So we’ve talked about the slim gym pickin’s one often gets fed while on the road for business. Dank, damp-smelling hotel or motel gyms with a sad looking, rickety treadmill in the corner, and maybe a few free weights lining the one wall. And that’s it. That’s what you get. For people who either need to or enjoy working out, this is a nightmare scenario. Picture walking into one of those gyms, all set to go in your spandex, and having to leave after five minutes because it’s just too depressing (and you can’t breathe through your nose because of the smell). Now, we aren’t knocking small town hotel gyms (but really we are) but road warriors need a place to expend their energy and rejuvenate after a long flight or car ride. If you’re traveling to a small town, we’ve listed some (partially) viable options. If you’re traveling to a big or medium-sized city, however, the options are pretty darn thrilling. Just wait. We’ll start with the small town hotel gyms to save the (better) for last.
Small Town Hotel Gyms
Small towns are great— quaint, offering a lot of local character and charm. But the accommodations are often lacking, and this can be a huge letdown to business travelers who are passing through and want a well-equipped, comfortable place to stay. If you’re a runner, and don’t mind running in an unfamiliar area, you’ll have no difficulty working out. But if you are a runner and you DON’T want to run in a place you don’t know, you want an alternative. (If you’re not a runner at all, but want a workout, you need an alternative, too.) Here are some options we’ve dug up — the results were surprising and encouraging at the same time!
Bozeman, MT– If you happen to find yourself in beautiful Montana, check out Spire Climbing Center — an indoor climbing and yoga facility that boasts over 18,000 sq feet of climbing/bouldering walls and a large and airy yoga studio for some after-climbing stretching (climbing and bouldering will work every single muscle in your arms, legs and core and you’ll need that lovely post-climbing stretch, trust us). Spire offers day passes ($18 for adults or a 5 punch card with gear for $85). It’s not a hotel gym, but it’s centrally located enough to be within short driving distance.
Burlington, VT– If you’re in Vermont, chances are you’re there to ski or enjoy the fall foliage. However, if you do find yourself in that outdoor mecca for work-related activities, look no further than the Hotel Vermont. In addition to a gym, they offer a full-service yoga studio with classes for all levels of expertise and fitness. Afterward, you can enjoy a session with the onsite massage therapist, or enjoy a hot toddy before bed.
Fargo, ND– We never thought we’d find one here, but Element Fargo seems like a pretty cool place to stay while traveling for business. The hotel boasts a standard gym with a number of different cardio and strength training machines, along with an indoor/outdoor pool to do laps in. There is also a whirlpool and dry sauna. It’s standard gym fare, but not for a small town hotel, that’s for certain.
Big Time Hotel Gyms
Small towns are great, like we said. But we meant, only when we have to go be IN them. Otherwise, it’s a much safer bet to stay in a hotel in a legit city. Granted, we don’t always (or ever) choose where we travel to, but we thought we’d offer some big city ideas in case. (Also, we wanted to live in a fantasy world for a minute — these gyms are LOVELY.)
Miami– Located within the EPIC Hotel, Exhale Spa and Fitness center is the ultimate spot for both sweating it out and relaxation. The center offers fitness classes (including Barre, Cardio, HIIT and Yoga) along with spa therapies (including facials, waxing, nails, acupuncture and massage) and also has a pool and both co-ed and infrared saunas. If being in Miami isn’t relaxing enough, this place will get you there.
Denver– The Four Seasons Denver just renovated their gym, and it’s filled with light (and lots of machines). This fitness department also offers private nutritional counseling, private personal training sessions, and private yoga classes (if you’ve been spending time with your colleagues nonstop, this could offer a welcome respite). Their state-of-the-art spa offers your standard facial, body and massage treatments, but also has customized services for men and teens. Want to kick back with some of your female colleagues (if you haven’t had enough of them already)? Schedule a ‘Happy Hour’, where you can enjoy two customized, 25-minute treatments — and a glass of champagne (we never say no to a nice glass of bubbly).
Chicago– The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is no slouch when it comes to fitness offerings. Their facility offers year-round ways to stay in shape while on the road, including an outdoor track, yoga space and Jr. Olympic-sized swimming pool (with a smaller, indoor lap pool for the colder months). The 8,000 sq foot indoor facility boasts a spinning room, basketball court (now THAT’s a new one!) and a plethora of cardio workout machines to choose from. Relax and unwind with a massage in the spa afterward.
Reno- The Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno is ideal for climbers, but also has bouldering walls for beginners. If you don’t care for heights, check out their group fitness classes — which include all types of yoga (including Acro Yoga), Core Conditioning and Bodyweight Cardio Interval Training classes, among others.
Los Angeles– This might be our fave, because it’s a 130 year-old athletic club that spawned the building of a hotel around it. Charlie Chaplin lived there way back in the day, and as the club was there first, it’s had time to grow into a truly exceptional facility, with an amazing selection of fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, handball, Pilates (mat), squash, basketball, boot camp, tai chi, cycling, water polo, and aerobics. Their pool is a thing of beauty, measuring at 25 yards. The Los Angeles Athletic Club Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you’re wanting after-work workouts.
Wherever You Go, There Fitness Is
It used to be if you were sent to a podunk or otherwise ‘small’ town, you’d be out of luck in terms of workout options. Obviously we want our next business trip to take us straight to LA, but now we know we have options if the destination is slightly less large and well-known. Do your research, and if there isn’t a viable fitness space where you’re going, bring your yoga mat, crank up that hotel thermostat and find some serenity and sweat on your own. It might not be preferable, but it’s certainly possible.