Rarely does a traveller rave about a hotel fitness centre, but if you know anyone planning on staying at Hotel X Toronto, a new hotel on the city’s waterfront, expect that to be all he or she gushes about.
The hotel itself offers stunning views of downtown, gorgeously appointed suites and most of the other amenities you’d expect of a luxury property. But Ten X Toronto, the private health club attached to it that guests can access (with fees for some amenities ranging from $25 per 45 minutes to $50 per hour) is so above and beyond a gym that it is by far the standout feature.
“The goal was to create the ultimate sports destination,” says Gary Muller, chief executive officer of Ten X Toronto.
For years, hotel gyms ran the limited gamut from an afterthought crammed into the basement, to a space just good enough for a decent workout. Nowadays, in our health-conscious world, that doesn’t cut it. A study conducted last year by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research found that 46 per cent of guests said they planned on using the fitness centre (although only 22 per cent actual did). Wellness tourism is big business and properties are starting to invest, pouring millions of dollars into their fitness centres to stand out from the competition. These elite athletic clubs become calling cards, meant to attract locals almost more than visitors.
Ten X Toronto, which opened earlier this year, cost nearly $60-million to build. The 90,000-square-foot club includes nine squash courts; a weight room; yoga, Pilates and spinning studios; a 25-metre pool coming next spring; a play centre for young children; a golf simulator and four indoor tennis courts so spectacular that Milos Raonic, the Canadian professional tennis player currently ranked 20th in the world, has been training there since Wimbledon. Raonic and other members of Canada’s Davis Cup team were in the club’s weight room and practising on the courts in September, along with the Netherlands Davis Cup team.
It’s no wonder why. The weight room is filled with state of the art equipment and the tennis courts, painted Australian Open blue, are on two floors, both occupying spaces more than 14,000 square feet each and boasting 50-foot-high ceilings. It’s a cathedral that has everything a pro, or anyone who would like the pro experience, could want.
“There are other facilities, but not with a hotel component, and that’s what unique,” Muller says. “There’s nothing that you would need that we can’t provide for you here.”
Other luxury hotels bulking up their workout facilities include the Phoenician, in Scottsdale, Ariz., which recently opened a brand new, multimillion dollar fitness centre.
The 4,600-square-foot space includes elliptical trainers and treadmills, weight machines and a movement studio with “fitness on demand” technology that allows users to choose from hundreds of yoga, spin and other classes via a touchscreen.
Mark Vinciguerra, the hotel’s general manager, says these are important components of the resort. Travellers, especially luxury travellers, tend to focus on these high-end experiences.
That includes people who live in or near the Scottsdale area the new fitness centre is hoping to attract, he says.
“Staycations are still extremely popular here in the desert,” he says.
In London, The Ned, a five-star hotel and members club that opened last year in the heart of the city, includes Ned’s Club Gym, a 6,600-square-foot space that has studios for spinning, high intensity interval training, and yoga and Pilates. It also includes areas for free weights and cardio equipment and even boasts a boxing ring. All of this is available to hotel guests and members of the club.
For The Ned, and others investing in these centres, exercise is treated as an experience to be enjoyed, perhaps with a breathtaking view or the knowledge that elite athletes use the same facilities.