NEW YORK—The Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, which has hosted every U.S. president since opening in 1962, has gone all out with a $500,000 top-to-bottom makeover of its fitness center. Located in the lower lobby of the 51-floor property on Seventh Ave., the 3,500-sq.-ft. fitness center offers new services and equipment not available at any other hotel in the city, according to the hotel.
“The Sheraton brand is committed to going above and beyond to ensure that our guests have the best stay possible. And as a flagship property in the heart of New York City, we welcome discerning guests from all over the world,” said Dan McCarron, director of hotel sales for the Sheraton New York Times Square. “We know that a memorable experience extends beyond our guestrooms. Hundreds of guests per day use our fitness center, so we place a high importance on providing a state-of-the-art experience paired with current fitness trends. By investing in the fitness center, we are offering guests a top-notch amenity whether they are visiting for business or pleasure.”
Among the new offerings are a professional team of certified fitness trainers who offer their services complimentary to guests; a 10-count Peloton bike room; and customized running and walking tours of Central Park created by Tour Buddy Apps. All three are firsts for hotels in the city, according to the hotel.
“The fitness center has a completely new look, welcome area and layout. The new welcome area has an open, modern design with a subtle retro feel, setting the tone as guests arrive,” said McCarron. “In addition, the new space has several equipment upgrades, including Peloton bikes and a Synergy360 workout station with several new training tools. The space already had a full array of cardio and strength-training machines, weight benches, free weights, squat rack, rowing machine and a PowerMill climber.”
For those guests who don’t immediately jump on a bike, grab some weights or head to a treadmill, the trainers are on hand to help from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends (guests have 24/7 access using their keycards).
“Along with a team of three fitness professionals, we are able to bring a new touch to the fitness center on a daily basis by interacting with guests and leading them in workouts with weights, on the Peloton bikes or running the park,” said Erin Garcia, the hotel’s health club manager, who is also a certified fitness trainer and fitness nutrition specialist. “The fitness center team includes certified trainers Harold (previously a gym owner and manager), Scott (a NYC trainer and movement specialist) and Will (previously a professional soccer player and half-marathon runner).”
She continued, “The fitness center team also is constantly getting feedback from our guests, and coming up with new and exciting ways to make exercising fun on the road. One way that we really make the experience is by working with groups that come to the hotel and creating customized fitness schedules for them. For example, if a group has a morning full of meetings, they might enjoy a guided Central Park run in the early afternoon customized just to them or a fitness class where they can learn how to stay fit on the go.”
McCarron offered an example of why having a team of trainers at guests’ disposal is so important. “If I am a corporate traveler, I usually work out when on the road. And I may need or want someone pushing me to maximize my workout and also give me tips and tricks,” he said. “Whether this traveler is looking for a regimen and guidance, to shed pounds or become more toned, our trainers are here to support them.”
Since the Peloton bike room is so unique to a hotel in the city, the Sheraton New York Times Square offers more than just a group of cycles.
“Peloton cycling is a major trend; by tapping into that, we are staying on the forefront of guest service,” said McCarron. “Our dedicated room of 10 Peloton bikes was carefully planned so that our guests can join daily group rides, which we broadcast onto an 85-in. screen. Separately, guests have 24-hour access to studio cycling classes and can join any of the up to 14 daily live classes and 5,000-plus on-demand workouts available on the individual bikes.”
Noting that Peloton has an incredibly strong community of followers, he added, “Another reason that we like having Peloton bikes is that many Peloton users follow their favorite trainers and never want to miss a class. By offering 24-hour access to live and on-demand classes, they can plug in for a live class with their favorite trainer so they never miss a ride.”
The six self-guided running and walking audio tours of Central Park, which is just five blocks from the hotel, are expected to be very popular as the weather warms up, noted Garcia.
“Many of our guests love taking advantage of our proximity to Central Park,” said Garcia. “In New York, we had an ‘extended winter’ this year. Our hosted walks and runs launched in April and guests are telling us that they are going to try working their schedules around our hosted runs. As the weather improves and summer approaches, we anticipate the interest to continue growing. And, once they have downloaded our customized Tour Buddy app, guests will have even more options for running in the Park. The voiceover guides guests through the run while pointing out sites of interest and trivia about Central Park.”
McCarron noted that The Sheraton Fitness Running Tour app powered by Tour Buddy is available for free in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play store. Among the sites guests will learn about as they walk or run by are Belvedere Castle, the Great Lawn, Strawberry Fields and the Central Park Zoo.
Garcia has received plenty of positive feedback on the new fitness center, including high praise from those who use fitness training in their professions.
“Guests are excited because now when they stay with us, they can keep up their at-home workout routines while traveling. They have already started mentioning the new gym on social sites like TripAdvisor,” she said. “I have spoken with professional sports players, bikini fitness competitors and triathletes, as well as everyday business travelers, who specifically like that we offer Peloton bikes; treadmills with a view of Seventh Ave.; heavy dumbbells; a row machine; and a squat rack. These types of equipment are not often found in hotel gyms.”
Although the Sheraton New York Times Square fitness center had been offered to non-guests in the past, McCarron pointed out that the upgraded facility is only for those staying at the hotel. “By limiting the access only to our guests,” he said, “we are providing a more-controlled experience within the Sheraton community.” HB