Update: New Services for Travelers, From Fitness to Food
There is no shortage today of new apps and services aimed at making travel more convenient, even pleasurable. Here, four of the latest contenders worth checking out:
ROAMFITNESS Hate missing a workout when you’re on the road? Enter RoamFitness, an airport gym situated behind security where travelers can either pay for a day pass or become annual members. The first location opened in January in Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and two more locations are scheduled to open in domestic airports by the end of this year. Roam was founded by two friends and fitness enthusiasts, Cynthia Sandall and Ty Manegold, who wanted to find a way to stick to their exercise routines while traveling. The Baltimore airport location, which is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., is about 1,100 square feet and equipped with the latest cardio equipment and weight machines; future branches will be similar. Fliers can bring their own workout clothes, but access to the gym includes a loan of Lululemon exercise gear and Brooks running shoes. Other amenities that are part of the price: showers stocked with high-end Malin & Goetz products, USB charging ports, Wi-Fi and locker rooms with toiletries like aerosol deodorant and toothbrushes. And to keep the gym from getting too crowded, access is limited to 20 people at a time. A day pass is $40, and annual membership is $600.
NOMI BEAUTY An on-demand hotel beauty service founded in part by a former makeup artist, Nikki Robinson, Nomi Beauty offers blowouts, hairstyling and makeup application for women in their hotel rooms, starting as early as 6 a.m. and until 8 p.m. “We don’t want women to be beholden to the hours that salons are open, which don’t always allow for flexibility,” Ms. Robinson said. Nomi is available in more than 50 New York City hotels, including the WestHouse Hotel New York in Midtown and the InterContinental Times Square; the company expects to expand to Boston in June and Miami in September.
Customers can book an appointment through their hotel concierge or via the Nomi app — the cost of the service is added to their hotel bills. Prices from $95.
ONE NIGHT Amar Lalvani, chief executive of Standard International, the parent company of the Standard hotel chain, is behind One Night, a last-minute hotel booking app that includes properties beyond the ones he oversees. Beginning each day at 3 p.m., those who have the app can book a hotel room for that evening in Austin, Tex.; Los Angeles; Miami; and New York (more cities will be added throughout the year) and are guaranteed the lowest available rate. Travelers won’t have to wade through dozens of options when deciding where to stay: Each city has a pared-down list of hotels, all of which have a reputation for being stylish. There is a mix of boutique independent properties such as Hotel Ella in Austin, as well as some that are part of small hotel groups, like the Sixty Beverly Hills in California. Mr. Lalvani said that One Night was about giving travelers a choice. “Of course I would love if everyone stayed at a Standard, but I recognize that travelers today want options,” he said, “so I’m offering other hotels that I think are fantastic in their own right.”
VELOCITY This is trying to be the restaurant reservation app for travelers who want to feel like a savvy local wherever they go. The app covers four cities — London, Los Angeles, Miami and New York — and four ski resorts — Aspen, Colo.; Park City, Utah; and Gstaad and Verbier in Switzerland. Velocity includes both Michelin-star picks like the Greenhouse, a French restaurant in London, and under-the-radar spots such as Carlitos Gardel, an Argentine steakhouse in Los Angeles. Diners make reservations through the app, and, according to a Velocity founder, Zia Yusuf, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, the company has negotiated with many of the restaurants to give its users priority when requesting prime dining times such as 8 p.m. on a Saturday. Dubai; Hong Kong; Ibiza, Spain; and Singapore are expected to join Velocity’s lineup later this year.
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