Westin Hotels Used To Let You Use Free Workout Gear. Their New Program Makes You Pay.

Chalk this up to another cost cut, where a major hotel chain eats into its brand by charging guests as much or more than before while delivering less.

Westin Hotels has launched a new fitness gear lending program and instead of workout gear being branded as something available to you as a Westin guest use of the gear is now something they’ll sell you.

Starwood was a pioneer two decades ago when it introduced “Westin Workout Powered By Reebok.” They’d make workout clothes available to guests, so you wouldn’t have to pack them but could still get exercise in. And they put exercise equipment in some rooms, too.

  • The idea was that a hotel doesn’t just give you a place to sleep, and maybe stay nourished, but helps you live your active lifestyle and be ready for the day with peak performance.

  • The trend towards hotels offering a ‘wellness’ or lifestyle experience has only grown since then. It was a key element to the Westin brand alongside the Heavenly Bed.


Westin Gym

Westin replaced Reebok with New Balance a dozen years ago, and Starwood was acquired by Marriott. The New Balance partnership ended during the pandemic, and like breakfast and housekeeping Marriott has brought back a version of the benefit that costs hotel owners less.

Instead of having the gear on hand to lend, it’s now available for rent (a ‘nominal fee’). Hotels also no longer have to stock running clothes or shoes like they used to, based on the items Marriott displays in their announcement.


Credit: Marriott

Oddly they’re making a vibrating tool available, which they show a guest using on their bed, apparently you’ll be paying to share the item with other guests for exercise recovery and also you-know-what?


Credit: Marriott

It’s more brand dilution, with Westin exiting the wellness space without saying they’re exiting the wellness space. That’s great for owner costs today, but in the long run it means the brand won’t attract as many guests or drive as high of a room rate. That means the brand will have less value, and Marriott the company will have less value as a result.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Don’t forget that Westin has eliminated Starbucks coffee and even mouthwash. I imagine the fitness rooms with treadmills will be eliminated once the current treadmills are past their lifespan.

  2. Eh, this is kind of apples and oranges; the old program was lending basically a set of PE clothes. The new program appears to have two flavors: 1) recovery, with Hyperice branded percussive stuff (top end), and 2) a full yoga kit. Personally I wouldn’t avail myself of any of it (I’ve always been happy to travel with my own gym clothes and occasionally some stretching bands and massage balls), but it’s a different offering.

  3. Bonvoy properties are the worst. I’ve given up on them. Gone are the good old days when Starwood was king.

  4. It will be interesting to see where this all falls out. I never partook in the loaner clothes, and always lack a pair of tennis shoes.

    I stay at a fair amount of Starwood properties as I am closing in on lifetime Platinum, and the former Starwood properties in general seem dated. So hopefully there is a capital improvement campaign lurking – maybe a better place to spend.

  5. Whining about nothing. It is an extra option separate from the hotel room and direct services and it is upgraded from what was offered before. No problem at all monetizing it.

    These are businesses people! They don’t exist to cater to you (and I’m top level in most of them, several lifetime member). They are for profit. As long as room rates and utilization are high they will continue to cut costs. That is only reasonable. If you want to stay somewhere else please do that. However you (and I) are a very small percentage of their guests.

    If profits go down or a competitor offers something that takes away business they will change. Just like with the whining about airline programs (God forbid a points devaluation)! Have you people ever studied economics. It really isn’t about you and you will never have the “good old days” again.

    Get over it! Either accept the changes and learn how to best utilize them or change hotels (airlines) but in any event quit whining!!!

  6. Percussion massage devices deliver the kind of extremely intense vibration that the vast, vast majority of people really won’t want near certain soft and sensitive bodily tissues.

  7. IIRC, Westin used to charge a $5 fee the last year or two of the program. It was well worth it to me to not have to deal with sweaty workout gear.

  8. I’m staying at a Westin right now that has two reservable guest rooms with Peloton’s in them. Worth it for me to pay for the upgrade and not have to worry about one being free in the gym.

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