Five hotels with special fitness facilities

24 Oct 2012
Often you might intend to exercise when travelling, but hotel gyms with standard machinery leave you uninspired. These properties offer a refreshing change. They all have unusual facilities that turn exercising into a real experience and make keeping fit more fun.
Regal International East Asia Hotel Shanghai

What: Golf simulator
Details: The simulator features a small patch of astroturf and golf tee in front of a large screen. Players use real clubs to hit regular golf balls at the screen, which then simulates shots being played on a course. The simulator has 16 different international courses to choose from. This is also available at the group’s Regal Plaza Hotel & Residence in Shanghai. 
Why does the hotel offer this facility? “Our guests may have no time to play actual golf so it is a good idea for our them to practice golf skills in our hotels,” says Deven Leung, assistant communications manager for Regal Hotels.
Guest feedback: “We are happy that we have received very positive feedback on this facility. It has regular use by our guests and they are quite satisfied with it because this kind of golf simulator is not very common in mainland Chinese hotels.”
Use: Available to all guests from 6.30am to 11.30pm each day for a fee of RMB150 (US$24) per hour.  
Conrad Hotel Bangkok

What: Rooftop jogging track
Details: Located on the seventh floor, next to the gym, the track is 220 metres long and made of a stone paving suited to running. It winds between different lush tropical plants. 
Why does the hotel offer this facility? “We consider it as a running escape from busy Bangkok City Traffic… Due to the busy city center, Conrad Bangkok strives to offer convenience to guests and something different from other fitness facilities,” says George Reainthong, director of marketing communications at the hotel.
Guest feedback: “They love the trail because it is private, safe from cars and has no city noise.” 
Use: Free and open 6am to 9pm. For hotel guests only. 
JW Marriott Seoul

What: Scuba diving pool
Details: As part of its well-equipped fitness centre, the hotel has a special pool for experiencing scuba diving. The pool measures 4.5 metres deep and 49.7 sqm wide. There is full scuba diving gear available for guests to use to dive.
Why does the hotel offer this facility? “The hotel created this scuba pool to offer a unique and exclusive experience to our guests in the middle of a metropolitan area… Scuba diving is not a common activity in Korea, thus guests using this pool in our hotel will feel special with this peculiar experience,” says Cindy Chung, marketing and communications manager at the hotel. 
Guest feedback: “First of all, guests are amazed to experience a scuba diving pool in the centre of a city. This pool is also very popular to location managers. We recently had a advertisement shot in the pool,” 
Use: The facility can be used by any guests who have a diving certificate. It is free to use, but rental of equipment costs 40,000 won (US$36). 
Westin Taipei 

What: In-room fitness facilities
What is it like? Guests can choose to stay in one of three WestinWORKOUT rooms. These contain either a Life Fitness Treadmill or a LeMond RevMaster Cycle, along with yoga matt, stability ball and adjustable dumbbells. There is also a DVD workout video and a wellness guide with instructions on using the equipment and fitness tips. 
Why does the hotel offer this facility? Sue Brush, senior vice president for Westin says: "We know that two-thirds of travelers want to work out while on the road yet most of them don't make it to the gym… With WestinWORKOUT Rooms, hotel guests are now able to fit their regular cardio, strength training, or exercise routines into their hectic travel schedules with the added luxury of a private workout at any time."
Use: There are three WestinWORKOUT rooms available at the property. According to the hotel, the nightly rate is NT$27,000 (US$922). 
Nansha Grand Hotel Guangzhou

What: Rock climbing wall 
What is it like? The wall is 9.8 metres high and 7.5 metres wide, with a surface imitating an actual rock face and featuring rubber holds and grips. There are two different routes to the top of varying difficulties. 
Why does the hotel offer this facility? A hotel representative says it was keen to provide its guests with a wide range of fitness facilities in order to offer unusual experiences.
Feedback:  "Guests have said the climbing wall offers good exercise and is fun to use," says Janice Zhu, a member of the hotel staff.
Use: Any guests staying at the hotel can use the wall between 7am and 11pm by booking an hour-long session with an expert who offers climbing advice. This costs RMB160 (US$25).
Nicholas Olczak
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