Keeping On Track 
Nicola Law in Hospitality

Image © Curtis Mac Newton

As the New Year begins, health and fitness sit atop lists of New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately travel has a way of breaking established routines and throwing get-back-in-shape plans into utter chaos. The need to travel, whether for business or pleasure, is often the stumbling block on the road to sustaining the healthy lifestyles we strive for.

Last year, I travelled for several weeks across three different countries. Keen to continue my home fitness routine, I packed the obligatory gym kit and loaded my iPad with yoga classes. I was ready for an active trip...or so I thought.

In theory, I had set a foundation for success, but for a variety of reasons my routine quickly failed. Guest rooms often don’t accommodate exercise routines. Too many hotel fitness facilities are outdated. On the road, you’re constantly snacking on food that’s high on both convenience and calories. And the unorthodox working pattern that are an innate part of travel make it impossible to maintain a consistent routine.

Luckily, this paradigm may be set to change. The hotel industry has taken note of the many ways travel inhibits personal fitness routines, and is now making a concerted effort to offer guests more than a poorly lit gym. We’re beginning to see the accumulation of “healthy hotels” and these thoughtfully designed spaces may be the industry's solution to helping guests stay healthier and happier on the road.

There’s no question that health and wellness have become a top priority for a significant portion of the global population. There’s been an influx of health and fitness mobile apps, which are popular with consumers; in 2015, the health and fitness app market was worth around $4 billion, and it is expected to rise up to $26 billion by 2017.

The hospitality industry has taken note and begun introducing Healthy or full-wellness hotels. Designed primarily with the wellness-conscious traveller in mind, these hotels help guests maintain their healthy routines with a range of amenities all focussed on health, wellness and sustainability. Many well-known hotel brands are launching sub-brands specifically oriented towards this new type of guest.

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Yoga retreats and spas are nothing new, and now hotels have vamped-up their fitness offerings beyond the basic gym. From heated Olympic-sized pools to saunas and fitness centres, healthy hotels offer guests top fitness facilities. Individual fitness plans can be tailored to suit the needs and schedule of the guest. For a number of years, Fairmont and Westin have offered a variety of running programmes for guests, with dedicated running concierges leading group runs. These brands often partner with sports clothing brands such as Reebok to offer guests the chance to borrow a fresh kit for the duration of their stay. The Shangri-La in Toronto teamed up with Canadian yoga brand Lululemon to offer dedicated yoga sessions at the touch of a button via the TV or iPad.

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas has seen great success by offering ‘stay well rooms’ packed with personalised facilities such as spa menus, wake-up light therapy, aromatherapy, vitamin C-infused showers and wellness videos. Come 2018, premium gym group Equinox will open its long awaited healthy hotel brand, with a gym-centric group of hotels to be launched in the States.

Food and Beverage

Hotels have (finally) started to get serious about offering nutritious and customised food and beverage offerings that include gluten-free and vegan menus. Hyatt released a new food programme ‘Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served’ with smaller portions and more organic ingredients. Four Seasons in the USA offers guests the option of creating their own fruit/vegetable combinations at the centrepiece juice bar.


Going back to basics, healthy hotels offer the latest in sleep technology to ensure a peaceful slumber, with specially designed rooms stocked with features like high-tech, total blackout technology and dawn-simulator alarm clocks that prevent sleep disturbances. The Corinthia hotel in London offers a Sumptuous Sleep Retreat whereby a ‘sleep menu’ offers restorative dishes to aid restful sleep, and its spa offers sleep-inducing treatments.

Of course, not everyone will embrace healthier travel options – and there will still be plenty of travellers who enjoy the unhealthy indulgences that hotels offer. But for those, like myself, who do enjoy staying healthy away from home, the hospitality industry is at last providing the choices to help stay on track.

Nicola’s passion and creative flare derives from her deep rooted international background, continued travel experiences and at the core, her love of different cultures. It is through this exploration that she is able to sensitively design and create memorable customer experiences. Nicola has successfully managed projects of varying sizes and complexity where touching on all aspects of design continues to inspire and influence. She can be reached via email at
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