Do Hotels Have Gyms?

You don’t have to take a break from exercise just because you’re on holiday or working away from home. Although many...

You don’t have to take a break from exercise just because you’re on holiday or working away from home. Although many people think it’s the perfect excuse to leave the cycling shorts and running shoes at home, you may not 

Booking hotel rooms can be difficult enough at the best of times. Finding somewhere on budget, in the right location and with the relevant facilities can be a juggling act. Or maybe you don’t have any say in where you’re staying. If you’re travelling for work, the search parameters are likely to be much smaller: in budget, close to where you’ll be working, and at the discretion of the person booking it on your behalf. 

Finding somewhere with gym or health club facilities can make things more complicated. While some websites may tell you that they have a gym, they may not list the specific equipment nor provide appropriate imagery, which can lead to disappointment. One person’s description of a fully equipped gym may not match your definition.    


Carpeted hotel corridor with windows on the left hand side and bedroom doors on the right

Do hotels have gyms? 

Unsurprisingly, there’s no definitive answer. Some hotels have gyms, and others don’t. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 85% of hotels have gyms. This percentage is up from 63% in 2004. Fitness facilities at hotels are becoming more popular. According to one hospitality firm, 50% of millennials say, ‘Access to fitness classes is a high priority when it comes to hotel selection.’ 

There are no hard and fast rules, but the higher the star rating, the more likely it is that a hotel has a gym. For example, specific premium chains and franchises almost always have them – Marriot hotels. But you should always check the booking site before reserving a room. Contacting the hotel directly will also give you a more accurate idea of the facilities.  

Premium airport hotels or business and conference hotels will often have fitness facilities. Those that don’t may have complimentary or paid-for passes to local gyms in the area.

As we mentioned in the introduction, the term ‘hotel gym’ isn’t always helpful when discussing individual facilities because it covers everything from a stationary bike to a state-of-the-art facility with treadmills, squat racks, and even spa facilities.

If your hotel doesn’t have a gym (or only has limited facilities), there are many things you can do without any equipment. Using your body weight for resistance is one. You’ll find plenty of free workouts on YouTube, everything from yoga to HIIT. If the local area is safe, walking or running around the neighbourhood is as good as using a treadmill. In the UK, you can buy pay-as-you-go gym passes from websites like Hussle to access specific local gyms without signing up for monthly or annual memberships. Some gyms will also let you buy these passes from them directly. You may also be able to temporarily transfer your membership from your home gym to one near where you’re staying. In some areas, it's difficult for hotels to compete with commercial gyms.

In some hotels, it may be more common for them to have a swimming pool than a gym. Exercising in the water may be one option you can take advantage of.


Female in a sports top and gym bag leaning on a hotel or gym reception

Does anyone use hotel gyms?

It's another difficult question to answer. Indeed, people who purposefully book into a hotel with gym facilities probably intend to use them. But what's interesting is that in one study by Travel Pulse, 46% of people said that while they planned to use the gym, less than one-quarter followed through.

This is echoed by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, which found ‘fewer than half of hotel guests who said they planned on using a hotel’s fitness centre use property’s gym during their stay.  

It creates an interesting dilemma for hotels because whilst a fitness centre can be a selling point that may attract guests, QZ writes that ‘the value of a fitness centre appears to come in at the low end, especially considering they are “relatively expensive to install and can incur somewhat higher maintenance costs for replacing broken equipment...etc,'.  


Female on a treadmill looking out of long window

What is usually in a hotel gym? 

One emerging trend within the hotel industry is the in-room fitness experience. This is often a premium add-on at higher-end hotels and usually means adding a stationary bike, treadmill, rowing machine or weights inside the room so guests don’t need to leave to exercise.

The idea is like ordering food via room service – convenience, comfort, and privacy. Something important to people when they’re away from home. It allows the hotel to offer gym facilities without having a specific room filled with equipment that will require maintenance and may or may not be regularly used.

We're hoping to see more gyms including electricity-generating indoor fitness bikes to their facilities or rooms. This not only allows guests to exercise but also helps the hotel reduce their carbon footprint. 

Not all hotels have gyms, and the safest thing to do before booking is to assume that there isn’t one unless it’s specifically listed in the hotel facilities. If the details are vague or the images non-existent, contact the hotel for more information or ask about any local gyms that provide day passes. Remember, too, that there are other ways of staying fit when you’re away, including walking or using your body weight as resistance.


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