Get in shape at top hotels' gyms

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 April, 2010, 12:00am

Going to the gym has to be one of the favourite extra-curricular activities of Hongkongers, and they are spoilt for choice even if no gym facilities are provided in their residence.

Some gym-goers have been prompted to use the exclusive facilities on offer at international hotels.

'Guests can enjoy the high quality of service that branded hotels usually deliver,' says Alicia Too, manager of The Excelsior. 'As hotels usually have more resources, we are able to offer a range of comprehensive add-on services and facilities that not all gyms can provide.'

Facilities for members of the Excelsior Wellness Centre, for example, range from a spa and swimming pool to laundry discounts, 50 per cent off room rates and takeaway breakfast or lunch.

The five-star Harbour Grand Kowloon's fitness centre offers state-of-the-art nautilus and cardio machines, Smith machines, free weights and the services of a full-time trainer, says Mandy Soh, marketing communications manager.

Another perk of membership is the opportunity to enjoy swanky facilities, glorious views and luxury locations that have been designed to appeal to a demanding international clientele.

Top hotels' recreation facilities are usually not just functional but also feature harbour views and services devoted to comfort and relaxation. These range from large outdoor heated pools, pool bars and whirlpools to complimentary tai chi and yoga classes, immaculate service and discounted food and beverages.

Top-notch hotel gyms also tend to follow stringent international health and safety standards that ensure that members work out in a space that is pristine and welcoming.

'At The Excelsior, the most important thing is to provide a secure, safe and clean environment for our members,' Too says.

While local gyms have a large ratio of staff to customers, hotels usually aim to make their facilities as personal as possible. Each member of The Excelsior's fitness centre, for example, has his or her preferences recorded systematically and taken care of in a timely manner.

Membership is usually exclusive at Hong Kong's top-class hotel gyms, and can cost from about HK$1,500 a month. The InterContinental Hong Kong's I-Spa hotel gym, for example, is exclusively for the use of hotel guests, with the exception of a very small local membership of about 30.

'Our Club I-Spa membership entitles members to exclusive access to our fitness centre and pool terrace, that are usually exclusive to hotel guests in residence, along with special privileges and discounts at I-Spa and all our restaurants,' says I-Spa director Thea Wong.

This small membership includes both single and couples, most of whom are loyal food and beverage hotel patrons. Many are local executives who find it convenient to use the hotel's spa and fitness facilities as much as its restaurants.

Regardless of membership size, the name of the game at international level hotels is to tailor-make their gym facilities. 'At our hotel, we aim to make it personal,' Soh says.

Clients can also expect a similar level of expertise from trainers and classes that may be smaller and more exclusive than those offered by brand-name gyms. 'We offer tailor-made training programmes and professional coaches, including our famous trainer Michael Chan, who provides personal training for many movie stars and dancers in Hong Kong,' Soh says.

Chan's team is focused on building professional training programmes that cater to gym members.

'Compared with large operators, the hotel provides an exclusive place for guests to get fit and receive a personalised service,' Soh says.

The benefits include a personalised service. Trainers often build up a close relationship with members. By tightly controlling numbers, each member is ensured enough privacy during his or her workout, Too says.

Unlike gyms, hotel gyms also offer a range of value-added services. Complimentary parking and dining, and spa discounts are often made available to fitness centre members.

Hours tend to focus on the needs of a professional clientele.

'The fitness centre is open from 6am to 10pm, allowing business clients to access the gym with flexibility,' Soh says.