GYMS FIT FOR WORKOUT KINGS

Jim Kaese and his staff at www.athleticmindedtraveler.com have climbed stair machines and lifted weights in the smelliest, dingiest hotel gyms as well as the most tricked-out facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and pumped-in aromatics. It's all done in the name of research to provide the most up-to-date information for the site's subscribers — travelers determined to stay in shape while on the road.

The company sorted through its research of more than 3,000 hotels to arrive at its 2006 list of the Best Hotel Gyms in the U.S. They include, starting with the top-ranked: The Houstonian, Houston; Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia; Four Seasons, San Francisco; Embassy Suites Lakefront, Chicago; Venetian, Las Vegas; Bellevue Club, Bellevue, WA; Inn at Ponte Vedra, FL; Grand Hotel, Minneapolis; JW Marriott Grande Lake, Orlando; Ritz Carlton Boston Common, MA; and Le Parker Meridien, New York City.

“These are exercise utopias,” says Kaese. “Many hotels are finally grasping that millions of travelers care about exercising while on the road.” The hotels listed all feature “true state-of-the-art equipment,” says Kaese, “and have aerobic equipment such as treadmills, upright and recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers and rowing machines, plus strength apparatus.”

The top-ranked Houstonian offers 125,000 square feet of “fitness bliss” with 22 ellipticals, 16 treadmills, 14 bikes and eight step machines. An outdoor lap pool and access to a multitude of tennis, racquetball and basketball courts round out the healthy offerings.

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