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Hotels take fitness amenities to the great outdoors

Posted: February 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From sightseeing city runs and nature hikes down country trails to surfing sessions, hotels are luring leisure and business clients outside their climate-controlled rooms for outdoor activities to keep fit while traveling for business or pleasure.

Morning runs, afternoon power walks and bicycle rides are fast becoming standard fare for hotels in urban centers, with the cityscape dictating the route.

"Since most of our hotels are urban, we like our guests to get outside in the neighborhood," said Mike DeFrino, executive vice president of hotel operations at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

In cities with a strong running population, he said, managers or assistant managers at the chain of boutique hotels will lead the morning run.

Many U.S. hotels also offer bicycle borrowing, particularly in cities such as San Diego, California, and Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Studies have shown that exercising outdoors can offer advantages over indoor, gym-based fitness routines. British researchers found that natural environments may increase activity levels with less perceived exertion, reduce stress and improve mood.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, in California wine country, offers bike tours to local wineries, walking tours to local purveyors and a hike to a 2,000-year-old Redwood Tree, as well as treks of varying levels of difficulty and water yoga classes in thermal mineral pools.

"The hikes sell out almost every morning," said Michelle Heston of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which has 60 hotels around the globe.

Business travelers, who make up about half of Fairmont's clientele, work out to a schedule different from the tourist.

"The business traveler has different habits. Early 6 a.m. offerings are popular with them, those on holiday are much later," she said.

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Hotels take fitness amenities to the great outdoors

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