The First Fitness Suite Hotel

Affinia Dumont in Manhattan

 

Successful executives bring passion to their work. They bring that same passion to everything they do, whether it’s in the cars they drive, the art they collect, or even how they keep their bodies fit. When they travel, they insist on being able to continue their fitness routines, maybe even taking advantage of some of the down time that business travel forces on them to drive their fitness program a little further.

The Affinia chain of hotels has recognized that their upscale patrons pay particular attention to fitness. Executive demand for fitness centers, masseuses, swimming pools, and the like is only a tiny part of the fitness trend. The National Sporting Goods Association reports that exercise equipment sales increased over $50 million last year, and growth is expected to continue. Nationwide sales of fitness and sporting goods has increased as much as 25% a year in some categories.

To tap into this demand, the Affinia chain of upscale New York hotels that includes the Benjamin and Affinia 50 gave the Affinia Dumont hotel a $15 million renovation, focusing on fitness. It now offers amenities ranging from their gym-bag “Fit Kits” which are delivered complimentary to guests for their private running, walking, yoga, or strength training workouts, in-room workouts, to an expansive, 24-hour fitness center.

I had the pleasure of visiting as the guest of the Affinia Dumont to experience their focus on fitness firsthand. But I didn’t have to settle for a fit kit for yoga or strength training, and I didn’t have to go down to their fitness center – either of which would have been fine for my particular needs – instead I stayed in their signature fitness suite. It’s the size of three standard hotel rooms – one room for sleeping, one for entertaining, and one amazing room for exercise. The room had free weights, a universal weight machine, a treadmill, stair stepper, exercise bike, a library of exercise videos, yoga mats, medicine balls, and a steam room. As I said, “amazing”.

The previous guest had been the coach of a college basketball team, who used the exercise room for one-on-one coaching of his players. The fitness room floor was padded, reducing the thud of the occasionally dropped weight or the steady thump thump thump of a player running on the treadmill. After the workout, he could have sent a player to the exercise room’s shower, or let them relax in the sauna.

The coach also certainly made use of the well-designed office to handle the paperwork associated with coaching. The desk chair was tremendously comfortable and the windowside desk perfect for a coach or any kind of executive. Instead of copies of Forbes and Inc on the desk, we found current issues of Men’s Health and Fitness magazines.

The room also had a full kitchen, complete with a full-sized refrigerator and stove, making the suite ideal for long-term stays. In fact, the deep closets in both the bedroom and bathroom seemed to invite a person to move in with everything he’d need to stay for the season.

I popped into the Oasis Day Spa – blended into the hotel’s common exercise room. With more attention of fitness than the typical hotel, there was a broad selection of walkers and weights and steppers and bikes – a good choice if a person’s into keeping fit and not lucky enough to land the signature fitness suite. I didn’t have the opportunity to check out the Oasis services, but the staff was pleasant and informative, happy to arrange spa services in their private treatment rooms or in the comfort of a patron’s hotel room. The Dumont’s “Fitness Concierge” is knowledgeable about walking and jogging routes near the hotel, nearby gyms and physical therapists, and even healthy eateries.

If I was a fitness fiend, I would never have left the suite. I’d just call room service for fresh fruit and protein drinks, have business associates to come to my room for our meetings, and then spend the rest of the time getting my body toned and heart pumping.

But I’m no fitness fiend, which is okay, since there’s many other reasons to enjoy staying at the Affinia Dumont. The room’s windows looked out toward the art deco Chrysler Building, once the tallest building in the world. The hotel also sits a half-dozen blocks away from the Empire State Building – a place I dreamed about visiting since I was a child. Broadway and Times Square are within walking distance, and there is no shortage of excellent restaurants nearby.

And if I didn’t feel like walking too far, right next to the hotel is “The Barking Dog”, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks. My breakfast omelet was beyond filling, and I sometimes smiled at the canine motif throughout the restaurant.

There are so many other interesting touches throughout the hotel worth mentioning – the elevator has a flat panel TV promoting the spa and other services, CD players are mounted behind the sofas in the lobby, the artwork and décor of the rooms show both originality and classical taste.

Where does the Affinia Dumont fall short? There’s no pool. Swimming is my preferred fitness activity. But beyond that, I wouldn’t exactly call anything in the Affinia“falling short”. The hotel’s rooms don’t look out at the Empire State Building, but the views are still spectacular. The hotel’s meeting room couldn’t host a Shriner’s convention or an overblown wedding, but it will host a large board meeting or a small reception.

Overall, I was thrilled with my visit to the Affinia Dumont, and I’d recommend it for anyone with executive tastes, especially for those for whom fitness is a high priority.

You can find the Affinia Dumont online at Affinia.com. They’re located at 150 E. 34th Street in New York, NY. Their phone is (212) 481-7600

 

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