The Big Chicago 10: Top Hotel Gyms & Fitness Programs

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    Top Chicago Hotel Gyms & Fitness Programs

    ••• The Gym at The James is a 2,500-square-foot, full-service fitness center and is open 24/7 for hotel guests. James Chicago

    Remind yourself that you're not a fitness freak. Instead, you're the type of person who's gotten into a workout routine that you enjoy enough that you want to maintain when you're on the road.

    With all the fabulous culinary temptations in the Windy City--brunch, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, food tours, etc.--staying on track may be challenging. That's why top Chicago fitness pro Michael Wollpert recommends mixing a guilty pleasure or two with your regular routine.

    "'I'm on vacation' means all bets are off and I can eat whatever I want. This is a mistake," warns Wollpert, who works as a personal trainer as well as an instructor at Equinox. "Perhaps have an attitude of I can enjoy one or two restaurants or experiences with the rest of the trip, eating clean and hitting fitness for fun as well."

    Lucky for you, many Chicago hotels are equipped with gyms (also see top Chicago boutique gyms), but if you want to step it up a notch or two, we've...MORE gathered an impressive list. Choose from a property boasting a full-size basketball court to several hotels featuring aerobic, running and yoga classes.

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    The Buckingham Hotel

    ••• The Buckingham Club

    The Details: Located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, The Buckingham Hotel is ideal for the savvy business traveler. It's on the same level as the romantic Everest restaurant and offers similar views of the city's spectacular skyline. The gym is complimentary for hotel guests, yet children are not allowed during the week. Cardio equipment includes treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and rowers.

    Why We Love It: There's an updated golf performance center, featuring integrated swing coaching, golf-specific fitness training, rehabilitation and custom equipment fitting. Golf enthusiasts will also appreciate the full 3D motion capture, TrackMan Launch Monitor system and simulator. There are daily BARRE, boxing, boot camp, spin and yoga classes; also pool and basketball and racquetball courts.

    Hotel Rates: $121-$367

    Address: 440 S. LaSalle St.

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    Fairmont Chicago/Lakeshore Sport & Fitness Illinois Center

    ••• Lakeshore Sport & Fitness Illinois Center

    The Details: Guests of the Fairmont may purchase a $20 day pass at the front desk for Lakeshore Sport & Fitness Illinois Center, which is located directly around the corner. The facility is more than 120,000 square feet and its central focus is the tallest indoor climbing wall in the country, which spans the length of the club. The hotel is also around the corner from Millennium Park.

    Why We Love It: The gym is a fitness enthusiast's dream: It contains a boxing studio, eight-lane indoor pool, outdoor pool with sundeck, group fitness classes, golf simulator and putting green, group cycling studio, Pilates studio, yoga studio, running track and squash courts.

    Hotel Rates: $134-$399

    Address: 211 N. Stetson Ave. (gym), 200 N. Columbus Dr. (hotel)

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    Four Seasons Chicago/Equinox

    ••• Equinox Gold Coast

    The Details: Those planning to stay at Four Seasons Chicago should take advantage of the discounted day rate of $25 at Equinox Gold Coast. Both establishments are under the roof of the 900 North Michigan Shops, and the latter boasts a luxury 30,000-square-foot space with a junior Olympic-sized pool and four group fitness studios.

    Why We Love It: That luxury extends to Kiehl's Since 1851 bath and body products in the locker rooms as well as eucalyptus-scented towels. Extra-busy people should appreciate Equinox's newest class, Firestarter--a 30-minute workout that gives new meaning to cardio HIIT training. Participants use their own body weight and step bench to go through innovative and fast paced sequences offering a complete cardio challenge. 

    Hotel Rates: $341-$1,642

    Address: 900 N. Michigan Ave.

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    Hotel Chicago/SPiN

    ••• SPiN

    The Details: Located directly across from House of Blues, Hotel Chicago Downtown is a boutique property with 354 guest rooms and suites. It's also in the same building housing SPiN, an intense, yet fun ping-pong club founded by Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon.

    Why We Love It: The social club is nightlife oriented--with deejays spinning regularly--and is a great way to shed pounds with friends. It's open late night seven days a week, which should be enticing for someone looking to work out during unconventional times in a lively atmosphere. And if you're drinking, there are craft cocktails behind the bar. Prices for ping-pong range from $15 for a half hour during off-peak hours to $39 an hour during peak hours.

    Hotel Rates: $95-$499

    Address: 333 N. Dearborn St. (hotel), 344 N. State St. (SPiN)

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    Intercontinental Chicago

    ••• InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

    The Details: The Magnificent Mile's Intercontinental Chicago upgraded its fitness center in 2016, and that included a new name: the I-Club. It now offers new elliptical and bicycle machines, but the big attraction is the junior Olympic-sized pool, which has been around since the 1920s. The historic pool was also renovated, yet it maintains the historic nature of the space, keeping the striking blue-toned mosaic tile and classic stone trimmings.

    Why We Love It:  If you've hit a plateau in your routine and not seeing any progress, the gym has a personal trainer, who may offer advice and one-on-one sessions.

    Hotel Rates: $104-$517

    Address: 505 N. Michigan Ave.

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    James Chicago

    ••• James Chicago

    The Details: The upscale James hotel is a great place for entertaining kids, but also for adults who need to work off stress with sweat. Their playground is The Gym at The James, a 2,500-square-foot, full-service fitness center with 10 pieces of cardiovascular equipment, each furnished with an individual television set. There is also more than 25 pieces of strength equipment.

    Why We Love It:  Planning a wedding? The James has enlisted celebrity fitness guru Jim Karas to provide customized fitness programs, such as the Bridal Boot Camp. He's designed a great workout to tone key areas, relieve stress and add those final touches to the body before the bride says "I do." It's $90 and $30 for each additional person.

    Hotel Rates: $123-$358

    Address: 55 E. Ontario St.

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    Kimpton Gray Hotel

    ••• Kimpton Gray Hotel

    The Details: Financial District newcomer Kimpton Gray Hotel is only minutes away from the trendy West Loop neighborhood and Chicago Theater District. It's also home to a 24-hour fitness center with a smattering of state-of-the-art equipment like PreCor TRM 885 treadmills, PreCor RBK 835 recumbent bike and the PreCor FTS glide.

    Why We Love It:  Want to get in a good run, but don't know the city? Twice a week, one of the hotel's managers leads an early morning run through downtown to give you a taste of Chicago's famed architecture. Sign up at the front desk upon check-in. Or if you're looking to burn more than 800 calories in an hour, take the Monday night Iron + Oar’s signature rowing class. Participants work every muscle during this total body, high-intensity, low-impact workout. It's $23 per person and occurs at 6 p.m. in the 15th floor Adler Ballroom. Guests who'd prefer to work out on their own may use one of the in-room yoga mats or complimentary...MORE bikes.

    Hotel Rates: $135-$385

    Address: 122 W. Monroe St.

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    Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago

    ••• Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago

    The Details: Only hotel guests get to enjoy the four pools located on the property of the Radisson Blu, located a block away from Millennium Park. Those who head to the third-floor terrace, 25-meter lap pool are treated to a number of amenities, including a children’s pool, dedicated yoga space, hot tub, sauna, sundecks, fire pits, cabanas and seasonal outdoor bar.

    Why We Love It: The 8,000-square-foot fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio machines, weightlifting equipment, spinning facility and full-size basketball court.

    Hotel Rates: $142-$631

    Address: 221 N. Columbus Dr.

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    Soho House Chicago

    ••• Soho House Chicago

    The Details: The London-based hotel group opened its first property in the Midwest in 2014. Situated in the West Loop, Soho House Chicago takes over a six-floor historic warehouse dating back to 1907. The property's "small" and "medium" bedrooms range from 300 square feet to 500 square feet with king-sized beds topped with Egyptian cotton sheets as well as walk-in rainforest showers.

    Why We Love It: Members and hotel guests also have access to a 15,000-square-foot gym. Its amenities include: a professional boxing ring, Technogym equipment, two fitness studios, men and ladies lounges, and steam rooms.

    Hotel Rates: $312-$585

    Address: 113-125 N. Green St.

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    Virgin Hotels Chicago

    ••• Virgin Hotels Chicago

    The Details: The world's first-ever Virgin hotel opened in the Loop in 2015, and it combines a personalized hotel experience with the personality of Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group. If you cannot bear to tear yourself away from work, Virgin Hotels Chicago's gym assists you in multitasking. The internet-equipped Technogym cardio machines range from treadmills to elliptical trainers.

    Why We Love It: The rooftop gym is located on the 25th floor and offers some great views of the city's famed architecture.

    Hotel Rates: $136-$365

    Address: 203 N. Wabash Ave.