Hotel chain tries out fitness-friendly brand in Rockville


Tammy Stokes, an adviser for EVEN hotels, demonstrates the in-room exercise equipment at the new Even Hotel in Rockville. (Evy Mages/For Capital business)

Between organic cocktails, personal yoga mats and paleo-friendly meals, Even Hotels is hoping it’s got the most health conscious of travelers covered.

The newest brand from the InterContinental Hotels Group, which opened an Even Hotel in Rockville this month, is focused on making it as easy as possible for guests to stick to their diets and workout routines while on the road.

“We talked to 4,000 customers and found out that often guests fall off the wagon when they travel,” said Adam Glickman, head of Even Hotels. “We  thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was a hotel concept that put holistic wellness first?”

Each of the hotel’s 167 rooms comes equipped with its own yoga mat, exercise ball and standing desk. In addition to regular channels, television sets come pre-programmed with 19 channels of trainer-led exercise routines. There is also a gym, as well as a separate studio for yoga and cycling classes.

Instead of traditional room keys, the hotel doles out digital bracelets that guests can easily wear during their morning run. The hotel’s general manager, who doubles as its chief wellness officer, hosts a run every other morning.

For guests who prefer to get their exercise in less structured ways, Glickman says he can accommodate that, too.

“Not everyone likes to exercise formally, so we’ve gone as far as building out the stairwell here,” he said. “If you want to take the stairs, it’s bright, it’s got a lot of light. It doesn’t feel like an emergency exit.”

Nightly rates in August start at about $108, according to the company’s Web site.

The hotel’s restaurant, Cork & Kale, was created in conjunction with the Founding Farmers Restaurant Group, and offers paleo-friendly, gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as freshly squeezed juices and organic teas. Paleolithic diets typically center around the kind of unprocessed, nondairy foods that would have been around in prehistoric times.

“Everybody’s idea of wellness is a little bit different,” Glickman said. “For some people, it’s an evening cocktail. For others, it’s a nice cup of tea and a fluffy pillow.”

In addition to Rockville, the company also has an Even Hotel in Norwalk, Conn. The idea, Glickman says, is to grow in bustling suburban areas.

“Our strategy is to put the hotels in very high barrier-to-entry markets,” Glickman said. “Rockville is a great example of that: It’s a high-volume suburb just outside of D.C. Those are the types of places where we’ll grow.”

The Rockville property, which was built in the mid-1980s as a Ramada Inn and was later a Legacy Hotel, was being converted to a Holiday Inn Express when IHG purchased it last June.

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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