Want to travel, but also stick to your fitness goals? Flip Byrnes discovers the Aussie hotels that help you do just that.
A travelling lifestyle can be full of poor choices — high calorie snacks, sleep-ins and the only workout you get is pushing the elevator button. If you can’t stand skipping your fitness training while travelling, these hotel gyms will keep you on the right track. Keep on trucking past the breakfast buffet and instead feast your eyes on some of the best hotels (and their gyms) around the country.
The Buzz: The Langham, Melbourne
When it comes to style, it’s no surprise we’re in Melbourne. The Langham has a spectacular enclosed pool that stays warm in winter and cool in summer thanks to doors that open onto the pool deck, a popular spot for for sun-worshipers to warm up before a swim in the 15-metre long swimming pool or a soak in the adjacent jacuzzi.
The fitness centre is spread over two floors, with panoramic views of the CBD and Yarra River, fitted out with cross trainers, bikes and treadmills featuring internet-enabled touch screens perfect for watching TV shows, checking email (OK, Instagram) or doing a virtual guided walk — a digital jog through San Francisco is very popular. If solo isn’t your thing and you need more of a crowd vibe, the exercise studio offers group classes in meditation, yoga, Pilates and boxing for $20 a session.
The Run Concierge: Westin, Melbourne
Want to explore Melbourne at sunrise? At the Westin Melbourne, you could join a group run with their Run Concierge (yes, that’s a thing) on a 3km or 5km run. Forgot, well, everything? For a measly $5 you can borrow New Balance shoes (with a fresh pair of socks) and clothes — just request your size and they’ll be delivered to your room. The Westin seriously loves runners; they greet you post-run with a bottle of cold water and a towel. And the hotel gyms (they have not one, but two!) are A-list, packed with cardio machines, plus cross training apparatus including resistance bands and stability balls – great for joggers.
State-of-the-art gym: Crown Towers, Perth
The new Fitness Centre at Crown Towers is a stunning workout space with the very latest cardio and weight equipment as well as private training programs. Open 24 hours a day, the gym is 570 square metres and holds treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bicycles, various weight machines, a free weight area, stretching section and a boxing area. There’s also Expresso exercise bikes for an interactive fitness experience. Every guest who uses the gym also has access to complimentary towels and water.
Some Om in Your Workout: Capri by Fraser, Brisbane
Namaste. The Capri by Fraser in Brisbane is a hotel residence designed by award-winning Ministry of Design with a rainforest vibe — literally. With vertical living gardens and its own on-site Paleo restaurant, Asana by Pete Evans (whose head chef Josh Harris is also a graffiti artist — so cool it’s almost ridiculous), this is a one stop reboot shop.
With a “work, stay and play” motto it’s no surprise Capri by Fraser has also just opened its latest ultra-trendy residence in cutting edge downtown Berlin.
They also figure their market of connected Millennials, who currently spend $200 billion per year on travel according to Fraser, need to work out amid all that globetrotting. Its Brisbane gym is open 24/7 with everything you can think of, from an indoor swimming pool to free weights, steam room and a Spin and Play laundrette next door to the foosball table and Xbox Kinect with big screen TV, so you can do some laundry, play games and work out at the same time. Not enough? There’s a motherlode of biking and jogging networks just outside the door of the hotel and through the Botanic Gardens.
Bigger Than Ben Hur: The Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
What’s not to love about the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra? Packed with old world charm, the 1920s Art Deco low rise is Canberra’s classy glamour-puss. It also has one of Australia’s largest gyms — The Clubhouse — at a whopping 1090 square metres (or approximately ten times the size of a generous 2 bedroom Sydney apartment). We guess those visiting dignitaries need space for on-treadmill world-domination planning.
We’re keen on the cardio theatre, wired with music and TV technology to tailor to your mood. There’s also group classes free for hotel guests in yoga, boxing, Pilates and water aerobics in the 15m pool. Plus a floodlit tennis court, sauna and mountain bikes for doing hot laps of Lake Burley Griffin.
Not staying in? You’re invited to join the party — unlike many hotels, their fitness centre is open to the public for a fair fee. Very diplomatic.
More is More: Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast
Exclusivity is an integral part of the Versace brand, and the fitness centre in the group’s luxury hotel on the Gold Coast is no exception. After all, the Fitness and Wellbeing Centre sees stellar sweaters such as hotel guests U2, The Rolling Stones, Pink and Snoop Dogg.
Do a cardio or weight-training session in the spacious gym with its state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and cool down through the large glass doors in a tranquil private garden. Dial it up or down in a yoga, Pilates, boxing, circuit-training or metabolic-conditioning class for $20 a session.
To completely unwind, head to the hotel’s Aurora Spa for a dip in the plunge pool or a swim in the award-winning 63-metre pool with its own white sand beach. Animal print workout gear and daring swimwear won’t even get a second glance here — the Versace brand has never been known for subtlety.
Room with a View
The Sofitel Brisbane and its SoFit gym, with floor to ceiling windows and cityscape views from the 30th floor — a space usually reserved for penthouse residents — always provides a great distraction when sweating but not actually going anywhere. They also have an interactive touch screen system with a Virtual Gym Instructor, which you can (perhaps happily) also turn off. accorhotels.com
The In-Room Instructor
How about waking up with a pro surfer? Sally Fitzgibbons, to be exact. Being a surfing champion doesn’t come from sitting on the couch when on land. An ambassador for Novotel Resorts & Hotels, she’s created In Balance, an in-room fitness channel. It’s energising and there’s no equipment required. And she’s worked with a team of chefs to create a Healthy Choices menu. The champ herself says: “travelling and staying in hotels shouldn’t have to mean no exercise and poor food choices.” Amen to that. novotel.com
The Shangri-La, tucked into Sydney’s The Rocks is, in short, the full package. The hotel is beautiful, the bar is gorgeous and the award-winning Chi Spa is beyond divine, so it fits that the fully equipped gym and indoor swimming pool make a splash — let’s not forget the attached sundeck either. Personal trainers are also on hand to provide guests with fitness assessments, training sessions and program outlines. shangri-la.com
The Sydney Secret
Near to the hotel-dense Sydney CBD, take a morning exercise loop at Observatory Hill Park near where the bicycle ramp comes off the Harbour Bridge. It’s one of few city parks with outdoor equipment, and is quite the Insta-worthy workout location thanks to sweeping, panoramic views of the harbour, including the bridge. The three fitness stations offer basic equipment and routines (think curls and chin ups), but the much-loved exercise spot gets packed on either side of 9-to-5. Head here to mingle with in-the-know Sydneysiders.
Climbing in Iceland, snowboarding in Kashmir or trekking in Mongolia, for over 15 years Flip has been going extra yards to provide off the beaten track pieces for media in Australia, Europe and the USA, inspiring her readers to never stop exploring.