Major hotels toning up their fitness centers
With hotels toning up their fitness centers, you don’t have to forgo exercise on the road
If you’re a veteran road warrior, you know that a steady diet of airports, meetings far from home, late arrivals at hotels, and room service can take its psychic and physical toll very quickly. Fortunately, stiff competition for business-travel dollars has inspired many hotels to make it easier for guests to exercise on the road. Hyatt Hotels Corp. in Chicago, for instance, now has fully equipped health clubs at almost all of its hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. The chain’s Park Hyatt in Philadelphia goes a step beyond, offering guests access to a four-story, 93,000-square-foot fitness club. If there’s no gym at a particular property, the chain will hook you up with a local fitness center. “Our business travelers have been telling us that fitness is something they concern themselves with while traveling,” says Gary Ross, a spokesman for Hyatt. Hyatt isn’t the only hotel group that’s focusing on fitness-minded travelers, and some are upping the ante with additional services. So, if you’re in a strange town for an industry conference or a company retreat and you’re not too keen on sweating in front of the folks you may face in a meeting room later, ask whether your hotel will deliver exercise bicycles or other equipment to your room. Some are willing to do this for free. Other hotels will lend you sporting goods and clothing at no extra charge. For example, Nike, which now provides running shoes and running suits to guests at the RiverPlace Alexis Hotel in Portland, Oreg., is currently negotiating with three leading hotel chains to offer this special service nationwide. Those who seem to spend most of their lives traveling may want to check out The Fitness Guide: Where to Work Out When You’re on the Road, by Kyle Merker (Incline Press, 1997). A 200-page book for the frequent traveler, it contains listings of hotel exercise facilities and health clubs in 45 of the most heavily traveled U.S. cities. Once you choose your hotel destination, remember to call ahead to find out exactly what fitness and spa services are available (as well as in working order) and what the gym’s hours of operation are. Also, ask whether there is a surcharge for the use of the exercise facilities and whether equipment may be brought to your room. If your hotel’s fitness facilities are not to your satisfaction and you don’t mind paying for a daily pass, try the Fitness Zone’s Gyms Locator, on the Web (www.fitnesszone.com/gyms). When you enter your destination city or its zip code, the site produces a list of nearby gyms from its directory of 13,000 clubs. Members of nationwide chains can usually work out at any location without paying a big price. Ask at your gym for a list of out-of-town branches and their fees, if any. The bigger groups of fitness centers, like Gold’s Gym (www.goldsgym.com), Bally (www.ballyfitness.com), and even the YMCA (www.ymca.net), have Web sites on which you can search for a place to pump. Even if your heath club doesn’t have an outpost in the city where you’re doing business, it may be affiliated with a fitness center in the area, so be sure to inquire about that. Although you may have to pay a fee, it will usually be discounted.