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Staying with a fitness regimen while on vacation can be a challenge. Many hotel fitness centers are uninviting caves with no windows or full of old equipment, and you are not familiar with the city you are traveling to or have any idea where to walk or run. A recent study by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s Center for Hospitality Research found that 46 percent of travelers visiting hotels intend to utilize a hotel’s fitness center, but only 22 percent actually do.

While the study does not attempt to determine the reasons behind not using a hotel’s fitness center, we would surmise that there are a several possibilities:

  1. It could be that travelers (those on holiday and traveling for business) find it all too easy to ditch the fitness routine once on the road and spend more time sleeping in, getting out early for sightseeing, or perhaps just finding full immersion at a breakfast buffet.
  2. From the many dingy, sad hotel fitness centers HI Travel Tales has frequented, it would also not be hard to imagine some travelers prefer to forego an indoor workout and opt for heading outdoors instead.
  3. And then there is that “why workout, I’m on vacation” feeling we know can creep into the relaxed mind as the body adjusts to a new routine and finds blowing off physical activity all too easy.

The bottom line is, keeping fit while traveling really isn’t that difficult with a bit of creativity and inspiration. Also with the realization that you can also do a little bit less and still maintain fitness – considering you may be walking to sightsee also.

Sometimes, as we have discovered, it takes untraditional hotel fitness centers that offer extraordinary features and programs to inspire action. Here are four:

Element Boston Seaport (Boston, Mass.) – Guests can power up their personal electronics while they pedal a stationary kinetic bike in this hotel fitness center. The hotel also provides a virtual personal trainer via the Your Trainer app. And if staying indoors is not your thing, borrow a bike and helmet and head outside.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) – This resort is opting for some yoga creativity to inspire activity and fitness. A restorative yoga class with live music combines light stretching for flexibility with live music by professional musicians. There are other creative options too, all with a yoga theme, some more extreme than others.

Hotel fitness centers get creative with yoga.

TRX Yoga at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort.

Pebble Beach Resorts (Pebble Beach, Calif.) – Located at The Studio at The Beach & Tennis Club within the resort, guests can enjoy a program that combines Pilates and the Gyrotonic Expansion System. Views of the Pacific Ocean from the windows promise inspiration – if not wistful longing.

Marriott Syracuse Downtown (Syracuse, N.Y.) – This new Marriott, which opened in an historic building in the fall of 2016, partnered with Fitness on Demand to offer its guests an interactive library of more than 1,000 solo and group classes, 24 hours a day. And this hotel looks like it opted for prime space by putting its hotel fitness center on the top floor, providing inspirational downtown views.

Hotel fitness centers use creative inspiration.

Fitness On Demand screen and room at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

But don’t worry if you’re not staying at one of the aforementioned hotels, or any others with hotel fitness centers that promise innovative options. It’s not that hard to stick to at least much of your fitness regimen with a little planning. Start by reading our primer, Fitness Tips For Travelers: You can stay fit if you adapt.

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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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