• Guide to Hotel Design Pt 24: Spa Design: Fitness

    The treatment room (see Pt 23) may be the heart of the spa, but an essential part for many users is the fitness suite. Spa and massage may be an essential part of wellbeing but so is having a healthy body.

    Among the other components of the Spa is the fitness suite. This is not to forget the need to develop a menu offering that supports the concepts the spa is built around. It is no good offering people the ability to feel good if your menu is full of salt, sugar and grease. A true spa treats the whole person not just their skin.

    Frequently a gym will have a cafe operation attached dispensing popular energy drinks, high protein snacks and the like. This can provide the basis for a whole food or healthy eating restaurant alternative to the main hotel restaurant operation.

    Exercise generates endorphins that are at the base of the feeling of wellbeing that comes once exercise it over. For many ‘feel the burn’ becomes a motto, and there are addicts to exercise as there are addicts to tobacco and alcohol and arguably, they can do themselves almost as much harm. To share a gym with a tribe of male and female body builders can be disconcerting to the average guest. This means your spa and gym need to have clear membership policies – and if you have a large constituency of outside members who want the emphasis to be on muscle building rather than just keeping fit, then maybe there needs to be some differentiation in the gym layout to give segregation.

    Many hotel gyms are just a room full of kit sold to the naive hotelier by a fitness machine manufacturer. As with any other area of the hotel, the staff expertise needs to be involved in the decision-making. If your gym is going to be unstaffed then there are areas that you need to create to avoid any unpleasant legal complication arising from assault or injury. A small gym may be more of a liability than a commercial draw. If a small spa and gym complex is developed it may be attractive to have a large paying external membership, but then perhaps times should be set aside just for guest use only, or a user number limitation imposed.