The hotel gym has morphed from fitness afterthought to destination-worthy status, thanks in large part to a growing number of wellness-conscious travelers who are demanding more of their lodging than a few treadmills and some tired weight machines.
In its 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, the Miami-based Global Wellness Institute placed the wellness economy at $4.2 trillion, with "fitness and mind/body" accounting for almost $6 billion of that. Today, savvy hotels are taking their cue from commercial clubs and popular brands like SoulCycle and CrossFit by offering technology-smart equipment that allows guests to sync their smartphone apps to track their workouts in real time; group-fitness classes, like pilates, Zumba and TurboKick, led by local trainers; juice bars; sophisticated air-purification systems; relaxation nooks; retail shopping, and more.
When it comes to maintaining a fitness routine on the road, the following five hotel gyms are pushing the bar, and the pulse, even higher.
The Hotel at Midtown, Chicago (above)
If you're a hotel located inside a gym, chances are you offer some seriously good fitness options. And this 55-room property, which opened in 2017 following an $85 million revamp, does not disappoint. Residing in a former tennis complex that's part of the Midtown Athletic Club, the hotel features 16 tennis courts; an expansive spin studio with a theater screen for projection; a zen yoga studio with infrared heat panels; a boxing program designed by George Foreman III, son of former two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman; plus two golf simulators, two heated pools and a full-service spa.
If the weather's good, head outside to the club's enormous deck with spectacular views of the city skyline, a heated 100-foot lap pool and a cenote-inspired hydrotherapy pool.
"The Hotel at Midtown delivers luxury resort amenities coupled with unparalleled health-and-fitness offerings," said Steven Schwartz, president and CEO of Midtown Athletic Clubs. "We believe this pioneer project fills a niche within both the fitness and hospitality industries, and it represents an entirely new opportunity for Midtown to serve and interact with guests and members not just in Chicago, but worldwide."
The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Several months ago, the 569-room Beverly Hilton opened a new 6,000-square-foot fitness center by Upgrade Labs, which confidently bills itself as the "world's first biohacking health and fitness facility." In layman's parlance, that means fitness instructors assess each client's biological, fitness and mental goals and then crunch the data to create tailor-made workouts that will maximize efficiency and achieve optimal results.
Facilities include smart equipment such as the RedCharger, which exposes the body to red and infrared LED lights to promote muscle recovery, decrease inflammation and boost mitochondrial function; and Cold Hiit, a system that combines compression and cooling technology to help the body gain strength, while simultaneously accelerating recovery. The program currently is part of NASA's experimental training programs for flights to Mars. And then there's the Cheat Machine, which promises to give you a week's worth of weight lifting in less than 15 minutes. Small wonder the facility has become a magnet for Hollywood celebrities and star athletes.
"Our members are not satisfied with being average," said Martin Tobias, CEO of Upgrade Labs. "They want to be above average in their ability to meet the challenges a busy life throws at them. Why be average when you can be upgraded?"
The TWA Hotel, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, N.Y.
Scheduled to open this month, the 512-room TWA Hotel has been created using the landmark Eero Saarinen-designed 1962 TWA Flight Center and two new buildings. The property will include a 10,000-square-foot fitness center that will be managed by New York City-based lifestyle-brand designer the Wright Fit, which has more than 140 premium health clubs worldwide in its portfolio. In fact, the center was designed by Wright Fit CEO Jay Wright, a leading strength-and-conditioning specialist and celebrity trainer, and his team.
The 24-hour facility will offer Wright Fit's signature mix of futuristic and best-of-the-past equipment, including strength-trainers like sandbags, kettlebells and TRX equipment, as well as conditioning machines such as rowers, treadmills and ellipticals. Guests can use the yoga studio, book a personal-training session or sign up for any number of group classes, such as spinning, and then cool down afterward in the on-site cafe stocked with healthy snacks and juices. There also is an outdoor pool and an observation deck, where you can get in a few laps while watching planes take off and land.
The Equinox Hotel NYC, Hudson Yards, New York City
Its marketing tagline, "Where the science of fitness meets the art of travel," is enough to make fitness fanatics weep with joy. Expected to open next month, the 200-room Equinox Hotel NYC will take up residence in a soaring tower in the $25 billion Hudson Yards development. Among its more conspicuous offerings will be a 60,000-square-foot, 24-hour fitness center that is making a play for the same upscale, health-conscious demographic that has made the luxury fitness brand synonymous with the pursuit of elite training.
The largest fitness facility in the Equinox portfolio, it will feature an indoor saltwater lap pool, an outdoor pool and sundeck, and the latest in high-tech cardio equipment. The gym also will offer personal training, as well as cycling, Pilates and dance-inspired cardio-burning group classes. Still not impressed? How about a class that requires participants to climb the centerpiece of Hudson Yards, the 150-foot-tall outdoor Vessel? Locker rooms will feature luxury body products from Kiehl's, and a retail boutique will feature high-end fitness brands like LNDR, P.E Nation and Lululemon.
Boston Park Plaza
Part of the 1,060-room Boston Park Plaza's $100 million renovation in 2016, the 19,000-square foot Lynx Fitness Club is in the hotel's lower lobby. It brings together the top trends in fitness and nutrition, an expert training staff, state-of-the-art facilities, luxurious amenities and Beantown's first Topgolf Swing Suite -- the first in New England -- for PGA-certified golf training. The suite features three simulators, comfortable lounge seating, HDTVs and F&B service from the hotel, which makes it an ideal venue for entertaining.
Hotel guests and gym members can choose from a long list of studio classes, including high-intensity interval training, ab workouts, barre, yoga, cross training, boxing, running and much more.