
I replied that Chopra has definitely written a lot of books, though I wasn’t sure how many. Maloney said he knew that 20 or 21 were best-sellers.
The trend in Florida real estate, Maloney continued, is pairing with lifestyle brands. “We couldn't figure out what we were going to do with our new project. When someone brought up Chopra, my ears perked up,” he said. “We’re not going with a car company or a clothing designer. When this concept came up, we thought, ‘wow, wellness.’”
Though this is Chopra’s first formal development project with Delos, the firm designed Chopra’s $14.5 million Manhattan home, which The New York Times describes as his “health-centric condo.” But what is wellness real estate? (Or health-centric? I asked the publicist which was correct, and she said wellness residences is “the proper term.” Though Delos has a trademark on “wellness real estate.”)
Wellness has become a buzzword for all things that could somehow improve or modulate the human condition, often overlapping with what many would consider health. For one, the World Health Organization. At its outset in 1946, the group defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The Delos press release for these new “exclusive wellness residences” explains that they “will focus on three core wellness principles: air, water, light and sleep.” My guess there is light and sleep are meant to count as one. The Delos building in Manhattan where Chopra lives also features a “posture-supportive flooring system” and a surface coating “which destroys bacteria,” but I don’t know if these are wellness principles.
To understand all these distinctions and what it really means to embody wellness—as opposed to health—I had to get into Chopra’s head and see this from the inside out.
“Health is the absence of disease. Period,” he told me by phone from Miami. “Wellness is, these days, more than that. Wellness includes physical fitness and optimization of emotional wellbeing and social wellbeing.”
Chopra said he was interested to talk to me because I’m a doctor, but I had trouble getting a word in. His came in streams that mixed technical terminology with astonishing claims, such as: “We are looking at how your environment affects your biology, from circadian rhythms to blood pressure to heart-rate variability to mood and emotions and bio-regulation in terms of endocrine function, immune function, is all correlated, and your environment is part of it, the air that you breathe is your breath, actually, and the water that you’re drinking is your circulation, and we know that 90 percent of the time we spend in a lifetime is indoors, so as far as frequency, if you take your age and multiply by 0.9, that’s the amount of years we spend indoors.”