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2007: The Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S.
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SAN DIEGO, Dec. 13, 2007 - Athletic-Minded Traveler LLC, a San Diego-based active lifestyle media company that operates the largest healthy travel site on the web, http://www.athleticmindedtraveler.com, released today its 2007 ranking of "The Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S." The Top 10 hotel gyms received the company's recommendation after ongoing research of over 3,500 hotels and anonymous personal tours by the editorial staff.

Selection criteria included facility size, equipment quantities, multi-sport options (e.g., lap pool, sport court, etc.), cost and overall
ambiance/atmosphere. To be considered as a "hotel gym", the facility must be located on hotel property or within an adjacent building.

"These hotels deserve special recognition for supporting and encouraging travelers' healthy and athletic-minded lifestyles," said Jim
Kaese, Co-founder and Managing Member of Athletic-Minded Traveler LLC. "Our online resource has experienced tremendous growth and success because millions of business and leisure travelers now care about exercise options while away from home (up to 50% in one study) and want to learn about fantastic accommodations and facilities like these."

The Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S. for 2007 are:
 

1. Houstonian (Houston)

Awarded the top spot again, our #1 hotel gym is located in a city that often heads the “fat” lists. Visiting guests need not worry about Houston’s unhealthiness as the Houstonian is an athletic-minded paradise. The hotel’s health club is an enormous 125,000 square feet of fitness bliss with equipment, weights, and machinery lined up as far as the eye can see and encircled by a 1/9-mile indoor track! Twenty-two ellipticals, 16 treadmills, 14 upright bikes, and 8 step machines stand at attention. Those in search of a strength session will benefit from the mix of 35 selectorized weight stations and 12 Hammer Strength free weight machines.

Swimmers will do flip-turns over the Houstonian’s outdoor lap pool. Marked with floating lines and bottom stripes, the 25-yard rectangle is a competition level pool with all the bells and whistles, except for backstroke flags.  Additional athletic-minded highlights of this urban paradise include: the Trellis Spa and Salon, playing privileges at the private Redstone Golf Club (home of the Shell Houston Open), and access to a multitude of tennis, paddle, racquetball, and basketball courts.

Who knew Houston could be so healthy?

2. Renaissance ClubSport (Walnut Creek, CA)*

As our top newcomer, you know this hotel gym must be good to unseat all but one of our Top Picks. The work out options are so vast here, we’re not sure whether to describe Renaissance ClubSport as a hotel with a gym or as a gym with a hotel? 

The 85,000 square-foot facility is filled to the brim with cardio pieces (over 90), weight equipment (Hammer Strength, Cybex, Free Motion, etc.), five group exercise studios and a basketball court. Over 110 classes are taught each week, including Yoga and Pilates. And, Clubsport’s aquatic center offers a splendid, 6-lane x 25-yard outdoor lap option as well as a convenient children’s pool. 

Post-workout, hotel guests can wind down with a massage and/or salon service at ClubSport’s R-Spa. There’s no better way to reward yourself for staying committed to a healthy lifestyle than a professional rub. 

3. Park Hyatt at the Bellevue (Philadelphia)

Another city not known for its physical fitness and healthy local fare (can you order a Philly-Cheesetofu sandwich yet?), athletic-minded visitors to Philadelphia can experience the third best hotel gym in the U.S. by staying at the Park Hyatt. Guests receive complimentary access to the adjoining Sporting Club at Bellevue—a 93,000 square foot fitness behemoth with a multi-level atrium floor plan that includes a NBA-sized basketball court on the lowest floor and huge surrounding balconies on the way up (think rectangle with the middle cut out). A 1/12-mile indoor track, weight and cardio areas, racquet sport courts, and a café/juice bar are offered on the upper levels. 

The fitness floor is adorned with a ton of the industry’s latest technology and exercise favorites. Those wishing to push their anaerobic threshold can choose among more than 20 treadmills, nearly 20 recumbent bikes, 15 ellipticals, a dozen upright bikes, and seven 4400 PT series Stairmaster Free Climbers—many of which have individual plasma televisions. The club’s weight selection is just as strong with close to 50 selectorized weight stations, 15 Hammer Strength machines, 8 benches, 2 squat racks, and plenty of other equipment. Over 90 group exercise classes are offered, so those looking for strength in numbers will find it here.

Swimmers are included in the fun. Sporting Club’s 25-meter competition lap pool is easily the best around. Fins, kickboards, pull-buoys, and a pace clock, sit on deck of this 4-lane beauty containing floating lines and bottom stripes. A Masters program is even available from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (call to confirm time).

We could easily spend all day here—especially given the fully stocked plush locker rooms and spa services.

4. Four Seasons (San Francisco)

A premier luxury hotel chain, it’s no surprise that one of Four Seasons’ properties makes our “Best” list. Boasting over 100,000 square feet of health conscious opportunities in a museum-like environment, workout addicts will never want to leave. Hundreds of the latest cardio machines, many with attached plasma screens, sparkle like new. Any strength routine is possible in the 10,000 square foot weight training gym—the size of some entire health clubs. Whatever your passion, you’ll find it here. Life Fitness’ 9700 series treads and 9500 series computerized bikes, StairMaster’s 4600PT model steppers, fixed weight barbells, and Lemond spin bikes. Group therapy makes a strong showing too with endless class options displayed on wall-hanging 42-inch interactive plasma screens.

With all the space, there had better be a true lap pool, right? The Four Seasons comes through with its 8-lane, 25-yard water box marked with floating lines and bottom stripes. Narrow lanes preclude sharing, but they are wide enough for one hard-core swimmer. 

5. Embassy Suites Lakefront (Chicago)

Do not confuse this stellar athletic-minded accommodation with its sister property on Ontario Street. The “Lakefront” Embassy Suites on Columbus Drive hits a home run for travelers with a penchant for heart and muscle pumping.

Guests should skip Embassy’s lobby-level gym and head straight to the adjacent Holmes Place Health Club. For a reasonable $10/day admission (Embassy Diamond members get in free), guests receive full privileges to this modern and swank health club. Plasma screens adorn the walls, light hardwood floors provide a stylish terra firma and plush locker rooms contribute upscale primping facilities.

Holmes’ cardio and strength equipment defines “cutting edge.” Whether you prefer a sweat standing up, sitting down, or some position in between, this place has you covered. Plenty of classes are offered as well.
Swimmers are treated with equal respect by Holmes’ 25-meter lap pool. Three lanes are divided by floating lines and bottom stripes, so swimming straight is no sweat. Kickboards add variety, but bring a watch for intervals—one of the few items missing in this club is a pace clock.

6. Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine (La Jolla, CA)*

This Hyatt Regency provides guests with access to one of San Diego’s most exclusive health clubs for a small daily fee.

Adjacent to the hotel, a workout at the Sporting Club at Aventine is a real treat. With an atrium-like floor plan, the second story forms a wide circular balcony around the main level creating an expansive workout space with high ceilings and contemporary décor. The Sporting Club stocks nothing but the latest in cutting-edge equipment including brand new StarTrac treads, Life Fitness 9500 series bikes and ellipticals, StairMaster 4400 model steppers and recently purchased Technogym stack-loaded weight stations. Tons of plate weights and dumbbells are on-site along with a snack/juice bar and group exercise studios. Twelve bucks per day is the going rate, well worth the green—Hyatt reward members receive a slight discount.

The Club and Hyatt share a pool, which means hotel guests receive complimentary access to the 25-meter lapper. Four lanes are divided with floating lines and bottom stripes. And the rectangle is wide enough for kids and families without churning the lappers’ water. We noticed no kickboards or pull-buoys, but a Master’s group works out here twice a week, so toys are likely close—you can join in the Master’s fun for $5. 

7. Westin Atlanta Perimeter North (Atlanta)*

Location, location, location…this Westin located 30 miles north of Atlanta breaks into our Top 10 because of its fortuitous site adjacent to the Concourse Athletic Club—an 80,000 square-foot fitness heaven.

Our only qualm with this fabulous sleep and sweat set venue is that Westin guests must pay a hefty $15/day tariff to join in the fun. But, if there’s a gym worth paying for, Concourse is it. Once inside, you’ll find as many exercise options as a Chinese menu has meals. Of course, all the top notch cardio and weight equipment is here (Life Fitness, Cybex, Precor, etc.). But, we’re even more impressed by the indoor (5x 25m) and outdoor (5 x 25yd) lap pools, indoor track, full-size basketball court, racquetball and squash courts, and outdoor clay tennis courts!

8. Grand Hotel (Minneapolis)

Grand Hotel patrons receive privileges at no cost to the 58,000 square-foot facility owned by Lifetime Fitness Corporation. This stately health club maintains an entrance adjacent to, and downstairs from, the hotel lobby. We were awed by the opulent design and detail throughout the club. For example, the main fitness floor’s cherry wood paneled walls, art deco railings, plasma TVs, and 30-foot ceiling, reminded us of a private theater rather than a public sweat house. 

While surroundings are important, good equipment seals the deal—and Lifetime comes through with flying colors. No expense was spared in stocking the gym with top-of-the-line cardio machines, weight-stations and free weights. Plenty of classes are offered, and sporting courts top off the center’s athletic options. Only serious swimmers will feel somewhat slighted by the short, 20-yard lap pool.

9. Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, CO)*

This place is awe inspiring. Originally built as a casino in 1891, this five-star resort is a regal presence at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain.

Immediately behind Broadmoor’s lobby and front building, a vast body of undisturbed water creates a centerpiece for the property. The serene lake is surrounded by low-rise hotel buildings that house different levels of classically appointed accommodations. We don’t know about you, but as soon as we see a lake our first thought is not, “Oh, how beautiful,” rather it is, “Open water swimming?” To our disappointment, a “no-touch, look only” policy governs this potential freestyle venue. 

Our temptation to test this rule quickly fizzled after getting a load of Broadmoor’s impressive fitness center and lap pool. The separately housed and attended facility provides athletic-minded visitors a wide assortment of youthful cardio machines, a large quantity of weight stations and free weight equipment, and a full menu of daily classes—including spin ($10/class).

The club’s outdoor, 2-lane, 25-yard lap pool is a swimmers’ delight. Floating lane lines and bottom stripes divide the water in this year-round rectangle. During the winter months leave some extra clothing on deck to fend off that Rocky Mountain chill.

After working out we like nothing better than a professional rub. On-site massage therapists pamper guests with their magic hands and soothing aura—completing the wonderful Broadmoor experience.  Note: 54-holes of golf are also on-site 

10. Venetian (Las Vegas)

Inside this enormous all-suite resort sits the independently operated Canyon Ranch Spa—a 69,000 square-foot wellness facility (doubling in size for 2008) adorned with the hottest cardio and weight equipment. Reaching the club requires a lengthy hike through the seemingly endless Venetian Mall—so wear your workout shoes and ask for directions. 

All fitness equipment is located on Canyon Ranch’s lower level. Descending the stairs you cannot help but notice the enormous 40-foot rock climbing wall that shoots up to the ceiling. Beyond the faux rock, sweat fiends discover Canyon’s cardio zone where late edition treads, bikes, ellipticals, and steppers (4400PT) await—all with attached personal plasma screens.

In yet another huge space, strength training is the focus with cutting edge stack-loaded machines, computerized resistance machines, and a healthy supply of free weights. And for those with group activity in mind, loads of classes are offered including cycling, yoga, and fitness testing. 

Swimmers must give their Speedos a break. Despite all the space and more on the way, Canyon Ranch has no intention of installing a lap pool of any size—disappointing since not one of the 4 outdoor Venetian pools is “lap-swimmable.”

* denotes a hotel's first appearance in the Top 10.

Please direct questions or inquiries regarding the 2007 AthleticMindedTraveler.com Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S. list to Carolyn Day, (619)491-0132 or media@athleticmindedtraveler.com.

About Athletic-Minded Traveler LLC

Athletic-Minded Traveler LLC is an active lifestyle media company offering print and online business solutions to thousands of individuals,
Fortune 500 companies and content providers. The San Diego-based company serves its clients and generates content via a staff of experts. Inquiries can be addressed at 1-877-272-6657 and online at http://www.athleticmindedtraveler.com. Athletic-Minded Traveler products and content have appeared in and been recommended by CNN, Headline News, Newsweek Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Men's Health, Cooking Light, Outside, Fitness, Health, Shape, Runner's World, and many others.

All trademarks acknowledged.

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Contact:

Carolyn Day
(619)491-0132
media@athleticmindedtraveler.com
AthleticMindedTraveler.com
 

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Also See: 2006 Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S. / Jim Kaese / December 2006
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