It's been quite a winter! Thankfully, March reminds us that our dreams of sunny days and rising temperatures is closer to being a reality. This month's covergirl is one of our new faves, Ashley Busch - US Polo player, Global Brand Ambassador of U.S. Polo Assn, Wilhelmina model and wife of NASCAR's Kurt Busch! Our shoot incorporates Spring's must haves and we get the scoop on playing polo, hanging out with Ashley and seeing what she's up to.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What does it take to be a polo player?
ASHLEY BUSCH: It takes a few things to be a good polo player. Of course, previous riding experience is always an advantage. To me, the most important skill is to have good hand-eye coordination. Also, the skill of the pony is just as important as the skill of the player.
AM: Are there things that people don't realize in terms of coordinating the mallet and riding?
AB: Most people do not realize that when we are riding we are standing up in the stirrups 90% of the time. In order to hit the ball it takes hand eye coordination. How far it goes has a lot to do with timing of where your horse is and where your mallet is in relation to the ball.
AM: What are your favorite plays?
AB: There are not really any set plays or off sides in polo. Any player can go anywhere on the field. Typically, I play number 1 or number 2 and those positions are the ones that do most of the scoring which are my favorite plays of course!
AM: What has been your favorite match that you have played in?
AB: My favorite match was the 12 Goal tournament I won with my dad at the International Polo Club.
AM: How has the Polo season been and what races are you looking forward to this year?
AB: Polo season has been great so far. I played my first tournament in January and we got to the finals where we only lost by one goal. The second tournament I played in February, we won
by 2 goals. So, I would say this season has been a success!
I look forward to all of the races whether I'm there or watching on TV. I get really into each race because each track is different and it’s fun to see how everything transpires. One of my favorite
trips is the west coast swing that we are on right now. From Vegas to Phoenix to LA. Some other tracks that I love are Bristol in Tennessee, Talladega, and Sonoma.
AM: As this month's cover girl of Athleisure Mag for the kickoff to our Spring Issue, what is it about this time of year that you find exciting?
AB: I am someone that has always gravitated towards warm weather. I love that the flowers are starting to bloom and everything is warming up. I look at springtime as an opportunity to do some spring cleaning and really hone in on my goals for the year. It’s a reboot in my opinion!
AM: The Spring is definitely a great time to add new pieces to your closet - what are some of your favorite spring must-haves that you love in your closet or will be adding to soon?
AB: With all the fashion weeks coming to an end, a lot of designers start putting out their spring lines, which I am always excited to see what new prints and styles are featured. I especially enjoy it because I am a designer myself and look forward to seeing what they come up with and what is trending. As far as new pieces, I am a sucker for a good pair of jeans that can be worn from day to night and I am always looking for fun shoes to mix it up!
AM: You do a lot of traveling and with NASCAR season starting back up, how do you juggle your calendar versus your days on the track to support your husband?
AB: The key for us is basically just looking ahead and scheduling everything accordingly. Some races I inevitably miss because I am playing polo. Regardless, though, we are both very supportive of each other and we make it work!
AM: With such a busy schedule, great skincare is essential to ensure that you always look like you have a well-rested glow - what beauty products do you swear by?
AB: I typically do not wear much makeup, mainly because I am always on the go. Some of my go-to products are the La Mer oil-infused lotion to hydrate and smooth my skin. I also love Drunk Elephant's day and night serums to help balance out my skin tone. I use the Elta MD tinted moisturizer almost every day, especially when I have a polo match. It provides nice, even coverage, but more importantly has SPF to prevent wrinkles. When traveling, I always carry the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist! I use it whenever I feel like my skin needs a little boost of hydration.
AM: The last time we chatted with you, you were working on your swim line, how is that going and what can you tell us about it?
AB: We are still in the creative process of my swim line and ironing out all of the details. What I can tell you is that 10% of the proceeds will go to charity, as philanthropy has always been a major part of my life. I will be posting updates on my social media as we progress and am shooting to launch this summer!
AM: When you're not training for your next polo match, designing your line, in a photoshoot or hanging out with Kurt, what can we find you doing when you're taking time for yourself?
AB: In my spare time, I am most likely spending time with friends and family. I also really enjoy being at home just relaxing with my dogs.
AM: When you're home, where can we find you shopping, grabbing cocktails and a drink and do you have a workout studio that you enjoy going to?
AB: My go-to store to shop is Intermix. I also love to check out local boutiques in the area. In Charlotte, Kurt and I enjoy going to Sushi at the Lake for dinner and drinks. In Florida, HMF is a super cool spot. Most of the time, Kurt and I will cook dinner together at the house though.
When I am in Florida, I train at the International Polo Club with polo trainers. In Charlotte, we have a personal trainer who comes to our house to workout. I also like to take aerial silk classes at Air-fit Charlotte.
AM: What charities or philanthropies do you give your time to?
Hotel Brooklyn Bridge which has great views of Manhattan and is in a neighborhood with a number of options to enjoy. We chatted with General Manager, Cornelia Samara to find out why this property is one that you should get to know as we continue into the Spring and Summer.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about 1 Hotels in terms of the family of properties within this group and what one can expect when staying here generally?
CORNELIA SAMARA: We currently have 1 Hotels open in South Beach, Manhattan, and most recently, here in Brooklyn. Soon guests will be able to get closer to nature in Cabo; Sanya, China; West Hollywood and Sunnyvale. While every property is unique in its design and offerings, you can always expect a home away from home, with thoughtful service and personal touches. Every 1 Hotel is designed to celebrate nature and bring touches of the outdoors inside.
AM: Are there different personalities that 1 Hotels represents depending on the city/community?
CS: Definitely. Each 1 Hotels property is directly influenced and inspired by their local surroundings – the natural landmarks it sits on or beside, as well as the community it is part of. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, for example, is inspired by the industrial history of the Brooklyn waterfront, and its design takes cues from the park it sits upon.
AM: Specifically, tell us about 1 Hotels Brooklyn Bridge - when did it open, what is the atmosphere?
CS: We opened our doors to 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in February 2017, making us just recently 1 Tree Ring year old. The atmosphere at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is first and foremost welcoming, and it has a special balance of energy, liveliness in the midst of tranquility.
AM: What makes the Brooklyn location one that is great for business travel, business meetings, vacations and staycations?
CS: Much like Brooklyn itself, what you can experience at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is very diverse in its offerings. We operate 6 different outlets that can cater to just about every traveler, with a spa providing treatments to relax and re-energize, a rooftop pool & bar that
is calm by day and energetic by night, a lobby lounge and café that are both great for settling in with a good book or hunkering down to get work done, visit The Osprey for an elevated dining experience, or Brooklyn Heights Social club for unparalleled views and an unmatched cocktail list.
AM: What amenities are offered by the hotel and what are the touches that are specific to this hotel?
CS: -Bamford Haybarn Spa
-24 hour Field House fitness center
-Seasonal rooftop bar and pool
-Full Service Restaurant, The Osprey, with seasonal outdoor seating
-Brooklyn Heights Social Club, a bar on the 10th floor with stunning views of NYC skyline
-Neighbors café located in the lobby
-24 hour in-room dining
-Complimentary Tesla electric house car
-Filtered water taps in guest rooms
-Location on Brooklyn Bridge Park
We put a great deal of effort into bringing nature into our public spaces and guest rooms. It’s important that people feel at one with nature even when they aren’t able to actually get outside.
For example, each guest room will have green elements like living green moss, small trees or even hanging gardens.
AM: The public areas are so welcoming, who designed this hotel and what was the thought process behind the design?
CS: The hotel was thoughtfully designed by INC Architecture & Design, guided by a specific vision from our founder, Barry Sternlicht, and our design team. From the beginning, we knew we wanted our guests, community and visitors to feel at home and close to nature. We like
to think of our lobby a place to gather, where you can find locals and guests busy at work or socializing with friends.
AM: We saw that you offer car services to the area - why is this an amenity that was added and tell us more about it?
CS: We do offer a complimentary Tesla house car for our guests, to whisk them away to destinations within 3 miles of the hotel with low-impact (it’s electric!) We chose an electric car to be our house car because it minimizes our contribution to air pollution and also gives our
guests the chance to see that electric vehicles can be true replacements for gasoline powered vehicles. We hope it encourages them to take measure to reduce their own carbon footprints when they head home.
AM: What can we look forward to for the Spring and the Summer that is offered at the Brooklyn Bridge location?
CS: -New seasonal menus items made with market-fresh ingredients throughout our food and beverage outlets and our in-room dining menu
-Our seasonal rooftop bar and pool will reopen in the spring
-Exciting outdoor programming from our partners at Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
AM: What do locals have the ability to enjoy whether they are staying as guests or just wish to stop by?
CS: -They can always expect warm and welcoming greeting from our team
-They can always expect amazing cuisine with ingredients locally sourced from their own communities
-Unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge
-Locals are always welcome to get comfortable and work from our lobby lounge
-Special offers from the hotel and our outlets, extended specifically to our neighbors and local community
AM: Tell us about your commitment to wellness as we saw the yoga mats in the room and we know you have a gym as well.
CS: It’s important to us to encourage our guests to take care of themselves both physically and mentally. We can only put our best foot forward in taking care of the planet when we also take care of ourselves. We hope the yoga mats remind guests the importance of taking a moment each day to get centered and focused in their mind and spirit. We offer Mind & Movement programming to help create experiences that allow guests to do this.
AM: Two of our favorite places are rooftops and spas and we know you have both, tell us about this.
CS: You are definitely not alone in that! There are few things better than an amazing view or being pampered. While our service definitely sets us apart, there’s no question that our views are taken to the next level on our rooftop. At Bamford Haybarn Spa, the commitment to holistic treatments and organic ingredients is a major differentiator.