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Hotel gyms are no longer an afterthought: a closet-sized fitness center tucked away in a hard-to-find corner of the hotel with a 20-year-old stationary bike and a set of mismatched free weights.
Today, the quality of a hotel gym is becoming increasingly important to travelers, and the hospitality industry has responded by building better fitness centers for guests.
Of course, some hotels have done better than others. For a top-notch exercise experience consider booking a stay at one of these hotels, where you’ll find an exemplary gym (based largely on size, stand-out features and range of equipment).
The Club on the Park gymnasium and aerobics studio flank either side of a pool on the 47th floor of the legendary Park Hyatt Tokyo. The studio features body sonic flooring, while the gym is equipped with a complete range of Life Fitness weight training and exercise equipment. Uninterrupted panoramas from the club’s floor-to-ceiling windows make this Tokyo hotel gym one with arguably the best view.
The Parker New York Hotel in midtown Manhattan is a fantastic place to stay in the Big Apple, thanks to its rooftop pool and Central Park views. It also has one of the best hotel fitness centers in the world. The 15,000-square-foot, multilevel Gravity fitness center is great for serious weight lifters (with over 10,000 pounds of free weights), functional fitness enthusiasts and cardio lovers. Enjoy access to heavy dumbbells, barbells, treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowers, personal training sessions and more.
The 1 Hotel in South Beach, Miami features the first-ever Spartan Gym through a partnership with Spartan Race (the company that runs the extremely popular obstacle course mud races). The 14,000-square-foot facility includes Spartan Race-style obstacles, climbing ropes and monkey bars. The strength area of the gym has dumbbells, kettlebells, Spartan rigs and other training equipment, and the gym also includes three classrooms for group workouts; a private training room for one-on-one instruction; and outdoor workout areas. This is, after all, Miami.
Finally, a hotel gym inspired by the functional fitness movement! Among professional athletes, it’s been hailed as one of the best hotel gyms. Ever. Alexis Hotel in Seattle offers guests monkey bars, Olympic rings, kettlebells, boxes, jump ropes and a cardio room with a mural of the Seattle skyline. The functional fitness room has a rock climbing wall so you can have some real fun while getting in your physical activity.
St Martins Lane partnered with London’s hotter than thou fitness brand, Gymbox, to offer a boutique workout experience adjacent to the luxury hotel. Here, in the underground space, hotel guests can work out with high-end cardio and resistance equipment, Olympic-sized boxing rings and a huge “hammer strength” free weights section. There are also a number of unusual classes available, as well as personal training sessions. With laser-lit dance studios and resident DJs, it’s a nightclub-like fitness experience you won’t soon forget. In addition to complimentary access to the Gymbox, hotel guests also receive free daily gym kit laundering.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul is considered one of the best hotels in South Korea, and the spacious fitness center reflects the high quality of the guest experience. The 8,772-square-foot facility includes a strength training area, cardio and stretching zones, a juice bar and Pilates studio. The weight training and cardiovascular room is full of modern equipment, including weight machines, stationary bikes and 16 treadmills, among others.
Unlike most hotel gyms, you probably won’t ever have to wait for a treadmill at the sprawling 193,750-square-foot Talise Fitness in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. There are also free weights and cardio machines, kettlebells, TRX straps and boxes that are perfect for functional workouts, along with an impressive 20-foot rock climbing wall, an outdoor functional training area and running trails, four swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts and — best of all — private beach access and a beautiful marina view.
The Shangri-La Health Club at Hotel Jen Beijing features 11 different workout zones, a mixed martial arts ring, a swimming pool with a skylight, a sauna, juice bar and several fitness studios. But the club’s distinct street art-inspired look, with graffiti-covered walls, is what gives it a contemporary feel and makes it a standout hotel gym. Massive windows also create a light-filled training environment.
The split-level Health Club at The Langham has plenty of cardio and strength-training machines and free weights, but personal trainers are available, too, and there are an array of workout classes including Tai Chi, yoga, meditation and singing bowl sound therapy. Yes, really. Guests will also undoubtedly enjoy the fantastic views of Hong Kong from the Health Club on the 15th floor.
Spanning nearly 9,000 square feet, the top floor Club Olympus Spa and Fitness center at the Grand Hyatt offers beautiful views of Berlin below. The recently-renovated fitness center is open 24 hours a day and has a wide range of free weights, including dumbbells and barbells. Guests will also find a selection of TechnoGym Kinesis Personal Vision fitness equipment.
Gyms usually occupy only a small part of a hotel, but the reverse is true at the Midtown Athletic Club in the Hotel at Midtown in Chicago. This is more of a hotel within a gym, and it’s incredible. Six levels and 575,000 square feet await guests, who have access to Crossfit and athletic performance programs on the 40-foot turf field, a fitness floor with cardio and strength equipment, three squash courts, a boxing studio, two golf simulators, a cycling studio, a basketball court, yoga and Pilates studios, four pools and a tennis lounge with 16 courts. Guests can join yoga, Pilates and meditation classes, or book private sessions instead.
Chris Castellano is a travel fitness specialist and the founder of Fittest Travel. He recently self-published his first book, “Fit For Travel: Your Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great While Traveling.”
Featured image courtesy of Four Seasons Seoul.
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