For those of us who want to keep fit while travelling, and who have a measure of control over where we stay, the provision of a gym or swimming pool can be key to our choice of hotel. Many five-star properties have facilities which are the match of, or even superior to, the best private health clubs. For less expensive hotels, it’s a case of making a wise choice.

Which hotel?

If the hotel’s website does not have sufficient information on the gym, call or send an email before booking. Ask what equipment is available, whether the gym has an attendant, whether outside normal hours you can gain access using a key card, and whether showers are available (or if you have to change in your room first).

If there is no gym, ask if the hotel has an arrangement with local establishments, either for free or for a small charge. These can offer excellent value for money since you have all the facilities of a full health club at your disposal.

For those who enjoy running, it’s always worth choosing a hotel near a city park or river, and then asking the concierge if they can recommend a good route. When running, bear in mind your general safety and ask for advice, don’t run with valuables, and check whether there is enough daylight for you to complete your route.

With swimming pools, it may be worth asking if there are any rules on attire. In France, for instance, shorts are often not allowed, and you may have to buy a swimming costume to use the facilities.

Hotel managers will tell you that the gym is busy for only a few hours of the day, and the rest of the time it would make them more money if it was turned into a meeting room. To have the place to yourself, try and find a time that isn’t between 6.30am and 8.00am or 6pm and 8pm.

Some hotels have an executive gym to go along with the lounge as part of their Club or Executive-floor upgrade. Although these facilities won’t have the same range of exercise equipment as the main gym, this might be preferable for those who want a little privacy, particularly if you book a personal trainer to put you through your paces.


We’ve kept our selection to city gyms and swimming pools, partly because that’s where business travellers go, and partly becase we wanted to select 50, not 500. If you think we’ve missed one, let us know.


If you are unhappy with the facilities, mention it to the hotel. The
explosion in spa services in recent years is as a result of guests
demanding them from hoteliers. The same applies to hotel gyms.



1. One Aldwych

Housed in a former bank, this beautiful boutique property just off The Strand has a 750 sqm fitness club in the refurbished vaults. There is 24-hour access and the equipment includes Technogym treadmills with mini TVs, personal trainers and an 18-metre lap pool with underwater music. There are also saunas and three treatment rooms.

2. Four Seasons Canary Wharf

The hotel has a fair-sized fitness centre on the second floor, but make use of the arrangement with the Virgin Active gym in the grounds, which has three floors of fitness facilities and one of the most outstanding pools in London, an indoor infinity affair which gives the sense of swimming in the Thames (without the mud flats and the shipping). It’s open 6am-10pm and a swim here as the sun rises should ensure a successful day. Underneath the pool is a full-size Re-Aqua spa, as well as vitality pools, a sauna and exercise studios.

3. Le Méridien Piccadilly

On the lower ground floor of the hotel, the Piccadilly Health Club is a fabulous, secretive sort of place very popular with those in the know, and has recently been refurbished. It has a state-of-the-art gym, and a 14 x 14 metre pool which looks like something a Roman emperor would build if he found himself in 21st-century London. There is also a sauna, spa bath, steam room, squash court, and a full range of high-tech cardiovascular equipment.


4. Sheraton Grand

Start your day with a workout in this hotel’s brand-new gym or cross the elevated glass walkway which connects it to a giant azure glass cube housing one of Europe’s most advanced city spas, One. On the roof you’ll find a curvaceous outdoor saline hydropool, lit at night, kept at a constant temperature of 35 degrees and affording beautiful views of Edinburgh’s skyline. Below, there is a 19-metre indoor pool bathed in natural light.


5. Hotel de Rome

With Sir Rocco Forte being an accomplished triathelete, it’s hardly surprising that the health facilities at his properties are second to none. The Hotel de Rome is located in the former headquarters of Dresdner Bank, and among the quirky features is a 25-metre pool housed in what was the bank’s jewel vault, a fact that has inspired the myriad of coloured glass mosaic pieces shimmering under the water. Add to this a Finnish sauna and steam room, well-equipped gym, and five spa treatment rooms, and you can see why the leisure facilities are a big draw for Forte guests.


6. Maritim Hotel

A conference hotel in Frankfurt is an unlikely workout venue, but this four-star-plus property offers some of the best fitness facilities in town. Located across the road from the Messe fairground, it has a large health club on the top floor of the building with panoramic views of the city skyline from the well-equipped gym. There is also a ten-metre pool, a solarium and a sauna, all of which are due to reopen on September 1 after a complete refurbishment.


7. Conrad Brussels

A key hotel for visiting dignitaries and high-ranking Eurocrats, the Conrad Brussels also has access to some of the city’s best fitness facilities, at the next door Aspria Avenue Louise. Spread over three floors below street level, the gym, fitted with latest Technogym equipment, makes up for its lack of natural light with views of the 16-metre pool.


8.  Le Méridien

Resting on a sub-level of the hotel, the Le Spa heated indoor pool is 17 metres long. There is no view of the outside world, but the white pillars and walls which surround the area give a calming feeling, and the inside of the pool is lit from below so the water glows. The spa also offers a sauna, steam baths, a solarium and a spa bath, and there is a small but well-equipped gym.


9. The Chedi

Good pools can be hard to find in Milan, so the opening of The Chedi last year is a boon for swimmers. Located in the residential Bovisa district, this “urban resort” is the first European venture from south-east Asian group GHM, and its understated oriental elegance is a welcome relief from Milan’s prevalent bling. As well as the 18-metre glass-covered pool, The Chedi also offers a high-tech gym, spa, Turkish bath and hydro-massage facility.


10. Haymarket Hotel

Hotels don’t get much cooler than the Haymarket (see review at, and the icing on the cake is this 18-metre swimming pool in its basement. By day it is a great place for a water-based workout, by night, a place to party, so even if you can’t swim, make sure to have a drink here. The gym suffers in comparison, being small but perfectly formed with cardiovascular machines, free weights and exercise mats, and training sessions available from the hotel’s in-house personal trainer. There’s also a treatment room offering a full range of services including massage and beauty treatments.


11. Hotel Principe di Savoia

If you want to “see and be seen”, the Principe’s health club is the place to be. Perched on the top floor of Milan’s oldest five-star hotel, Club 10 is popular with locals for its high-end beauty treatments, but the real highlight is the gym, which has views over the city’s rooftops from nearly all its cardiovascular machines. Guests also have use of a small pool, hydro-massage tub, sauna, Turkish bath and roof terrace.


12. Crowne Plaza Rome, St Peter’s

Just outside the city centre, this 310-room hotel offers an outdoor oasis perfect for a summer dip. Relax on a lounger or in the spa bath, and listen to the cicadas in the cypress trees which surround the 25-metre lap pool. Alternatively, head for the tennis courts and practise your swing. Out of season, guests can make use of the indoor pool as well as the spa with Turkish bath and sauna.


13. The Ritz

Appropriately for the city’s flashest hotel, The Ritz contains the largest private swimming pool in Paris. The décor was designed by the owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, and was apparently inspired by the work of English Pre-Raphaelite artist Alma-Tadema – it’s all a bit camp, but the pool is 17 metres long and there’s a also a well-equipped gym. A restaurant and bar overlook the pool area.

14. Pullman Paris Rive Gauche

The first of Accor’s ex-Sofitel properties to open after being rebranded as a Pullman at the end of last year, this deluxe hotel has a fitness centre with sauna, hammam and solarium, as well as a stunning indoor swimming pool on the 22nd floor with panoramic views of the city. While it is not the biggest pool in the world (13 x 7 metres), it’s about as good as it gets in Paris, and the airy space filled with natural daylight creates a very calming atmosphere.


15. Swissotel Krasnye Holmy

Housed in one of the tallest hotels in Moscow, this space-age property houses an Amrita spa and wellness centre with a sauna, solarium and spa bath on the third floor. If body wraps and massages aren’t your thing, there is an oval 13-metre indoor pool overlooked by the fitness centre. Separated by a glass wall, the gym features a wide choice of Cybex cardio and weight-workout machines.

16. Renaissance Moscow

Part of Moscow’s Olympic Sports Complex, the Renaissance was originally built for athletes at the 1980 Games and is surrounded by sports facilities, including two 50-metre pools and a vast multi-purpose stadium. The Renaissance itself has maintained a top-class fitness centre, with its own 22-metre pool and a spacious gym. Sauna and spa services are also available, but the Renaissance’s facilities are really for serious fitness enthusiasts.


17. Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Open all year round, the hotel’s 33-metre outdoor infinity pool is heated in winter and, sitting almost at sea level, overlooks the Bosphorus. Against the backdrop of this luxury resort, within lush gardens with pristine lawns and palm trees, heavenly bodies will fit right in. Inside the hotel, guests will find a nine-metre pool and a fitness centre with Technogym equipment open 24/7.

18. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

Istanbul’s latest luxury property is also housed in a former palace, and makes the most of its waterside gardens with pavilions, a heated whirlpool and a 27.5-metre heated outdoor pool with quiet relaxation area (open May to October, 7am to sunset). Indoors, a well-equipped gym features cardio equipment with LCD touchscreen TVs and headphones, free weights, fruit and bottled water. For the full Turkish experience, there are also three separate hammams in the hotel’s vast spa area.



19. Bliss

Bliss is a self-contained spa and gym, run by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, but sneaks in here partly because of its excellence, and partly because it is housed in the “W” Lexington Avenue, and can be used by guests there and charged to their rooms. The Sweat gym is a large facility with natural light (windows face Lexington Avenue) and has Stair Master, elliptical crosstrainers (with private cable treadmills), free weights, a spa, and a fitness room for pilates and yoga. Personal trainers are also available to help plan a regime for you.


20. The Joule

While the 140 sqm metre deluxe gym is no doubt a draw, it’s the tenth-floor pool which is the jaw-dropping asset at this Starwood Luxury Collection property. The 12-metre cantilevered pool extends 2.5 metres beyond the perimeter of the building – plunge in and swim to the end and you can look down onto the streets below through the Plexiglas wall. At night, passers-by can look up and admire watery illuminations from the 132 fibre-optic lights.


21. The Venetian

You may not have come to Las Vegas to work out, but it’s a shame to pass up facilities this good. The Canyon Ranch Spa Club does charge hotel guests to use the facility (US$35 – or less if you book for three days or more), which seems outrageous, but means it’s free of blundering time-wasters. Instead, you have the run of a comprehensive class schedule (spinning, Cardio Kick, several types of yoga and strength training) and a giant gym with two huge rooms. The 6,400 sqm basement area also has a spa and a three-storey climbing wall.


22. The Standard Downtown

LA is a city of swimming pools, and many of its five-star hotels make a point of having pools with views. Like its sister property in West Hollywood, the Standard Downtown LA has a beautiful open-air pool with the added bonus of views of surrounding skyscrapers. And that’s not all – as well as the heated pool with red Astro Turf deck, there’s a dance floor, bar, outdoor fireplace, vibrating waterbed pods and “a grassy knoll with sculptured topiary”.


23. The Peninsula

Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Michigan are what make this one special – that, and the varied fitness options, including a separate studio for fitness classes. Cardio equipment runs to treadmills and crosstrainers, upright cycles, step machines, a Nordic Track Incline Trainer and free weights. The 25-metre pool has excellent views and natural daylight, and there is a whirlpool and a steam room.


24. Hilton Washington

A 25-metre heated outdoor swimming pool and three clay tennis courts mark this city-centre Hilton out from the crowd, as does the renovated fitness centre, which offers a wide range of aerobics classes. Options include indoor cycling/spinning, Cardio Kick, several types of yoga, Pilates, strength training and cardio sculpt. A well-equipped gym boasts cardio machines with individual flat-panel TVs and personal trainers on demand.


25. Hyatt Regency

The new fitness centre at the Hyatt Regency is fully equipped with state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, Cybex machines and free weights, and overlooks the hotel’s 16-metre indoor pool. There is also a sun terrace, a eucalyptus steam room and two dry saunas.


26. Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville

This boutique hotel in the Yorkville district boasts one of Toronto’s best pools, a 35-metre facility flooded with natural light from a glass roof. The health club is located on the eighth floor and includes several different types of workout equipment. Treadmills, an elliptical machine, rowing machines, free weights, Life Cycles and stair machines are all offered in the fitness centre. A massage, steam room and sun deck are also located on the eighth floor.

Middle East


27. Burj Al Arab

The original “seven-star resort” has two 13-metre indoor swimming pools (one for men and one for women) on the 18th floor, along with two gyms (one mixed and one ladies-only, both with Technogym equipment), a squash court and a fitness studio with views of Palm Jumeirah. There are two infinity pools, a sauna, spa bath, solarium, steam room and plunge pool in both the ladies and gents changing rooms.

28. Jumeirah Beach Hotel

The sister hotel to the Burj has a giant, two-storey gym and fitness facility on the beachfront. There are 60 pieces of equipment in the cardiovascular area, a free-weights section, fitness classes including yoga, karate, RPM, Body Pump, Body Combat and Body Balance, squash, and a spa with two saunas, two massage rooms, two hot tubs, spa bath, steam room and plunge pool.

29. Radisson SAS Media City

This makes our list for having not one but two outdoor swimming pools – not bad for a hotel with less than 250 rooms. The East Tower boasts an eighth-floor rooftop pool with views over Dubai, while the West Tower has a second-floor option, with the added advantage of being close to the hotel’s leisure facilities. These include a gym, male and female steam rooms, and the Senso wellness centre.


30. Beach Rotana

Try a workout with a view in the Bodylines health club at Beach Rotana, where the gym has a panoramic outlook over the sea. It is equipped with a range of cardiovascular and weight-training facilities, and fitness classes are also available. The 1,050 sqm infinity-edge outdoor pool is open 8am-10pm, and with its palm trees and pool bar is a great place to cool down.


31. The Ritz-Carlton

This is a water-lover’s bonanza, with an indoor junior Olympic swimming pool, an outdoor pool with swim-up bar, a children’s pool, two whirlpools (hot and cold) and a steam room. It also has the latest fitness gadgets – for cardiovascular and strength training there is a state-of-the-art workout room, and fitness classes include step, stretch, low impact, strengthening and toning, power-walking, yoga, spinning and aqua-fit. In addition, there are two indoor tennis courts and an indoor squash court.


32. Rosewood Corniche

High on the 17th floor of the property, the fitness centre has the latest isotonic weight machines and cardiovascular training equipment. There is also an outdoor rooftop swimming pool with views of the Red Sea and a hot tub, with sauna and steam rooms in each set of changing rooms.



33. Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon

The open-air infinity pool, located on the first floor of the hotel and measuring 25 metres, is an ideal place to chill out, and guests can order food and drink from a special menu until sunset. But if it’s treadmills, bikes and crosstrainers you want, the on-site gym (open 6.30am-10.30pm) offers excellent views of the city through its glass façade.


34. The Taj Mahal

Located at the back of this historic property, the Taj Spa has something for everyone, with a 30-metre indoor pool, a 24-hour exercise room, a “relax zone” (spa bath, steam room, sauna and chilled showers) and a range of treatment options. The pool overlooks the outdoor gardens and is a calm retreat from the bustle of the city, with all the facilities bathed in plenty of natural light.


35. Leela Palace Kempinski

Hidden away in nine acres of tranquil grounds, the Leela’s pool is a tropical haven for swimmers. Inside, the spa covers two floors of the hotel, with a state-of-the-art gym on the lower level and treatment rooms above. Freshly squeezed juices, health drinks and herbal teas are available from a small bar. (For a full review visit


36. Park Hyatt

Located on the 47th floor, the Park Hyatt’s gym and 20-metre pool are at the top of the second of its three towers and offer breathtaking views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The gym area and aerobics studio flank the pool, while on the 45th floor is the Club on the Park spa. Guests should note that, because of negative associations with Japanese mafia, the yakuza, tattoos are banned from being on view.


37. Grand Hyatt Beijing

Located in the hotel basement – so no natural light – the facility has soothing music, chirping birds and computerised twinkling lights on the ceiling to create atmosphere, and that’s not to mention palm trees, Balinese sculptures and a waterfall. Fitness offerings include a 15-metre pool along with two saunas, two spa baths, an aerobics room and all the latest equipment in the gym – many machines have LCD TV screens too.

38. Sofitel Wanda Beijing

Opened in November 2007, this property in Beijing’s central business district is the newest Sofitel in Asia-Pacific. A 30-metre heated indoor pool on the fifth floor offers a skyline view of Beijing, as does the state-of-the-art gym next door, which is fully equipped with cardiovascular machines and free weights.


39. The Ritz-Carlton

This 351-room hotel, which opened in February in the new Pearl River New City of Tianhe District, boasts a 4,000 sqm gym and spa on its fourth floor. Technogym equipment includes treadmills, bikes, syncro, reclines, wave machines and step, and there are ten workout stations with free weights. Yoga, dance, meditation and tai chi classes are held in a 60 sqm studio, and other options include an outdoor heated swimming pool, spa bath and café.


40. Langham Place

Billed as the “highest gym in Hong Kong”, with views overlooking the bustling streets of Mong Kok, this is on the 41st floor of the hotel along with Plunge, its 20-metre rooftop heated pool, sauna, steam room and oriental hot tub. There is a wide range of cardiovascular and strength equipment (loaded with a personal cable TV and DVD player), regular tae kwon do classes and the excellent Chuan Spa.

41. Le Méridien Cyberport

On the hotel’s fourth floor, the Cardio Vascular Suite offers magnificent sea views as well as a good selection of training machines. A unique feature is the Wellness System programme – register for a fitness account, and you get a small device like a thumb drive which you can insert in any machine you use. The data gathered is stored in a computer, to help you set fitness targets and track your progress. An outdoor lap pool, a sauna and a steam room complete the fitness offering.

42. Landmark Mandarin Oriental

The Oriental Spa takes up the entire fifth and sixth floors of the Landmark, covering a total area of 2,300 sqm. As well as having one of the most comprehensive range of health, beauty and massage treatments in Asia, there’s a fitness centre with the latest cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, an 18-metre indoor swimming pool, 15 deluxe treatment rooms, a vitality tub, a futon mattress for relaxing, and huge yoga and Pilates studios.


43. The Westin Resort

This city resort features a view of the gardens at Coloane National Park, as well as an impressive set of leisure attractions including heated outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa bath, sauna and steam room, a tennis court and a multi-purpose court. Located on the hotel’s second level is a large gym, and sessions of aerobics, yoga and Pilates run on a regular basis. The British Olympic Association chose The Westin as its official preparation camp for the Beijing Games.

44. Crown Towers

This is the brand’s first hotel in Asia and one of the tallest on Taipa Island. The 25-metre heated infinity pool, located on the 16th level, has underwater music, floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the Macau Peninsula and a juice bar. The gym, also on the 16th floor, has a range of cardiovascular and weight-training machines.


45. Shangri-La Bangkok

Spanning over 10,000 sqm on the third floor of the hotel overlooking the Chao Phraya river, this is one of the largest fitness centres in the city. The gym has a full complement of cardio machines and a 25-metre lap pool, and a new freeform pool is due to open in September. Classes include step aerobics, yoga, Pilates, tai chi and energy jam, and lessons in swimming, tennis or Thai boxing are also available. Other amenities include rooftop tennis courts, floodlit squash courts, table tennis, sauna and steam rooms.


46. Hilton Kuala Lumpur

Sharing space with the spa on the eighth floor of the hotel, this two-level fitness centre has an open layout, lots of natural light and views of landscaped gardens and the city through the two-storey, floor-to-ceiling windows. The main hall on the lower floor contains treadmills and exercise bikes. On the upper floor are the sauna and steam bath, as well as an outdoor, 120-metre freeform terrace pool.


47. JW Marriott Hotel Seoul

One of Seoul’s best-kept fitness secrets, this has a gym, spa, swimming pool, whirlpool, scuba-diving pool, mini driving range, putting green, golf simulation corner, squash court, 12-metre climbing wall, restaurant and snack bar. Occupying four levels of the five-star hotel, it has over 300 pieces of Technogym equipment including the Cardio Wave (simulating a slalom motion) and Kinesis Wall (providing resistance to a full range of movement).


48. Fairmont Hotel

The Fairmont’s gym boasts top-of-the-range Life Fitness cardio machines and Cybex equipment, including treadmills, recumbent and upright bikes, rowing machines and weight machines. Certified professional fitness trainers are on hand to help with any queries, and one-on-one sessions allowing for a more detailed fitness analysis and personalised advice start from US$52 an hour. Other ways of shedding that extra weight come in the form of four rubberised tennis courts, two artificial grass courts and two freeform swimming pools, while scheduled Pilates and yoga classes take place in a spacious studio. Traditional yoga is on offer, or for something different, try a session of the Virabhadra version.

49 The Fullerton Hotel

Few hotels can beat the Fullerton when it comes to a pool with a view. On one side, elegant white columns soar to the roof of this historic colonial building; on the other, over the infinity-edge, the rich architecture of the island state is visible across the Singapore river. This isn’t just a pool for sightseers, though – at 25 metres, it’s long enough for a serious workout. The Fullerton also has a fitness centre and extensive spa facilities.


50. Park Hyatt Melbourne

The Park Hyatt Melbourne has a great 25-metre heated indoor pool overlooking the city, with a view of one of Melbourne’s most historic areas. The Grecian mural and sandstone columns will make you feel like a Greek deity, and the health club also has a new fully equipped gymnasium (some machines with iPod docks) and outdoor tennis court.