Opting for hotels with yoga classes or personal trainers

NEW YORK •It was not the price, loyalty points or location that most influenced Ms Ruth Furman to book a stay at the Holiday Inn Express Waikiki in Honolulu last summer. It was the yoga.

Namely, the free poolside yoga every weekday morning.

Ms Furman, who makes fitness a priority at home, knew the yoga offering would increase the odds of working out during vacation too.

"Many times in the past, I have looked up nearby gyms or fitness classes only to do nothing," said Ms Furman, who lives in Las Vegas.

"This trip, I wanted to be intentional about making fitness classes a part of my vacation and didn't want to have to go out of my way."

It worked. "Since it was so convenient, it was a sure thing," she noted.

Not every Holiday Inn Express offers free daily yoga. Perks at individual hotels in the Intercontinental Hotel Group - which counts Holiday Inn Express among its brands - differ by property and that is true with most of the major chains.

But with a little searching, travellers can find a hotel that offers more than a cramped gym to help them stay on top of their workout routine - whether it is through yoga classes, connecting them with personal trainers or actually leading them on runs around town.

That is because the personalised fitness trend is gaining strength in a wide range of hotels, said Ms Deanna Ting, senior hospitality editor for Skift, a website that covers the business of travel through news and research.

In New York City, a business called Strength In Numbers (SIN) Workouts is available to send personal trainers to meet guests at the hotels it partners with, either in their rooms or hotel gym.

Other hotels have gone a step further and hired in-house personal trainers.

At Kimpton Glover Park Hotel in Washington, guests can work out in the gym with resident fitness expert Graham King, founder of Urban Athletic Club training facilities, and his team of personal trainers.

JW Marriott Chicago has a "Fit Squad" team of 10 elite trainers led by Mr Jason Raynor, a strength and performance coach.

The trainers lead classes in kickboxing, yoga, functional strength and conditioning, ropes and bells, bodyweight strength and conditioning, boxing, HIIT IT (which combines boxing with high-intensity drills) and something called "joga", described as "yoga for athletes".

Westin Hotels has also ramped up its fitness offerings. But perhaps its most ambitious offering is a "run concierge" programme, which can result in some serious calorie burning while doubling as a cardiotourism adventure.

Around 250 of the run concierges at properties around the world lead regular group excursions of about 4.8km. The frequency and distance varies by location; at some hotels, guests can request a one-on-one run.

"We encourage you not to take your phone to experience and embrace the city that you're running in," said Mr Chris Heuisler, a Westin global run concierge.

"They'll take a picture of you and a landmark as opposed to you taking selfies. It just changes the experience and the game of running in a new city."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2019, with the headline 'Opting for hotels with yoga classes or personal trainers'. Subscribe