The Definitive Guide to Working Out on Vacation
Destinations spas aside, hotel wellness used to begin and end with a couple of massage rooms and a shoe-box-sized gym. Now many companies are responding to the needs of nutrition-minded, Fitbit-wearing travelers by incorporating holistic programming into every aspect of the guest experience—even launching entirely new brands that are making your health their business.
Here, six ways you can reap the benefits.
Never Miss a Workout
It’s getting harder to come up with a reason for skipping the gym—especially now that hotels are making it easier to break a sweat in the comfort of your own room.
The Excuse: I don’t have time to exercise. The Solution: As part of its brand-wide commitment to wellness, InterContinental Hotel Group’s Even Hotels feature in-room “fitness zones” that include cork flooring, balance balls, resistance bands, and suggested moves. (Urban brand Tryp by Wyndham and Omni Hotels & Resorts also have fitness equipment in select rooms.)
The Excuse: I need someone to motivate me. The Solution: At 45 Park Lane, in London, you can follow local fitness guru Matt Roberts through video drills (just call the front desk for mats and resistance bands). The Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto has joined with Canada’s own Lululemon to produce a 25-minute yoga video that can be streamed via in-room TVs and iPads.
The Excuse: I didn’t have space to pack my running shoes. The Solution: Westin has been loaning New Balance gear to guests for years. Now other hotels are following suit. Loyalty-club members at all Fairmont properties can request Reebok apparel and sneakers, while Trump Hotels offer Travel Fit kits that come with iPods and Under Armour shoes and clothes.
See a Specialist
Want to overhaul your diet and exercise regimen? Urban hotels are now offering the kind of diagnostic tools that have traditionally been found at destination spas. Consultants at the Shilla Seoul are on hand at the gym to give guests a full fitness assessment and to create custom workouts for them. At the Madinat Jumeirah, in Dubai, trainers help guests evaluate and improve their cardiovascular strength in a high-altitude simulator. Other hotels, including the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallasat Las Colinas, have introduced the Bod Pod to their spas. The egg-shaped chamber measures guests’ fat-to-muscle ratio, so that nutritionists can personalize wellness plans.
In the Bag: Hollywood’s latest health obsession is popping up in hotels: IV vitamin treatments are on the menu at Miami's Delano South Beach, which offers guests energy elixirs and immunity boosters, and at MGM Grand’s Reviv spa, in Las Vegas, which features (surprise, surprise) party-recovery and hangover cures.
Say So Long to the Treadmill
Hotels are partnering with popular local gyms and studios to offer guests new ways to stay fit. We’ve picked some of the top workouts and where to try them.
What it is: Ballet meets Pilates meets strength training—no dance skills required.
Why we like it: Nothing gets your quads fired up like doing a couple hundred pliés in quick succession.
What it is: A Cirque du Soleil–inspired twist on yoga, with silk hammocks in place of mats.
Why we like it: With the help of gravity, you can get deeper stretches.
Where to try it: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers classes on site.
What it is: High-intensity cycling classes with breaks for upper-arm conditioning.
Why we like it: Great playlists and a strong communal vibe.
Where to try it: The rooftop of New York City’s Refinery Hotel.
What it is: A blend of cardio and weights that takes cues from competitive cheerleading.
Why we like it: You can burn up to 1,000 calories in a single hour.
Where to try it: The Stratus Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia.
What it is: A military-style mix of squats, weights, and sprints.
Why we like it: Practitioners swear it’s the fastest way to get fit.
Where to try it: Balance Gym’s Foggy Bottom studio, inside the Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown.
Take Time to Relax
Hotels are stepping in to help workaholics and e-mail addicts truly disconnect. Westin pioneered this trend, partnering with meditation guru Andy Puddicombe to develop a series of ten-minute travel-themed podcasts; topics include “Switching Off from Work,” “Using Technology Mindfully,” and “Getting Ready for Sleep.” The new eco-focused 1 Hotels brand is also getting in on the act, with in-room meditation videos and private guided sessions at its first property, in Miami Beach. (Outposts in Manhattan and Brooklyn are coming soon.) The Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, near San Diego, meanwhile, offers its guests free guided meditation and yoga sessions through the neighboring Chopra Center for Wellbeing, founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Thanks to these innovations, you can rest easy on the road.
Smart Beds: Last year, Four Seasons created a customizable bed, allowing guests to pick their preferred firmness for mattress toppers and pillows. At some Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, new curved headboards act as sound buffers.
Soundproofing: The Beverly Hills Hotel’s newly redone rooms have extra padding underneath carpets, noise-reducing door seals, and televisions with low maximum volume settings (so your neighbor can’t keep you up). Book a room in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s Quiet Zone, and you’ll get triple-paned windows along with a service blackout from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.—the ultimate in “Do not disturb.”
Expert Help: Swissôtel Berlin’s Dr. Michael Feld has an arsenal of solutions for guests who can’t stop tossing and turning. Among them: light therapy, power naps on specially designed loungers, or time in a mountain-air simulator. At London’s Corinthia Hotel, you can order dinner from nutritionist Jeannette Hyde’s Sleep Menu, which includes dishes rich in tryptophan and magnesium, or head to the spa for Sleep Ritual treatments that are meant to balance your energy.
Bedtime Gadgets: Omni Hotels & Resorts, Chicago’s Park Hyatt, and the just-openedPalladian, in Seattle, provide white-noise machines upon request. Even night-lights are getting a digital upgrade. In some rooms at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, bedside lights cast a warm glow calibrated to help regulate melatonin levels.
Hotels love a good attention-grabbing amenity, especially one that involves health and wellness. We looked at some of the latest offerings to see which are worth your time.
At many JW Marriott properties worldwide, turndown service includes a vial of Revive Oil, an aromatherapy blend tailored to help guests shake off a long flight—or recover from the night before.
Salad-in-a-Jar vending machines at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare sell dishes ranging from kale with quinoa to lemon-pepper chicken salad. Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe has Paris-inspired yoga instruction cards, in which Downward Dog has been replaced with the “Pyramides du Louvre” pose.
Downloadable GPS maps from Radisson Blu hotels offer programmed (scenic!) running routes for select cities.
Como Hotels has an “intuitive counselor” who leads guests through a visualization process to help find “a new perspective on whatever is troubling or confusing in life.”
At select Westin properties, you can tour a city and work out simultaneously via ElliptiGO, an elliptical-bike hybrid (odd looks from locals be damned).
Element Hotels have stationary bikes that charge your portable devices—powered by your pedaling.
Olympic rower and triathlete Luke Walton leads personal training sessions for guests at San Diego’s US Grant Hotel.
A dedicated concierge at the Nines, in Portland, Oregon, has a workout closet stocked with balance balls, kettlebells, workout DVDs, and Nike FuelBands—all of which can be delivered to your room.
Too time-crunched for an 80- minute massage? JW Marriott’s new Spa by JW recently launched express treatments at the Houston downtown property and will roll them out at more than 20 of the company’s hotels by year’s end. Guests can book podlike suites on the fly for 12- to 25-minute energy-boosting back rubs and muscle-relieving body treatments. The key innovation: amped-up massage chairs with built-in heating, aromatherapy, and plenty of outlets (so your gadgets can recharge while you do the same).