Sometime in the last few years, fitness got added to the long list of must-haves for any aspirational lifestyle on and off the road. It’s easy to see why: Few healthy habits are quite as enjoyable or social as a great workout class, training session or run. Boutique studios and gyms have made great design as standard an amenity as water and towels, without the annoying upcharges for that bottle of Smart Water. Whether they’re airy, edgy, offbeat or serene, environments can have a huge impact on the overall experience. Full disclosure: Boutique Design’s editorial team is always on the move, either running or in fitness classes. It’s fair to say that checking out the vibes at trending studios in New York, LA or Chicago is a pinch-me moment for us.
So, as hospitality clients start to notice that gyms and guestrooms can and should make activity as appealing an option as chilling out in the activated lobby, we’re especially excited. (Check out “Shape Up” in the May 2018 issue for some cases in point.) But, Insta-worthy fitness spaces are still exemplars more than they are the norm. So, what can designers do to improve the offer in projects without a huge amount of space or budget to allocate to fitness centers or in-room workout zones? And, until they work their magic, how can travelers actually squeeze (literally, in a small room) workouts in?
We turned to two people whose vocations and avocations span design and fitness. Celebrity trainer and Body by Simone creator Simone de la Rue’s three outposts are lauded for their styling.
David Shove-Brown, partner, //3877 Design is also an avid runner and a fitness studio designer. His credits include Solidcore, one of Michelle Obama’s go-to workout hotspots. Here’s what they have to say.
Boutique Design: What’s your biggest pet peeve as a healthy traveler?
De la Rue: In the gym, lack of space to dance around! That’s not an excuse not to work out, though. I’d also like to see larger fridges in guestrooms to stock with healthy food options.
Shove-Brown: We work on hotels, so I totally get that hotel fitness rooms tend to be the last item on the renovation budget, but I cannot stand fitness rooms (very few traveler hotels have full on ‘centers’) that have disgusting finishes, archaic equipment, awful lighting, and worst of all, mechanical equipment that isn’t appropriate for a fitness area causing heat, humidity and the smell of a high schooler’s sock.
BD: Ok, so what’s the fix?
De la Rue: Find a workout that you can fit in the space available. My BBS App doesn’t use a lot of equipment; so if someone doesn’t have the BBS Basic Pack or BBS Pro Pack, then they can do all the workouts with body weight. The idea is to make working out with me as accessible as possible, so you can do them with not a lot of space, anywhere, anytime.
Shove-Brown: Clear the guest room floor. I hate a room that is packed with furniture so that trying to do a simple morning workout is impossible.
Are you listening, designers, owners, operators and purchasing agents? Hope so. We’ll be very happy the day when we don’t have to headbang into the guestroom wall trying to do some post-flight yoga.