If you’re anything like me, you want a simple workout to do while OOO. Often, I stick to the hotel treadmill instead of opting to run outside—I don’t like to be out in an unfamiliar city thanks to a fear of getting lost and other safety concerns.
But I recently visited the Westin Resort and Spa, Puerto Vallarta and had the chance to experience a guided outdoor run, thanks to their Run Concierge program.
Experts In This Article
- Max Toledo, Rooms Operation Manager, Westin Hotels & Resorts
Each Run Concierge (and there are more than 250 Run Concierges across Westin properties) provides you with a running partner that will take you on guided runs through your vacation destination.
“The purpose of the concierge is to take two to three runs per week with guests and show them what is along the route,” says Max Toledo, rooms operation manager. “There is a lot of history they can tell you about, and that is the basis of the program.”
Whether you’re traveling for fun or visiting a new place to run a marathon, having local runners to go to for advice is clutch. At the Westin in Puerto Vallarta, the director of sales, Cairo Moales Martinez (who also happens to be an avid runner), took me out to log some miles.
Martinez and I met up at 7 a.m. for a stretch before we went out for the run. (The early take-off was much appreciated, as it gets hot throughout the day.) As we ran along the palm tree–flanked path, she shared the histories of Puerto Vallarta, the buildings along the route, and the marina that we ran through.
“It was absolutely breathtaking, and not something I would have seen had I not chosen to go on a run that morning.” —Brittany Hammond, CPT
I made lots of mental notes for places I wanted to experience before my trip came to an end. Toward the middle of our run, we witnessed the most beautiful sunrise, full of bright oranges and pinks. It was absolutely breathtaking, and not something I would have seen had I not chosen to go on a run that morning.
“There is a big community all around the globe that enjoys getting to know a little bit more of the destinations they are traveling to,” Toledo says. And he’s right: Going on an early-morning run with a knowledgeable guide was truly the best way to experience Puerto Vallarta. I got in my workout, but also learned a lot about the city in a fun setting.
And anyone on staff can lead a run, meaning that even if you went running every day of your trip, you could potentially have a different guide that will have their very own history and stories to share with you.
“There are plenty of Westins around the globe [where] even the general managers serve as the Run Concierge. It’s surprising for the guest to get to run with the GM, and it creates a memorable experience,” Toledo explains.
Getting the most out of your outdoor runs on vacation
The property where I stayed is one of 250 Westin hotels that partner with the Strava app (which is free to guests), a run-mapping app available for smartphones. All routes will be on the app, so guests can go for runs using vetted paths (read more about how Strava’s trail maps keep you on-track here). Guests can also choose to do their own routes, or ask the hotel for a printed map.
No matter where you’re staying, if you do choose to run outdoors while on vacation, ask the front desk if they have any recommendations.
“We recommend you stick to a route,” Toledo says. “We choose it because we believe it is safe. Also, don’t talk to any strangers along the way.”
There is also safety in numbers, and you can run with the others on your trip—many hotels will likely help find others to join you.
To keep your runs more in the spirit of relaxation as opposed to being another thing to add to your to-do list, try to incorporate a tour of the city. You can take the opportunity to learn the history of the area or even scope out places you want to visit later. “Have the staff suggest what might be of interest to you to check out,” Toledo says.
To get the most out of running on vacation, you want to use the tools at your disposal. Check the weather, talk to the staff about the best routes in the area, use an app to help you navigate—the more prepared you can be for your run, the better.
And if you are staying at one of the 250 Westin locations with a Run Concierge, you can have the same experience I did—and I would definitely recommend Puerto Vallarta as your running backdrop.