Hotels sweat the details to help guests work out
Some are offering more than a cramped gym to help travellers stay on top of their workout routine
IT WASN’T the price, the points or the location that influenced Ruth Furman to book a stay at the Holiday Inn Express Waikiki in Honolulu last summer. It was the free poolside yoga every weekday morning.
Furman, who makes fitness a priority at home, knew the yoga offering would increase the odds of working out on holiday, as well.
“Many times in the past, I have looked up nearby gyms or fitness classes only to do nothing,” says Furman, who lives in Las Vegas. “This trip, I wanted to be intentional about making fitness classes a part of my vacation and didn’t want to have to go out of my way.”
Not every Holiday Inn
Express offers free daily yoga.
Perks at individual hotels in the Intercontinental Hotel Group – which counts Holiday Inn Express among its brands – differ by property, and that’s true with most of the major chains. But with a little searching, travellers can find a hotel that offers more than a cramped gym to help them stay on top of their workout routine.
The personalised fitness trend is gaining strength in a wide range of hotels, says Deanna Ting, who is the senior hospitality editor for Skift, a website that covers the business of travel through news and research.
“While luxury brands or hotels have often been at the forefront of offering all types of fitness and wellness amenities, the truth is that the brands and the consumers they want to attract realise that health and wellness has universal appeal.
Ting says the desire for health and wellness isn’t bound by price points anymore, “and you don’t have to have a luxury brand to offer more personalised or customised, or even boutique fitness classes”.
The Kimpton Hotels chain puts yoga mats in all its rooms. Some offer yoga and other fitness classes on site. Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood, for example, partners with fitness and adventure travel brand Gentry Jackson to provide guests access to trainers who can come to the hotel for sessions. (Individual sessions start at $175
(R2 400); group sessions cost $50.)
In New York City, a business called Strength in Numbers (SIN) Workouts is available to send personal trainers to meet guests at the hotels it partners with, either in their rooms or in the hotel gym. Guests at the Benjamin or the Knickerbocker call down to the concierge to book a session (at $150 an hour). Guests at other hotels in New York can reach out to SIN.
Vanessa Martin, the SIN Workouts founder and chief executive, says she started targeting the hotel industry a few years ago, when she noticed that hotel gyms were often empty.
SIN also offers a “fitness concierge” service to book classes for guests at a nearby studio, such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Pure Yoga, Soulcycle or whatever is the best fit for their workout preferences. (The concierge cost is $75 for the service, plus the price of a class.)
Martin says her team will even arrange transport to and from the class. “Half the battle of getting to the workout is getting to the workout, and we facilitate that process for them,” she says.
JW Marriott Chicago has a “Fit Squad” team of 10 trainers led by Jason Raynor, a strength and performance coach and Nike “Master Trainer”. The trainers lead classes in kickboxing, yoga, functional strength and conditioning, ropes and bells, boxing and more. The team can tailor private training sessions to guests. Classes are $10 for guests and $20 for non-guests; private sessions start at $125 an hour.
At the Swissotel Chicago, travellers don’t need to leave their accommodations to get their burn on. The hotel recently unveiled its “Vitality Suite”, a 500m2, five-room suite with gym equipment, a Peloton bike and a rowing machine. The television is loaded with workouts.
Private training (starting at $60 for 30 minutes) is also available – either in the suite or at the hotel’s fitness centre, where group classes, including yoga, boot camp and other classes are complementary Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Westin Hotels has ramped up its fitness offerings. At select locations, guests can take an instructor-led spin class in the on-site fitness studio, or hop on a Peloton bike in their room. If they’ve forgotten workout clothes, the hotel has them covered: Guests can borrow shoes and clothing for $5. But perhaps the most ambitious offering is Westin’s “run concierge” programme, which can result in some serious calorie burning while doubling as a cardiotourism adventure.
“They’ll take a picture of you and a landmark as opposed to you taking selfies; it just changes the experience and the game of running in a new city,” Chris Heuisler, who is a Westin global run concierge.
“People want options on how to stay fit in either the way they do at home or a unique way that’s particular to that city. If we can do your homework for you, as an active traveller, then we just hit the jackpot.” | Washington Post
GUESTS take part in a yoga class at Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood. | La Peer Hotel
GUESTS at some Westin Hotels can use a Peloton bike in their own room.| Westin Hotels & Resorts.