Healthy Living

Hotels add workout options: from yoga and indoor apps to outdoor runs

Westin Hotels and Resorts

Guests at some Westin Hotels can use a Peloton bike in their own room.
Westin Hotels and Resorts Guests at some Westin Hotels can use a Peloton bike in their own room.

It wasn’t the price or the points or the location that most influenced Ruth Furman to book a stay at the Holiday Inn Express Waikiki in Honolulu last summer. It was the yoga.

Namely, 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 during vacation, as well.

“Many times in the past, I have looked up nearby gyms or fitness classes only to do nothing,” said 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.”

It worked.

“Since it was so convenient, it was a sure thing,” she recalled.

Plus, she liked how the low-key classes allowed her to work out at her own level. Rather than returning regretful, she was able to take pride in consistently working out.

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, travelers across the country can find a hotel that offers more than a cramped gym to help them stay with their workout routine — whether it’s through yoga classes, connecting them with personal trainers or actually leading them on runs around town.


That’s because today the personalized fitness trend is gaining strength in a wide range of hotels, said Deanna Ting, who is 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 both the brands and the consumers they want to attract realize that health and wellness has universal appeal,” Ting said.

“This collective 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 personalized or customized, or even boutique fitness classes.”

The Kimpton Hotels chain puts yoga mats in all its rooms so travelers can comfortably plank in their downtime. Some even offer yoga and other fitness classes on site.

Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood, Calif., for example, partners with local fitness and adventure travel brand Gentry Jackson to provide guests access to personal trainers who can come to the hotel for individual sessions in fitness as well as self-defense, for a fee.

Guests also can download an app created in partnership with Yoga Wake Up to lead them through routines that can be done in bed.

In New York City, a business called Strength in Numbers 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 can call down to the concierge to book a session. Guests at other hotels in New York can reach out directly to Strength in Numbers.


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Vanessa Martin, founder and CEO of Strength in Numbers Workouts, which also has non-traveling clients in New York and Miami, said she started targeting the hotel industry a few years ago, when she noticed that hotel gyms were often empty.

“It was blowing my mind, recognizing that these properties are building out fitness centers in these beautiful hotels, but nobody’s taking advantage of them and nobody’s really using them because there’s no energy there,” she said.

Strength in Numbers also offers a “fitness concierge” service to book classes for guests at a nearby studio. Martin added that her team will even go so far as to arrange transportation to and from the class for the client.

“Half the battle of getting to the workout is actually getting to the workout, and we really facilitate that process for them,” she said.

Other hotels have gone a step further and hired in-house personal trainers. At Kimpton Glover Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., guests can work out in the gym with resident fitness guide Graham King, founder of Urban Athletic Club training facilities, and his personal trainers.

Meanwhile, JW Marriott Chicago has a “Fit Squad” group 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, body weight strength and conditioning, boxing, HIIT IT — which combines boxing with high intensity drills — and something called “joga,” described as “yoga for athletes.”

The team also can tailor private training sessions to guests.

At the Swissotel Chicago, travelers don’t even need to leave the venue. The hotel recently unveiled its “Vitality Suite,” a 1,700-square-foot, five-room suite with gym equipment, a Peloton bike and a rowing machine. The television has workouts to follow.

Private training also available — either in the suite or at the hotel’s fitness center.


Westin Hotels also has ramped up its fitness offerings. At certain locations, guests can take an instructor-led spin class on a Peloton bike in the on-site fitness studio, or hop on a Peloton in their own room. If they’ve forgotten their workout clothes, the hotel has them covered: Guests can rent New Balance shoes and clothing.

Perhaps the most ambitious offering is Westin’s “run concierge” program, a sort of cardiotourism program.

Around 250 of the run concierges at properties around the world lead regular group excursions of about three miles.

“We encourage you not to bring your phone to experience and embrace the city that you’re running in,” said Chris Heuisler, a Westin global run concierge. “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.”

When it comes to working out while traveling, Heuisler said, “I think what people want are 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 traveler, then we just hit the jackpot.”

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