Fitness Takes a Vacation

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If that business trip doesn't work out, there's always the workout.

Holiday Inn parent InterContinental (NYS: IHG) is opening a new chain of hotels with a fitness theme. When the first of the Even hotels opens early next year, guests will see a large gym adjacent to the lobby's front desk.

It's not just about a big fitness room that will be front and center. The actual rooms will have more open spaces than traditional lodging options for personal workouts. Rooms will have weight benches, exercise mats, and even sturdy coat racks that double as chin-up bars.

Taking a page out of the high-end Canyon Ranch wellness playbook, the hotel's restaurant offerings will also serve up plenty of healthy fare.

InterContinental is earmarking $150 million for the first phase of snapping up other hotels and rebranding them. 

It's a smart move. InterContinental will be able to charge a bit more than it typically commands for its Holiday Inn properties, and a seemingly stodgy lodging chain becomes an unlikely play on the country's wellness trends.

There's clearly big money to be made in promoting cardio workouts.

Last week alone saw the Active Network (NYS: ACTV) -- the undisputed champ in Web-based registrations for endurance events -- post a 23% surge in quarterly revenue, and Nike (NYS: NKE) introduce its mobile health Nike+ FuelBand bracelet.

You'll be hard pressed to find a specialty retailer growing as quickly as workout gear boutique lululemon athletica (NAS: LULU) , and that reminds me that the Even hotel rooms will emphasize natural light for guests wanting to take in some yoga to cool down.

InterContinental is on to something here. It will take a long time for Canyon Ranch to canvas the country with its wellness spa hotels, so Even has the mass market waiting. All it has to do now is lace up its shoes and sprint.

On the run
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At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of lululemon athletica.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Active Network, Nike, and lululemon athletica.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a diagonal call position in Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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