By Leslie Rice Hart


When I was a sales executive, I often had to do overnight trips. I longed for the cheerful hotel with a nice fitness center and a healthy restaurant. What I always seemed to get was a drab room with ancient, rickety, nautilus equipment and a rusty, creaky stationary bike that barely functioned. I would end up blowing off the workout out of disappointment. Thankfully, those days are over for me, and for the lucky traveler who ventures to New York City. For, now we have the Affinia Dumont Executive Fitness Suite Hotel, conveniently located in Midtown on 34th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues.

Upon my first visit to Affinia Dumont, I was greeted with a warm, welcoming smile at the door. At the registration desk a complimentary healthy elixir – a fruit and herbal tonic – was offered to me. The choices were Virtual Buddha, an elation-by-the-glass tonic with peaches and herbs, or Tame the Elements, a fight-the-good-fight tonic with lemons, honey, and herbs. I picked Tame the Elements, after all I do live in NYC. It was quite refreshing. As I enjoyed my elixir, I was continually hearing, “Be Well”, the salutation (keeping with the wellness theme) that the hotel associates fondly bestow upon their patrons as they exit the hotel.

Looking around the warm and inviting lobby I noticed the Asian flare. The space was decorated with rich woods and splashed with bright colors and cushy pillows. It had a homey, comfortable feel – the perfect setting for Comfort Zone – the hotel’s welcoming party for the guests, held 5:30 to 6:30 P.M.

Finishing my elixir, I headed up the elevator to the meet with Dan Roach, General Manager of the Oasis Spa and Fitness Center.

The Oasis Fitness Center is complimentary to guests of Affinia Dumont. Memberships are also available to anyone who would like to join.

The Oasis Spa offers a full service of treatments and spa packages. My husband and I enjoyed wonderful side-by-side facials for our fifth year wedding anniversary. The adjoining rooms let us stay close to one another-but not too close for comfort- while our fabulous estheticians, Kaori Goodman and Kevin Sean Mendelson worked their magic to beautify our skin with much needed pampering. This is a great service to share with someone special. Oasis also offers side-by-side massages! Visit the website at

Raphael St. James is the hotel’s Fitness Concierge, a unique service exclusive to Affinia Dumont. Raphael is extremely knowledgeable in and passionate about the health, fitness and wellness industry. He will efficiently make arrangements for your fitness needs, such as, personal training sessions or spa services. For those guests who prefer the outdoors, Raphael can suggest suitable and safe areas in town for running and walking. Raphael is even equipped to get you to a facility in New York City for specialized fitness needs, that cannot be fulfilled within the hotel itself, such as, swimming or reformer pilates.

For those guests who would prefer to workout by themselves, indoors or out, the hotel has a wonderful amenity called “Fit Kits.” There are four different kits: Running, Strength Training, Walking, and Yoga. The kits are complimentary during the guests stay. The running kit includes a heart rate monitor, NYC jogging map, Discman, stretch band for before and after workout, and a refreshing towel to cool down upon your return to the hotel. The strength training kit is equipped with hand weights, with the choice of two-, five-, or ten-pound weights, resistance bands, an exercise stability ball, ankle weights, and a mat. Walking has a pedometer to calculate miles, NYC walking map, Discman, stretch band for before and after the workout, and a waist pack to carry your water bottle. The Yoga kit comes with a Yoga mat, a yoga block, and stretching straps. Just pick up the phone and someone will deliver the specified kit to your room to get you started with your workout. What a great perk!

Have a health or fitness topic you’d like to read about or listen to on a CD? The Affinia Dumont has a wellness library stocked full with the latest periodicals, books, and C.D.’s for borrowing or purchasing.

Eric Brown, the Associate General Manager of the hotel, generously arranged for me to experience the Fitness Suite. The suite is a dream-come-true for guests who would prefer a fitness facility in the privacy of their own room. It is an incredible, large one bedroom suite with a private gym that is provided with life fitness cycles, treadmills, and resistance and strength training equipment!

There is a television located in the designated workout room and a sauna to relax in after your workout. The Fitness Suite, like all the other rooms in the hotel, has custom-designed beds as well as a pillow menu, Yes, I did say a pillow menu – to help you choose your ideal pillow:

Buckwheat – buckwheat hulls conform to the head and neck for maximum support and stress reduction, Hypo-Allergenic – relieves sneezing, morning headaches, sinus congestion, and other symptoms associated with allergies to feather, fibers and dust, Swedish Memory – space-age foam pillow, designed by NASA for unique self-molding characteristics. It also reacts to body temperature, keeping sleepers cool in the summer and warm in the winter!

The rooms have all the latest technology for the business traveler’s convenience and a healthy mini bar for low-fat snacking. Each room at the hotel has a fully equipped kitchen to prepare fresh foods at your leisure. The hotel even offers a grocery shopping service if you would prefer someone else to do your shopping.

Close to the hotel, next-door in fact, is The Barking Dog restaurant. Relax in the comfort of your room with a hearty breakfast or a light, healthy dinner ordered from the Barking Dog. The restaurant offers healthy American fare, from eggs and oatmeal in the A.M. to sandwiches, salads and comfort foods, in the P.M. Also, you can walk over and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere at the restaurant. On a beautiful spring or summer day, enjoy dining out on their patio with or without your four-legged friend.

The hotel makes a special effort for the frequent guests and V.I.P.s. As Philip Garcia, Executive Housekeeper of the hotel explains – “We tailor amenities to the individual guest. We keep a detailed database where information about the guest’s preferences is stored and referenced when the guest returns.” A guest might prefer a particular type of nut or chocolate or beer and they have it waiting for them upon arrival!

The Affinia Hotel participates in wellness and charity events around the city. In June, they will be taking part in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile run promoting fitness and well-being. Donations from the event will benefit charities and organizations around the world, where JPMorgan Chase serves the communities.

Some of the hotel’s associates will be running in the race to raise money for and awareness about the Central Park Conservancy. Affinia Dumont will have a tent set up for attendees. Among the offerings will be valuable information on wellness, chair massages, healthy food and drinks, and pre-post stretching and training tips for the runners. They encourage all Beauty News readers to go by and visit their tent.

To experience the full dose of wellness, however, you will have to reserve your stay at the Affinia Dumont Hotel. For information and reservations, contact the hotel at 212.481.7600 or visit their website at

Originally published June 2005



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