Keep Your Bag From Smelling Like a Gym by Using Westin's Workout Gear Lending Program
Many hotels and resorts offer gyms, but packing workout clothing and shoes takes up precious space in your suitcase. And, frankly, these items might make your suitcase smell like a gym. Although smelly items are only a minor inconvenience when you're heading home, they become more problematic on a multi-city trip or if you live on the road like I do.
There are many solutions to smelly gym clothing and shoes, ranging from washing clothing to wearing merino wool clothing to using shoe bags. But, Westin properties offer an additional solution: the Gear Lending program. I'd seen this program offered at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii's Big Island, but I finally tried it out at the Westin Langkawi on a recent trip. Here's my experience using the program, as well as what you need to know about the program.
What's Westin's Gear Lending Program?
Westin’s Gear Lending program allows you to leave your workout clothing and running shoes at home by providing New Balance shoes and clothing for guests to borrow. For about $5 per stay, Westin will provide you with New Balance workout gear -- a shirt, shorts, running shoes and socks -- in your desired size. These items are yours to use throughout your stay; you simply leave them in your room when you checkout.
This program is offered at all Westin properties globally, but it's not offered at any other Marriott properties. If you want the clothing refreshed or washed during your stay, you can do so by exchanging the clothing and shoes for a new set for about $5. And, if you decide to keep any of the items besides the socks when you check-out, you'll be charged the manufacturer's retail price.
How Do I Use the Program?
To request workout clothing and shoes, simply press the Service Express button on the phone in your room. You'll need to provide your desired clothing and shoe sizes. Normally the items will then be delivered to your room within about 15 minutes, but in some cases the hotel may ask you to pick up the items so you can ensure the shoes fit properly. You'll see the approximately $5 rental fee on your statement at check-out.
Is It Sanitary?
This program isn't for you if you simply aren't willing to wear clothing or shoes that have been previously worn by other guests. But, Westin says that all clothing is laundered immediately after the clothing is returned. So, the clothing you receive will be clean.
Socks are personal, so the socks you receive with your gear lending delivery are new and yours to keep. Most New Balance socks cost at least $5 a pair, so it's a good deal if you'll use the socks after your stay.
And, hotels frequently replace sneaker insoles and refresh shoes. So, each pair of shoes should feel like new and carry no smells or dirt from previous uses.
A Marriott representative said that all clothing and shoes are replaced approximately once a year. When gear is retired, hotels are instructed to donate the clothing and shoes locally.
What's It Like to Use Westin Gear Lending?
Even though we travel with workout clothing of our own, my husband JT and I decided to try out the Gear Lending program during a recent stay at the Westin Langkawi. After all, it's nice to get someone else's clothing and shoes sweaty and sandy.
At this property, it cost RM15 (about $4) to borrow clothing and running shoes for our stay. We called Service Express to request our clothing and provide our sizes, but we were told to come to reception to "try them on." When we arrived at reception, our clothing and shoes were quickly obtained from a back room -- seemingly previously prepared -- and we were asked to try on the shoes. We got the exact shoe sizes we requested (women's size 10 and men's size 12).
Both men's and women's shorts have built-in underwear. But, women should be aware that a sports bra is not provided. And, our sets didn't contain socks -- which I didn't realize should have been included until I started researching the program after the stay to write this piece.
The clothing we received smelled freshly laundered and looked brand new. The shoes looked lightly used, but didn't have any notable smell or wear to them. As is often true with new New Balance shoes, we both found the arch support to be mildly uncomfortable at first -- but our feet quickly became accustomed to the shoes. The clothing fit as expected, and was so comfortable that I considered purchasing the shorts.
The Westin Gear Lending program is an excellent resource for active travelers that either don't want to travel with exercise gear or would prefer to keep their own exercise clothing clean. I'll certainly use the Gear Lending program again next time I stay at a Westin property. After all, you essentially get free use of workout clothing and shoes during your stay when you purchase a pair of socks for about $5. Hopefully more hotels will begin offering similar programs, since surely this is beneficial to both the hotel and to the clothing brand: New Balance gets more customers if guests are satisfied with the clothing and shoes they borrow and Westin provides a service to their guests that fits well with their wellness brand.