A fitness movement built around traveling.

Redefining the Hotel Fitness Experience

Redefining the Hotel Fitness Experience

Boston Marriott Cambridge and S3 Design Inc. have teamed up to redefine what a hotel fitness center should be.

Staying fit while traveling requires extraordinary motivation to combat the jet lag, dining-out, and on-the-go-lifestyle that can occur on a business trip or vacation.

You packed your gym gear with every intention of continuing your fitness routine, even after a late night out on the town followed by a full day of meetings or sightseeing. And now you are negotiating with yourself whether to travel down several floors to a small room jammed with equipment to get in a subpar workout, or to just do some jumping jacks in your room and call it a night.

Renovation at Boston Marriott Cambridge

For years, hotels have been wrestling with how to provide something meaningful for guests that encourages them to stay on their fitness regimen and not feel like the hotel fitness room is a step down from their personal membership. 

The Boston Marriott Cambridge decided to tackle this challenge head on and renovate their existing amenity to provide a fitness environment that looks, feels and provides workout options closer to a true health club. 

They started the process by bringing in S3 Design Inc. who specializes in health club design.  They then strategized together what would differentiate Boston Marriott Cambridge’s fitness offering from other hotels across the country. The need for space became a top priority, and it became apparent that the existing pool area was antiquated and the real estate - if converted to fitness - would be a much better use of space.  

By filling in the pool, the fitness facility was able to grow twofold, thus providing guest ample space to move around, more equipment offerings and functional training space.  The folded ceiling element designed by S3 ties the new space together while differentiating it.


Another area that health clubs typically have that hotel amenities lack is a studio space.  Removing the pool, included removing an old hot tub, allowed the design team to insert a small studio.  Understanding that the key to a good class is the instructor but having an actual instructor there when a hotel guest wanted to take a class was going to be a challenge. 

Boston Marriott Cambridge and S3 solved this by bringing in Fitness-On-Demand.  By incorporating a large video monitor with Fitness-On-Demands programming, guests are able to do cycling, group X and yoga classes of their choosing and on their schedules.  As a guest, you get great classes in a personal setting.


For most hotel fitness centers, a locker room is not an option.  However, because the hotel already had a locker room for the existing pool, the hotel and design team were able to refresh the finishes and provide another fitness center type of a touch with very little cost to the overall project.

Lastly, from a programming standpoint, when the S3 team and the Boston Marriott Team were brainstorming the specialty facets of the new fitness center, one touch point that the operations team wanted was the ability to provide a Refresh component. 

S3 incorporated an area where guests could grab water, a protein snack, or fresh fruit, during or after their work out.  This service is provided by the hotel, as part of a healthy living offering to guests.


All of these new program elements are wrapped in an aesthetic of chocolate wood tones and blues that are used throughout the hotel.  Guests are also surrounded by large graphic artwork that keys to fitness and working out.  These add to the overall vibe of the fitness offerings, that truly transforms it from an amenity to a place where you want to work out. 

The space has been open for a month and already they are receiving comments like “Wow, this feels like a high-end health club!”

Marriott Fitness Center.jpg

Bottom Line

So if you are in the Cambridge area, and looking for a great hotel, and know how easy it is to take a look at a fitness room and convince yourself it’s not worth it, book at the Boston Cambridge Marriott… their new Fitness Center provides renewed motivation for getting a fantastic workout while traveling!

To see some amazing before and after photos of this transformation and other S3 Design projects, visit our website at

Design Team: S3 Design Inc., WB Engineers + Consultants, Daigle Engineers Inc., and Benchmark Construction (General Contractor)

All photos by Steve Fellmeth.

Check out our new book Fit For Travel on Amazon.

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