When you travel what do you look for in a hotel? Of course, most people will choose price and/or hotel chain if they have a preferred guest program. But what amenities do you look for? Free internet? Cable? Breakfast? On-site restaurant? I like to know if the hotel has an on-site fitness center at no extra cost (if you have been to Las Vegas you know what I am talking about) or what I think is even better, a place to safely run outside (The Las Vegas Strip does the trick early in the morning). But even if you look for the fitness center, you can’t trust that it will fit you needs even when it has pictures. A fitness center at a hotel I stayed at last month included a treadmill, an elliptical and a fitness ball in a room smaller than my bedroom. Let’s just say it would be uncomfortable if two people were in the room too. I won’t even discuss the “pool.”
Now for those of you who think it is weird think about exercise while traveling, not all of us whole travel are on vacation, and not all of us who exercise need a vacation from exercise. Follow? You should see the fitness rooms at the nutrition conferences! When my husband and I traveled to Hawai’i in 2006 he took his bike with him (I went the cheap route and took my running shoes) and he rode nearly every day we were there. We enjoy our fitness and fit it in even on vacation. It also helps burn off the Mai Tai’s. Even when we went to Boston in November we fit in fitness by walking everywhere, even when it rained. Thankfully the hotel provided umbrellas.
Back to the hotel amenities; a recent article in the Money section of The Wall Street Journal Money (August 7, 2011) “Business or Pleasure, Health is Hot for Hotels” – mentions that more and more hotels are offering health, fitness and wellness amenities for travelers, mostly targeting business travelers, but anyone can enjoy these services. We are talking more than just the fitness center or a map of running trails. This is the in room fitness equipment to gear to staff to help you with your wellness.
I have also seen, but not used, the RunWESTIN ™ Hotel Running Concierge at the Westin Hotel in Boston. I thought this was so cool, but was not staying at the Westin then. I think I heard that I could have used the services even though I was not a guest, but the timing wasn’t right for me (I think the time they met to go run I had a meeting at the same time). I’m guessing other hotels in the Westin chain may also have this service, but I don’t know. I know that some hotels have partnerships with fitness clothing/running shoe companies to “loan” you these items if you have arrived without them for various reasons (airline lost your luggage and you need blow off some energy – not that it would happen), they have it for you.
While Comfort Inn or Motel 6 may not have these services, check out whether the hotel you are staying in has any fitness amenities and use them. If they don’t have these services, ask them anyway to let them know that you are interested and perhaps more hotels will offer these services. Exercising will give you the energy to get through those meetings, or burn some calories for another Pina Colada.