Travel Trending: Heart-healthy Hotels.
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 21st March 2012
More hotels are getting into a healthier travel space; just a few weeks ago, InterContinental Hotels announced they are launching a new brand, EVEN, that will be specifically designed for exercise fanatics and guests who want a more heart-healthy hotel experience.

IHG's healthy hotel announcement, other brands have arrived at the forefront offering a glimpse of what guests can do to get healthy while traveling.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Element Hotels recently announced a new initiative that will blend the brand's commitment to always providing fitness options to guests with green design and functionality.

Element Hotels will introduce pedal-powered generators on stationary bikes in its fitness centers (below), allowing guests to generate electricity and charge their own personal electronic devices as they work out. The new bikes were unveiled in Miami at the Element Miami International Airport, the newest Element Hotel.

I love this concept for a few reasons. First, the more you pedal, the more power you generate and the faster you power your electronic devices. Second, it's no shame to admit that you check email, Tweet or Facebook, or read the news while working out. I've been caught doing it, and regardless of what the exercisers next to me think, working while working out is the sign of a tremendous multi-tasker. Being able to keep my iPad, iPod or iPhone charged while working out just keeps me on the machines a bit longer. Well done, Starwood, for adding a few extra minutes to my workout!

4Hoteliers Image LibraryBrian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood, said in a press statement, "At Element, we're committed to helping guests stay active, healthy and productive on the road." At Starwood's Element, healthy options are already wrapped into the guest experience.

Complimentary breakfasts include egg white wraps and smoothies, fitness centers are open 24-hours a day and bikes are always available for borrowing, and kitchens in each guest room allow guests to stock their mini-bars and pantry with fresh snacks.

Could a new travel trend be peering through the cracks? Starwood has always had a great focus on being green and staying healthy, Fairmont was first out of the gates a few years ago to offer allergy and diet-sensitive menus, and now IHG's new brand, EVEN, is set to enter the states in the coming years. Will more hotels soon follow in the fitness-forward footsteps?

I'm thrilled to see more hotels making an effort to bring healthy lifestyle options to guests. From specially created menus to on-site personal trainers and now, power-generated machines to keep you active while working, hotels are setting a positive trend in travel.

Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com
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