I’m American (but live here in Australia), so I have long heard about Peloton and its stationary bikes from my friends back home. The brand has been around for 10 years in the US, and, during COVID lockdowns over there, really blew up. So much so, in fact, that it featured on an episode of And Just Like That — with Big jumping on it for a class during lockdown (I won’t go into the rest).
Peloton launched here in Aus about a year ago, right before lockdown 2.0, and, while it’s certainly known, it’s nowhere near as big as it is in the US or UK — yet. Like in the US and UK, hotels here in Aus are now putting Peloton bikes in their gyms and there are even some being put in rooms. In the US, some people are so into their Peloton workouts that they’ll try to only stay at hotels that have them.
I was invited to test out the craze with a stay at a Sydney hotel with a Peloton in the room. The hotel was Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, one of five hotels with Pelotons in Sydney (so far). There are also seven hotels in Melbourne with bikes and two in Brisbane. You can find them all on Peloton hotel finder. While all have the bikes in the gym, some hotels will actually set them up in your room, depending on availability and, of course, provided you request it in advance.
Mine was setup in a Superior Room, which was beautiful, by the way. It overlooked Darling Harbour and, while I was staying, Vivid Festival was on, so I was treated to a colourful water fountain light show from the window.
I had never tried a Peloton bike before, but had set up an account in the Peloton system before arriving. I hopped on the bike, which faced the window, and logged in on the screen where I found hundreds of pre-recorded classes or upcoming live classes. Whatever your preference – they had it. You could choose classes by the music type you liked, the length and the intensity. And they didn’t only have cycle classes, they had strength, yoga, meditation, and others, too.
I decided on a pre-recorded 45-minute cycle class, set to top 40. My energetic instructor would instruct me when to turn the dial on the bike to increase or decrease the resistance. In between instructions, she’d weigh in on the song she chose and tell us a bit about her life — like that her mum (or ‘mom’ because she was American) was visiting here and how she was excited to show her life at her dream job (as a Peloton instructor).
She also cheered on people on the leaderboard, with comments like “Rita in Portugal – doing so well! I gotta visit there!”. Her enthusiasm was infectious – I imagine that once you find an instructor you really like working out to, you’d just keep doing all their classes and feel like you were getting to know them.
The sun was setting as I was doing the workout, and I kept pausing it to jump off the bike and take a photo of the pretty pinks and oranges in the sky. During COVID lockdowns, I had learnt that I really need classes to be live-streamed to do them all the way through – when they’re pre-recorded, I always stop-start or just stop completely. In hindsight, I should’ve done a live class.
After dinner, I turned on a 10-minute pre-recorded meditation, and slid under the hotel bed covers, closed my eyes and listened. The instructor’s voice was so soothing, and I felt very calm before bed. If you have a Peloton account, you can use an app on your phone, too, and listen to meditations on there.
In the morning before leaving, I decided to try out one more class – this time a 25-minute Pilates, which I always did straight through. I got a great burn from the class, and like with the cycle instructor, I’d imagine you just pick your favourite for Pilates.
So, how was it having access to so many workouts in a hotel room? I could definitely see Peloton’s appeal. The instructors were all so personable and each had their own distinct style. Once you find instructors you click with, it’s great to keep working out to them and knowing what to expect. I stayed at the hotel less than 24 hours, but if I’d stayed longer — say, a few days — I could’ve seen myself getting into a routine of a bike class in the morning and maybe a Pilates or yoga before bed. And, as I’ve learnt with keeping up with exercise, it really is all about that routine.