At Rockville’s Even Hotel, guests have no excuse not to exercise

Exercise guru Tammy Stokes demonstrates how to use Even Hotel’s exercise equipment. (Evy Mages/For The Washington Post)
Exercise guru Tammy Stokes demonstrates how to use Even Hotel’s
exercise equipment. (Evy Mages/For The Washington Post)

Even Hotel marked its grand opening on Rockville Pike last month with the ceremonial unrolling of a giant yoga mat. It was an appropriate welcome for the 167-room property from the InterContinental Hotels Group.

“In our research, we found a lot of people who said, ‘I have a wellness routine at home. It would be great if a hotel helped me stay on the wagon,’ ” says Adam Glickman, head of the Even brand. By rethinking every aspect of the traveler experience with a focus on health, his team developed a model he believes will be the future of the hospitality industry.

For now, there are just two Even locations — one opened earlier this summer in Norwalk, Conn. Three more are slated to open in New York in 2015.

Guests walking into any Even Hotel will be greeted with assorted fruit-infused waters. (The current Rockville lineup includes lime cucumber mint and watermelon rosemary.) At check-in, they get a cooling towel, along with the option of purchasing a sweat-proof wristband that can be used in place of a regular key.

When it’s time to head to their rooms, guests can skip the elevators and take the staircase. Printed footsteps show the way, so it’s easy to find. Bright windows and inspirational signs (“Stay one step ahead today”) make it a pleasant climb.

In the rooms (with rates starting at $89), the lights have dimmers and can change color, Glickman points out. The pillows come in squishy and firm varieties. And the desk and chair are on wheels, so “you feel in control of the space,” he says. A panel next to the TV also flips down to create a standing desk.

Instead of a minibar stuffed with tempting junk, there’s just an empty fridge. And instead of a pricey bottle of water, there’s a reusable water bottle that guests can take home free of charge.

The most obvious difference? An area with cork flooring devoted to exercise. Each room is stocked with a stability ball, a yoga mat, a block and a foam roller, as well as the Even Trainer (see box).

There’s also a fancy “athletic studio” on the ground floor near the lobby. (“So members of our team can go in and give high-fives,” Glickman says.) It boasts Woodway treadmills and other top-of-the-line equipment, plus a “flex” room off to the side for cycling and yoga classes.

After a workout, guests can refuel at Cork & Kale. The restaurant’s menu options include yogurts, flatbreads and salads — all with labels highlighting whether dishes are vegan, have fewer than 426 calories or fit other criteria.

“People get it,” says Scott Blakeslee, Even’s chief wellness officer, who leads morning runs twice a week. And it’s not just the business travelers, he adds.

On a recent night, 8-year-old Emma Collins of Denton, Texas, picked up a fresh-squeezed orange juice and deemed everything about the place “awesome.”

“This encourages both kids and adults,” her mom Margaret said. Maybe it’ll encourage some other hotels, too.

Rooms to Move

Georgia-based fitness expert Tammy Stokes was tapped to develop Even Hotels’ in-room exercise program. The Even Trainer, above, lets users anchor resistance bands at different points, which allows them to do a huge range of movements in a small space, she says. There are 19 channels of looping fitness programs on the TV, and a book of other exercise options, so guests have no excuse not to try something.

 

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Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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