ShareThis Page
Hotels sweat the details to help guests meet their fitness needs |

Hotels sweat the details to help guests meet their fitness needs

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:30 a.m
La Peer Hotel
Guests take part in a yoga class at Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood, Calif. MUST CREDIT: La Peer Hotel.
Westin Hotels & Resorts
Guests at some Westin Hotels can use a Peloton bike in their own rooms.

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,” 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.”

It worked.

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

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.

More than a cramped gym

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 on top of 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, says 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 says. “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.”

Yoga mats and more

The Kimpton Hotels chain puts yoga mats in all of 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, 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. Guests can also download a custom 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 (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 simply call down to the concierge to book a session. Guests at other hotels in New York can reach out directly to SIN.

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. Other hotels have gone a step further and hired in-house personal trainers.

Resident fitness experts

At Kimpton Glover Park Hotel in Northwest Washington, guests can work out in the gym with resident fitness expert Graham King, founder of Urban Athletic Club training facilities, and his team of personal trainers. Their signature offering is the “Urban Athlete Class,” which combines strength, cardio and core exercises.

There are also classes for kettlebell training, conditioning and more, as well as personal training sessions. King is also available to design workouts for breaks during meetings.

JW Marriott Chicago has a “Fit Squad” team of 10 elite 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 can also tailor private training sessions to guests.

‘Vitality Suite’

At the Swissotel Chicago, travelers don’t even need to leave their accommodations to get their burn on. 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 is loaded with workouts to follow.

Private training is also available — either in the suite or at the hotel’s fitness center, where group classes, including yoga, boot camp and other classes are complimentary Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Westin Hotels also has ramped up its fitness offerings. At select 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 borrow New Balance shoes and clothing for $5.


But perhaps the most ambitious offering is Westin’s “run concierge” program, which can result in some serious calorie burning while doubling as a cardiotourism adventure.

Around 250 of the run concierges at properties around the world lead regular group excursions of about three miles. The frequency and distance varies by location; at some hotels, guests can request a one-on-one run.

“We encourage you not to bring your phone to experience and embrace the city that you’re running in,” says Chris Heuisler, who is 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.”

The run guides all have different roles at Westin properties. There are general managers, executive chefs, bellmen, heads of sales. All of them volunteer to be part of the program, showing guests around town while working out at no charge.

“We just want to do all we possibly can to help the traveler maintain their routine on the road,” says Heuisler, who is also a running coach and a marathoner. “And as it pertains to running, it can be pretty daunting to run in a new city. You don’t want to get lost. You don’t know where to go. You don’t really know your surroundings.”

When it comes to working out while traveling, “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,” Heuisler says. “If we can do your homework for you, as an active traveler, then we just hit the jackpot.”

Kate Silver is a Washington Post writer.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, or via Twitter .

Categories: Features | Travel
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.