Ahhh, another blogger writing a fluff piece on their new favorite hotel after a wonderful press trip where they were waited on like kings and queens. Stop judging - this is not that. While the personal story below did happen on a press trip, this piece is not written because of that. I wrote this because I somehow joined a primarily fitness writer press trip - and hilarity ensued.
But first, I'll explain why the Westin is different from other wellness hotels....
Spa retreats and wellness programs are sprouting up in hotels from budget to luxury around the world. But in my opinion, the Westin brand really does it right. I've fully converted and now will go out of my way to research if I can stay with them on any upcoming trips. Their plan to keep you in top shape while traveling is all-encompassing. It's not just about an extensive gym, which they of course have. It's making sure you also eat well, sleep well, and move well.
Let's start with the food because really, we all know what you eat while traveling is the most important part of any trip. I'll admit I'm not the biggest healthy eater and sometimes shy away from 'healthy' in lieu of delicious. Thankfully, the food at Westin blends healthy and flavorful together so (for those of you like me) you barely realize how 'good-for-you' you are actually eating.
All restaurant, buffet, and in-room dining menus pack a generous selection of SuperFoodsRx™ dishes to make sure your body is fueled correctly during long travel days. Traveling with kids in tow? Don't worry, even their menus have healthy options that are delicious while still being nutritious. Picky eaters of all ages will do fine here.
When it's time for bed - personally my favorite part of the day - the experience at Westin is exceptional. First off, turn down service includes tiny vials of essential oil balm left bedside. The balm is a unique blend of lavender and chamomile which you roll on your wrists or temples once tucked in and ready for sleep. The natural scents ease tension and promote an easy transition into peaceful slumber. You'll also find silk sleep masks, luxurious sheets, and the softest pillows in their award-winning Heavenly Bed. Hello dreamland.
Like most hotels, each Westin has an extensive gym that all guests are free to use. But it doesn't stop there - this is Westin Wellness - they go above and beyond. Forget your gear? Or trying to pack light? Westin has a gear lending program. All it takes is a quick call to give them your shoe and clothing size and boom - 15 minutes later - freshly laundered New Balance gear is delivered straight to your room. They even let you keep the socks. Because seriously, who wants to wear someone else's socks?
**Gear lending is a $5 fee
(but also include a free pair of socks, so worth it)
And if you're like me, when traveling to a new place for only a few short days, who wants to trade even a precious hour exploring the city to work out inside a hotel gym? That's where Westin's run concierge comes in. Trained staff will take you on a sight-seeing and calorie burning filled run that doubles (triples?) as a quick overview of the city. I especially recommend participating in a run when you first arrive. It's a valuable activity that quickly orients yourself to your new surroundings while allowing you to scope out shops and restaurants you want to try.
Side Story - Personal Experience - Time
I'm not the best runner. In fact, that's probably the understatement of the year. I despise running. On the extremely rare occasion my husband persuades me to run with him, I make it barely a mile in before I'm dramatically sprawled across a bench begging him to carry me home (or call me an uber). In researching this story, I stayed at the Westin in Boston and tried out everything that makes them wellness inspired.
Read on: Full Boston Travel Guide
I was excited for a lot of it. Trying a variety of wellness dishes that are packed with superfoods? Keep the courses coming. Learning a new workout technique (TRX) with equipment I've never even seen before? Bring it on. Time to go for a run around the city with Westin's run concierge? Here comes pure dread and any excuse I can find to not go.
We (myself and about six other primarily wellness focused writers) met up with Copley Place's run concierge, Erin, in the early morning. I explain to her before the run begins that I'm a terrible runner. Honestly, I even tried a last ditch effort to get out of the run by explaining my knees are pretty blown from years of ballet. Erin assured me it was a light run. Nothing too hard, nothing too long, nothing too hilly. She promised I would have a good time and we would stop for pictures - and to catch our breath.
I was still skeptical. Guys, I can't over explain how much I really suck at running. Was I also scared of completely embarrassing myself in front of all these super fit, slick-backed ponytailed, impeccably dressed with the cutest workout attire girls?
A month later, I'm still on a runners high at how much fun I had. I told you I have a flair for the dramatic. But seriously, it really was awesome. We ran through Boston's famous back bay, along the river, and even stopped on Acorn Street for a picture on Americas most photographed road. The first mile and a half flew by. I was smiling, cracking jokes and laughing, all while running. WHO AM I?!
But alas all good things come to an end. Of course, that end couldn't be the actual end of the run - that would be too easy.
Instead, a half mile from the hotel (according to my phones GPS that I was watching like a hawk) I hit a wall. I really couldn't finish the run - no way, no how. I needed a bench to rest on and I needed it now. I started getting bright red from over exertion. My energy and smiles were gone. They had been replaced with jello legs and the familiar anxiety that these other girls were totally judging me as I slowed down, to what can only be described as a power walk, every 10 steps to catch my breath.
Finally, I gathered the courage to fully stop and quietly told Erin I wanted to walk the rest of the route and meet her and the group back at the hotel. You know what her response was? "No problem girl, you rocked this run!" said with a huge smile spread across her face and a triumphant high-five punctuated the end.
No judgement. No pushing me to keep going. No side-eye from the other girls. Only excitment for how far I had actually made it. It was awesome to have genuine encouragement.
Moral of the very-long story: Even if you aren't the biggest fitness buff, or a crazy accomplished runner, give the run concierge at Westin a try. It's truly a unique way to experience a travel destination and also a great workout in the process.
One last thing...
...even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. I recommend the Lonely Planet Pocket Guides - they are awesome, and obviously fit in your pocket. But here are some other travel guide books I recommend:
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).