Hotel Fitness Centers: On-Site or Off-Site?

It was darn cold that morning I was Guest of the Day at the Fairfield Inn Chicago Gurnee, and I was loathe to go the off-site fitness center. When I arrived at the incredible, mega-size FitNation that is open to hotel guests I was ready to move to Gurnee.

FitNation Gurnee IL

So many hotels, even those at high price points and without space constraints, do a half-ass job on fitness centers.

The next day I was at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Minneapolis Bloomington and with their typical budget hotel tiny gym I was missing that cold trek to FitNation.

Fairfield Inn and Suites Minneapolis Bloomington Fitness Center

Or the classic dumbbells in the closet at the Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley.

Crowne Plaza Crowded Gym

I like that off-site hotel gyms get me out of the hotel into the local community. Similarly, I almost never eat at hotel restaurants.

Readers, what’s your take? On-site gym if its going to be half-ass or off-site and have to make the hike?

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "Hotel Fitness Centers: On-Site or Off-Site?"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I appreciate it when hotels are honest when they assess their own fitness center. I would like to work out in the hotel but, if the property isn’t able or willing to invest in good quality equipment and a nice workout room, they should offer guests an offsite alternative. I have not seen many hotels that put restrictive hours on fitness centers unless they are connected to a swimming pool – maybe there is some insurance liability that prohibits them from remaining open late at night.


I very much agree with DaninSTL.


I prefer onsite as well even if it is half ass. When i travel i normally just do the basics of pushups/crunches and not heavy duty workout sessions so the half ass gym is fine.
By the way, i chuckled when i saw the dumbell in the closet pic. Whose leg is that?!! 😉

Rapid Travel Chai

@Joey – just a poor guy trying to work out. When you have a Silicon Valley business hotel with a constant stream of guests from the East Coast waking up at 5 or 6, and only a modest exercise room, the exercise rooms can be filled to bursting. In my case, after having loaded up on braised pork belly and other Shanghainese delights at the mall opposite, I have to beat myself up each morning when I get out there.

Needs to be onsite and 24 hours. It’s a pain to go off site in my opinion. Usually I’m in a hurry to “fit in” a work out. I guess if you have plenty of time it’s not a problem to go off site. Obviously the off site gyms are going to be better. It’s like working out at home. I have a bunch of equipment in my basement (that I do use) but it’s not as good as the gym 4 miles up the road. My biggest problem with hotel (or motel on many of my business trips) is… Read more »

I wish hotels would show more pictures of the gyms online. On any typical website you’ll see 20+ pictures with at least 5 of their banquet facilities, but only an odd angle photo of the gym.

I’m fine with an offsite gym as older properties might have problems putting a decent one in. As long as it is closely and is free or has a reasonable fee ($5-$10) then that is fine.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Rob – great point that I have overlooked in their ommission. Reminds me of when I was applying for college, some showed lavish pictures of everything, some tellingly only showed close-ups and detail.

@DaninSTL – limited hours is a pain, I encounter that sometimes overseas as well, when fitness centers often linked to spas and may have separate management, often selling membership to locals.