What is it about a vacation that invites good behavior to fly out the window? When you were a kid, you jumped on the beds. Now, a vacation may prompt you to raid the minibar, blow off workouts, or return home more exhausted than ever. Not at these addresses. The following standout hotel chains place your health and wellness at the center of their missions, offering everything from supercomfortable beds and top-notch fitness opportunities to great-tasting, nutritious food and relaxing interiors.
Whether hip, boutique-style lodgings or old-faithful chains, these picks serve up what you deserve: a truly rejuvenating stay thats worth your hard-earned money. And with all these inviting, back-sparing beds, you may have to refrain from jumping.
From $139 per night and up (rates vary based on location and season)
Modern life stressing you out? Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has innovative programs to help you recover. You can take the hotels dog out for a walk to clear your head in some of its city properties, like the Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston. And for the crazed business traveler, Fairmont offers a massage to relieve BlackBerry Hands.
“Fairmont understands the needs of modern professionals,” fitness expert Desi Bartlett says. She praised its approach to fitness, with on-site facilities as well as affiliations with top gyms such as the Lakeshore Athletic Club in Chicago. For a $10 fee, the chains Fairmont Fit program will deliver Adidas training gearincluding athletic shoes, preloaded MP3 players, and running-route mapsto your room. For sweet dreams, Fairmont offers top-quality mattresses, and (at several sites) pillow “menus” with everything from anti-allergy to buckwheat options. And the chain also earned kudos from environmental expert Mary Cordaro for its less-toxic cleaning products and natural linens.
Room for improvement: Our experts wished the gym quality was more consistent across properties.
Deal alert: The FairmontSavers program gives you 30% off the best available rate when you pay in advance.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts nabbed top fitness scores for state-of-the-art cardio and weight-training equipmentplus welcome extras, such as studio classes and personal trainers. Our experts also noted that at the Miami and San Francisco Four Seasons locations, the on-site fitness facility is the stellar Sports Club/LA. Nutrition expert Maureen Callahan praised the progressive approaches to healthy eating at Four Seasons restaurants and in-room dining. “From Japanese-style breakfast and multigrain pancakes in Chicago to Texas grapefruit in Dallas, Four Seasons menus put a big emphasis on fresh, local produce,” she says. Meanwhile, judge Bartlett bestowed a perfect 10 on Four Seasons for its rejuvenating spas.
Room for improvement: While Four Seasons hotels boast good air circulation (many of the windows open), smoking is allowed in some parts of its properties.
Deal alert: Check out money-saving offers, like the Summer With Four Seasons promotion.
An innovative urban boutique chain, Kimpton Hotels “thinks outside the box” when it comes to healthy lifestyles, judge Jim Kaese says. Or, rather, inside the room: Kimptons in-room Mind.Body.Spa. makes relaxation private and convenient; it includes massages with organic products, complimentary 24-hour On-Demand Pilates and meditation TV channels, and loaners of yoga supplies. All locations shine with on-site workout facilities (a rarity in urban hotels). Another plus: minibars stocked with organic food and drinks. You can breathe easy at a Kimpton, too. Every hotel is 100% smoke-free, and the chain uses nontoxic cleaning products in guest rooms.
Room for improvement: Our panel found the quality of fitness facilities varied.
Deal alert: From May 28 to September 7, book the Summer Playground package: deluxe room, $20 food-and-beverage credit, free in-room movie and popcorn.
“Like a distance runner with a late-breaking kick,” Hilton Hotels and Resorts is on a mission to surpass its competitors as fitness innovators, says panelist Kaese, who praised a recent upgrade to high-quality Precor USA strength and cardio equipment.
On the food front, Hiltons executive chefs recently worked with renowned culinary institution Johnson and Wales University to create a chainwide Eat Right menu that features delicious, good-for-you choices, including sesame ahi tuna with sweet potato and asparagus tempura. Judge Callahan loved the Hilton Breakfast, a color-coded buffet and à la carte option that lets diners see if their choices are low-fat, low-calorie, low-cholesterol, high-energy, high-fiber, high-indulgence, or a combination.
Judge Cordaro applauded an innovative program at the Hilton Chicago OHare: 13 enviro-rooms with hardwood floors, wooden shutters (instead of fabric curtains), air purifiers, and fragrance- and chemical-free personal products. She also noted small changes that can make for healthier stays, like outlets and communication ports on easy-to-reach tabletops in meeting rooms.
Room for improvement: While Hilton got fairly high marks in healthy-room areas, panelist Cordaro wishes it and other chains would do more to address environmental issues. For instance, blackout curtains (at Hilton and many other chains) are typically made with vinyl, which may pose health risks.
Deal alert: Hiltons are offering a Bed and Breakfast package that includes early check-in, late check-out, and free breakfast.
Next Page: #5 Hyatt Regency [ pagebreak ]Check in to comfort: The recently-renovated
Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort and Spa.
#5 Hyatt Regency
From $129 per night and up (rates vary based on location and season)
Hyatt Regency aced our fitness challenge: Its StayFit@Hyatt programwith on-demand yoga videos, running-and-walking-route cards, and top-notch Life Fitness equipmentearned top scores from judge Kaese. Theres even a 24-hour fitness concierge service to provide workout clothes and GPS armbands to help runners monitor heart rate and distance (not to mention help them find their way back). Hyatt also serves up innovative healthy dining options with its StayFit Cuisine. “Making healthy food enticing? Now were talking,” Callahan raves. She was especially taken with the chains super-healthy breakfasts like steel-cut oatmeal with roasted fruit.
Room for improvement: Though most locations have smoke-free policies for much of their public space, only guest rooms are guaranteed smoke-free.
Deal alert: Check out money-saving offers like the new Hyatt Retreats packages.
While Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts commits to across-the-board healthy offerings (such as hypoallergenic bedding and 100% smoke-free properties in North America), it also prides itself on signature features that vary from location to location. Judge Bartlett was especially impressed with the snowshoe hike at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (Colorado); its guided by the hotels yellow Lab. And panelist Kaese offered high praise for Ritz-Carltons spas. “You know exactly what youre in store for at a Ritz spa: tranquil surroundings, well-trained massage therapists, and a wealth of options.”
Room for improvement: Some locations offer a tailored spa menu and have nutritionists available for consultation, so why not implement good-for-you cuisine across the board?
Deal alert: The Reconnect Package provides guests with $50 to $200 of daily credit for spa treatments, tennis lessons, and other activities.
“Westin Hotels and Resorts receives an A in healthy-lifestyle creativity,” judge Kaese says. From in-room fitness libraries (magazines and DVDs) to guided running tours and state-of-the-art gyms, Westin makes it easy to enjoy an active vacation. Where else can you stay in a guest room with a treadmill or stationary bike in it? Special fun: Westin Wii, where guests can play with WestinWorkout trainers or face off against each other on a specially designed Wii console in the fitness centers. Nutritionally, Westins new superfoods-focused menu offers great choices, including green tea–infused salmon and molten dark chocolate cake (hey, antioxidants!).
Room for improvement: Its spa is great, but youll currently only find it at 13 properties.
Deal alert: With Complimentary Nights at Westin, guests who stay three or four nights get their last night on the house.
Next Page: #8 Cambria Suites [ pagebreak ]
#8 Cambria Suites
From $100 per night and up (rates vary based on location and season)
Starting with being 100% smoke-free, Cambria Suites puts your well-being first. It provides separate work spaces that make it easy to shut out stressful stuff like stock quotes and work e-mails. Trying to eat right? This chains menu is completely free of deep-fried foods. And rooms are stocked with organic tea. Fitness is a big part of the Cambria equation: Each property boasts a 2,500-square-foot fitness-and-pool center that emphasizes natural light and views to complement top-tier equipment. Plus, we love that this healthy up-and-comer is so nicely priced.
Room for improvement: Fitness expert Bartlett would like to see trainers on duty.
Deal alert: Stay three times between May 21 and August 13 and earn a $50 cash card.
Next Page: #9 Loews [ pagebreak ]
Come back thinner! Loews serves up light fare youll actually love.
From $149 per night, beginning in May (rates vary based on location and season)
Theres lots to love about the Loews Hotels fitness menu. For instance, a “Monumental” Sunrise-ercise route at the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., takes guests around the citys monuments. At the Loews Coronado Bay in San Diego, a state-of-the-art fitness center features belly dancing and kids yoga. Nutritionist Callahan gave the chain high marks for banning trans fats and for its creative take on light cooking (sushi-making for kids!).
Room for improvement: The fitness-facility quality varied. And allowing smoking indoors, even if only in select areas, was a negative.
Deal alert: Check out the As You Wish promotion, which runs through September 8.
Next Page: #10 The Peninsula [ pagebreak ]
#10 The Peninsula
From $550 per night and up (rates vary based on location and season)
“The Peninsula Hotels inspire you to breathe deeper within five minutes of arriving,” Bartlett says. In fact, Peninsulas spas earned a perfect 10, thanks to such offerings as Thai-inspired massage (think: warm herbal compress, ahh!). Back in the rooms, relax to a custom-designed mediation CD.
This small luxury chain is also a great place to get active, with recently renovated fitness centers and classes that complement its high-end style. But Peninsula has always been known for its fantastic pools. “A lot of swimmers stay at The Peninsula Chicago just for the 25-meter pool,” judge Bill Tulin says.
Room for improvement: While the bedding is deluxe, this group could be leading the healthy-room way with all-natural fabrics.
Deal alert: Ask for The Summer Splendor promotion; deals vary by location.