Never Visit A Bad Hotel Gym Again With This New Hotel Line
I like to imagine myself as a great traveler.
In my head, I can live out of a backpack for weeks on end. I don't need to wash my hair except for the occasional quick rinse in a picturesque stream, and I only eat when a friendly local joyfully offers me onto their patio for aperitivo. My wardrobe is minimalist, yet strikingly chic. My one cashmere sweater looks fresh each morning. Women on the street pull me aside and ask me how I managed to arrange my blanket scarf just so. You know what i'm talking about. Every woman in a movie who happens to also be traveling somehow is great at wearing scarves.
I've made my point.
Nobody in real life looks this good in scarves. NOBODY.
Obviously, this is not my traveling reality. If it was, you would perhaps find yourself on a travel blog instead of a blog that is both about junk food and fitness, a combination that can be somewhat confusing. When traveling I typically wear the same flannel-leggings-tank top combo for days on end until I have become the flannel and the flannel has become me. On a trip to Palm Springs with my husband and his family years ago I somehow only ever wore one pair of shorts. One. The whole time. For days. And I had packed 3, maybe 4, other pairs. I do not do this at home. At home I change regularly. At home my wardrobe knows some diversity. As I get older I have found that the image that I have in my head of myself traveling is, unfortunately, far different than the version of myself that actually travels.
Exhibit B: I like to imagine that I work out a lot when I travel.
This is absolutely not the case. The only two times that this has been the case is when I went on a yoga retreat in Mexico and when, once in college, my family went on a trip to Maui, but I was in the midst of spring season at college and had to awkwardly train in my hotel room as best I could. Without a boat or a rowing machine. Note to self: never again.
The reason that I am not particularly active on trips is not for lack of trying. Each time I have traveled, without fail, for the last decade or so I have packed a plethora of workout clothes. I pack sports bras, socks, leggings, and then some. You know, just in case I do some two-a-days. I have even brought my yoga mat along, which is a quick way to be immediately labeled that damn white lady in an airport. I will set my alarm for early in the morning but then something will happen (read: cocktails will happen) and the idea of dragging myself out of a comfy hotel bed and trudging down to the prison that is a hotel "gym" will be so utterly overwhelming to me that I just... won't. There's something about hotel gyms, you guys. I just hate them. The following list includes real things that have happened to me in hotel gyms: my favorite sweatshirt was stolen, creepy humans have propositioned me, I dropped a weight on my foot and couldn't walk the next day, and an older man ran on the treadmill next to me in a Speedo. Give yourself a moment to let that last one sink in.
We should also take this as an opportunity to discuss what hotels claim to be gym. From my experience, these are actually dark and smelly closets with outdated exercise equipment crammed in tetris-style next one very large mirror. The mirror probably is some sort of carnival mirror and makes your body look bulbous in areas where it is not normally bulbous. There is also probably a TV in there somewhere, too, but it either doesn't have a remote or will not turn on. If we are being realistic here, probably both. If, by some monumental stroke of luck, the TV does work, the person who got there before you has probably already turned it on to their favorite movie, so now you are stuck watching Land Before Time 47 for the rest of your life until you leave and/or the "elliptical" kills you.
Hotel gyms are literally the worst.
I have lived my whole life thinking that I was some sort of hotel gym failure. What was it about me that just couldn't suck it up and get my workout on? Why couldn't I just plug my headphones on and get shit done? Why was I so terrified of these mirror-filled-stink-dungeons? It was almost embarrassing that I, somebody who has gone out of my way to say HELLO INTERNET I AM INTERESTED IN FITNESS READ MY BLOG PLEASE, was so deeply shaken by the hotel gym experience. I had failed, not only as a fitness blogger, but as a human. I was a disgrace.
The topic of hotel gyms doesn't come up often in regular conversation, so I didn't have many opportunities to share my thoughts on the matter. A few weeks ago, I learned that I am not alone in the world. It turns out that the whole fit-person-traveling demographic is large enough that some genius somewhere decided it was time that we do something about it. I like to imagine that we are kindred spirits and that they too are averse to hotel gyms. This person (people? persons?) has created what is quite possibly the only place that I ever want to stay ever again in my life ever - Even Hotels.
An Even Hotel recently opened in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle and I was invited to visit. At first I was a bit confused about why I had been invited to visit a hotel opening, but I realized quickly (and with a lot of enthusiasm) that it was because this was a hotel centered around wellness. Wellness. My people. My passion. My calling. My love. Was this hotel destined to be my new home? Quite possibly. Should I just pack all of my things in the car and bring them with me for the tour? Maybe.
My photographer (read: Dan) and I visited SLU's Even Hotel on a balmy evening for their grand opening party. I was thrilled. On their website it literally read: At EVEN Hotels, we know that many travelers, like you, wish there were more options to stay healthier and happier away from home. That’s why we’re equipped with a wellness-savvy staff, a best-in-class fitness experience, healthier food choices and natural, relaxing spaces.
Yes. YAS! This is what I had been looking for. Apparently I am not alone in my opinion towards hotel gyms. And the fact that my eating habits go out the window when I'm traveling. And that I hate working out next to sweaty strangers who I am always half convinced are going to murder me in the night. I was going to be with my people.
The Even Hotel in SLU (and I'm assuming all over, report back in a few months after I've completed my world tour) was absolutely delightful. Each room that I toured was full of yoga mats (LOUD EXCITED NOISE HERE), resistance bands, blocks, workout books, and (in some of the more deluxe rooms) spin bikes. I pondered how wonderful it would be to hide in my room binge-watching Mad Men (something that I only do when traveling for reasons I still don't understand) and biking. It made me feel productive just thinking about it. The spin bikes were brand spankin' new too, a pleasant surprise from the broken equipment I'm used to seeing. On the TV there was channel after channel of workout videos. This was my paradise. I could stay at an Even Hotel just for the amenities. Not to travel, but just to wash my hair with tiny shampoo and sleep on eucalyptus sheets and do workout videos in my room. Honestly, that sounds like a perfect weekend.
If I had wanted an actual hotel gym experience, the Even Hotel gym was big. It was like if 2 of the biggest hotel gyms in the entire world got together and had a kid, and that kid was the Even Hotel gym. Each piece of equipment was placed many feet away from the one next to it. I could've laid down and taken a nap between pieces of equipment. There were places to fill up drinking fountains and a free laundry service for gym clothes. So, when I do end up staying there, I don't have to pack every sports bra I've ever owned. Instead, I could pack like... 3 and then just have them washed. Mind blown.
My second biggest complaint about hotels (after the gyms, of course) is typically the food. I understand the purpose of comfort food, but it's especially disheartening to find after a long day of traveling that the front desk only sells macaroni and cheese, dummies, and Red Bull. By the time I get home I'm always so desperate for produce that I find myself inhaling salads, kale, smoothies, anything I can get my hands on. It's like my body can't wait another moment to feel healthy. Even Hotels features Cork & Kale (a name I now wish I had thought of first) markets and bars that are full of options for every dietary need on the sun that taste... amazing. I want to guesstimate that I had about 5 servings of their kale salad. I couldn't help myself. I imagined myself staying there, scarf thoughtfully tossed over my shoulder, quickly grabbing a juice from the market bar before going out to run a light 20 miles on the street of some unknown city.
The run might not happen anytime soon, but at least I know that I can bike in my room.
This post is sponsored by EVEN Hotels. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!