From smoke-free environments to fitness facilities outfitted with the latest exercise technology, travelers today are looking to stay in hotels that allow them to maintain their fitness regimen while on the road.
In fact, one study of 300 business travelers, conducted by Lieberman Research Worldwide 2003, showed that 69 percent of business travelers say they’re more likely to book a room at a hotel with a state-of-the-art fitness facility. ‘Women’s Health’ magazine looked into the major hotel chains coast to coast to see how they’re shaping up.
Their facilities are open around the clock, which is great because you can get a workout in any time of day. They also have complimentary laundry rooms and offer free healthy snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, nuts and protein bars. But if you are looking for state-of-the art facilities or in-room offerings, you may want to check out one of the other major chains. Women’s Health ranking: 2 out of 5.
We liked the Fairmont’s offerings, which include the luxury of having Adidas workout apparel delivered at your door to test-drive the gear at the gym (if you like it, you can purchase unused apparel). Guests are also provided with pre-loaded Creative Zen mp3 players to use during their workout (as long as they are a part of the Fairmont’s President club, which is free to join). Most of the 15 Fairmont properties in the U.S. upgraded their workout equipment this spring. Women’s Health ranking: 3 out of 5.
Last year, Hilton Hotels formed a partnership with Precor, a fitness equipment company, and now offer travelers fancy-style Fitness by Precor facilities, complete with plasma TVs. The redesigned fitness rooms have already begun rolling out at full-service Hilton, Doubletree and Embassy Suites Hotels as well as the Waldorf Astoria in New York City (all will be done in mid-2008). The high-end fitness centers are great for motivation and offer an experience that makes it easy to work out while on the road. We just wish they offered an in-room option. Women’s Health ranking: 3 out of 5.
We love the idea of their 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness facilities (complete with yoga equipment), not to mention that the concierge will deliver workout clothes for purchase to your room within an hour (each Hyatt works with a local retailer, so prices vary). Some locations even offer customers a Garmin Forunner, a wrist-top GPS monitor, which you can borrow from the concierge and use during your run. Hyatt is definitely a leader in terms of fitness offerings and has successfully developed ways for their customers to get a workout in no matter where they are or when they find time to exercise. Women’s Health ranking: 5 out of 5.
Last year, Marriott implemented their “Great Health-Fit For You” program, which is designed to provide guests with cutting-edge exercise choices and healthy eating choices. Their gyms are open 24-hours, which is a bonus, but we found that at this stage of the game, the Fit For You program seems to be more focused on healthy food than fitness. That said, they recently announced an initiative to expand their fitness centers by 60 percent, with plans to add more treadmills, elliptical machines and new cardio equipment as well as incorporate fresh designs that reflect a professional, gym-like atmosphere. Until that happens though, they fall a little short in the fitness offerings department. Women’s Health ranking: 2 out of 5.
Westin Hotels & Resorts really leads the pack in terms of fitness offerings. In 2005, they unveiled new, fully equipped WestinWORKOUT(R) Rooms that encourage hotel guests to work out in the privacy of their rooms using a variety of advanced cardio and strength equipment. At the gym, you can choose among 20-, 40-, or 60-minute workout plans (designed by Reebok gurus).
Westin's focus on guest fitness started in November 2003, when they began redesigning their fitness facilities as part of their mission to develop the travel industry's most extensive fitness and wellness initiative.
These Westin WORKOUT Rooms are really ideal for frequent business travelers or anyone wanting to embrace the benefits of fitness and wellness. It’s important to note that these rooms are available for an additional charge, starting around $20 above market room rates, varying slightly by market.
In addition, Westin provides maps that outline recommended three- and five-mile jogging/walking routes in the hotel's vicinity in every city. Women’s Health ranking:5 out of 5.
Five dumbbells = fitness bliss
- Gyms open around the clock
- Complimentary laundry rooms next door to wash your sweaty gym clothes
- Recharge at the Candlewood Cupboard, near the gym and stocked with great healthy snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, nuts and protein bars (based on the honor system; you fill out a purchase slip and put it in the payment box)
- 2 dumbbells
- Can blow off steam any time of the day, but doing laundry doesn’t sound like such a perk
- Will deliver Adidas to your door; you can test-drive the gear at the gym (used clothing)
- Guests will be provided with pre-loaded Creative Zen mp3 players to use during their workout (as long as they are part of the Fairmont’s President club, which is free to join)
- Mp3 players have extensive playlists. Most locations upgraded their workout equipment this spring
- Adidas deliveries are free during your stay
- Unused clothing is available for purchase
- 3 dumbbells
- Try-and-buy concept is great, but we try to stay away from used items
- Fitness by Precor facilities at full-service Hiltons
- Precor-developed strength, cardio and entertainment equipment. A complement of core training, balance equipment and stretch accessories rounds out the performance-enhancement offerings.
- Precor Cardio Theater Exercise Entertainment™, providing entertainment technology either from wall-mounted plasma television or Personal Viewing Screens (LCD) on each cardiovascular machine. Lightweight headphones designed for better sound to use during your workout
- Hotels currently offering fitness equipment under three years old will install new Precor equipment by 2009
- Hilton New York: Offers personal training, yoga, pilates. Sessions can be done in-room or in the fitness facility.
- It’s all free
- 3 dumbbells
- Work out in a fancy–style gym
- Explore the area with a Garmin Forunner, a wrist-top GPS monitor, which you can borrow from the concierge and use during your run
- A personal training device with GPS that measures speed, distance, pace and calories burned
- Check specific hotel locations for availability (known availability in San Diego, San Francisco)
- Concierge will deliver workout clothes for purchase to your room within an hour
- Each Hyatt works with a local retailer, so prices vary
- 24-hour gym with state-of-the-art fitness facility and yoga equipment
- 5 dumbbells
- Cool fitness gadgets and an excuse to shop for cute workout gear without leaving your room
- Fit For You program lets you choose from three in-room workouts
- Our favorite: an energy-boosting routine designed by a former Navy SEAL
- 24-hour gyms
- All fitness centers will offer complimentary fresh, whole fruit in the mornings and evenings when the centers are the busiest, filtered water all day and top-quality equipment and accessories
- Workouts are free
- Yoga and Pilates videos available on the in-room entertainment systems for a small fee
- Room service menu has low-carb, low-fat but overpriced hotel fare
- 2 dumbbells
- Fit For You seems to be more focused on food than fitness
- At the gym, choose from a 20-, 40-, or 60- minute workout plan (designed by Reebok’s fitness gurus)
- Before bed, tune in to the hotel’s TV channel for an in-bed Yogilates routine
Go for a WestinWorkout room (about $20 extra) and you’ll get your own mini gym in your guestroom: Reebok bike or treadmill, resistance tubes, balls, mats, a yoga mat, a local running map and workout DVDs
- 5 dumbbells
- They have something for everyone
For more travel tips and information, visit Women's Health magazine.