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

Saturday Star - - | AFFLUENCE - KATE SIL­VER

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.

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