Published on September 28th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
Travel Fit: Great Hotel Gyms in Latin America
BY MARK CHESNUT
REPRINTED BY PERMISSION FROM LATIN BUSINESS TRAVELER
Better equipment, new training programs and breathtaking views are moving fitness on the road forward.
Working in a bit of exercise during business trips is a promise that many travelers make to themselves, but not everyone keeps. But hoteliers are doing their part to make the prospect more alluring, as properties around Latin America upgrade their equipment, diversify their services and step up the amenities.
Several international chains have branded fitness facilities that are relatively consistent from property to property. Westin Hotels and Resorts, for example, is home to the WestinWORKOUT Gym, which is furnished with cardio and weight equipment as well as fitness magazines, headphones and entertainment selections. In some locations, guests can also make use of the RunWESTIN program, offered in partnership with New Balance, which leads guests along jogging routes with a Run Concierge.
In Mexico’s capital, guests at the St. Regis Mexico City are treated to an inspiring view from the 15th-floor gym, which has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out upon Chapultepec Park. TechnoGym and Balanced Body are the equipment of choice here, with treadmills, Cardio Wave trainers and a Kinesis Wall, designed to promote movement and flexibility and divided into sections with rotating loop cables of different heights. The indoor relaxation swimming pool, billed as the city’s only infinity pool, is bordered by separate men’s and women’s spa areas, and a juice and tea bar offers healthy refreshments.
Mexico’s beachfront destinations also excel at offering diverse fitness activities for travelers looking to release work-related stress. At the JW Marriott Cancun, a business-friendly property with more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, weary conventioneers can join a free “Rise and Stretch” class on the beach, or opt for a class in the aerobics studio or a fast game on the tennis courts. The fitness center also offers daily group toning, spinning and Pilates classes. Nearby, Hotelera Posadas’ Live Aqua Cancun, an adults-only hotel, offers morning yoga classes outdoors. On the opposite coast, travelers will find similar experiences at the company’s Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf Resort & Spa.
Travelers looking for a quick workout that’s convenient to the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, might consider the Hotel Real InterContinental & Club Tower Costa Rica, located in Escazú. There, the nearly 20,000-square-foot Spa Urbano has a fitness center equipped with TechnoGym equipment, complete with iPod docks. Perhaps the most inspiring gym view in Central America, though, is at Panama City’s InterContinental Miramar, where you’re never far from a sweeping vista of Panama City’s bay (check into the club for access to the swimming pool with the best view).
The InterContinental Buenos Aires, meanwhile, is home to the U Gym & Spa, which is operated by Vilas Club. The spa offers programs designed around the concepts of “Action & Relax,” with trainers suggesting activities that combine and contrast exercise with relaxation, based on each client’s needs. Also in Argentina’s capital, the Hilton Buenos Aires recently installed new Technogym equipment, including bikes with a 19″ touch screen called Visioweb that allows users to surf the Internet, play games and watch TV or video workout tutorials. According to the hotel, the gym’s high-tech amenities have attracted high-profile sports stars, including Guillermo Vilas, Gabriel Batistuta, Emanuel Ginóbili, Diego Maradona, Pelé, Lionel Messi, Jorge Valdano and Björn Borg.
Brazil is a great place to check out stylish fitness centers at some of the nation’s best upscale hotels. At the Emiliano in Sao Paulo, the 24-hour fitness center, located just below the rooftop helipad, offers near-panoramic views of the city. The city’s Hotel Unique – a member of Design Hotels – has a fitness center that is stylistically consistent with the property’s overall eye-catching style, complete with two open-air heated pools with water slides. And in Rio de Janeiro, guests at the JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro can work out while facing a spectacular view of Copacabana beach. Rio’s legendary beaches and perennially good-looking residents, most likely, provide even more incentive for staying in shape.
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