As I glide through the water, I occasionally glance up to admire the panoramic view. The picturesque landscape in front of the huge window provides a welcomed distraction, especially when the fatigue sets in after a rigorous half-hour swim. While I am not an avid swimmer, having access to a pool within my hotel is a luxury I’ve come to appreciate. However, with every stroke, I’m reminded of the environmental implications of maintaining such a facility.

Questions over questions

Swimming pools, with their vast water usage and chemical treatments, aren’t the most eco-friendly. As I wrap myself in a towel provided by the gym—an emergency solution for the one I left in my hotel room and could have reused—more questions arise. Where was this towel manufactured? Were ethical practices maintained during its production? And when it’s laundered, does the detergent contain harmful microplastics?

While I can’t speak for every gym in every hotel across the world, I urge travelers to ponder these questions and voice them. Engage with those in charge, delve into the origins of the products and services they use, and rally the collective voices of the guests. Together, we can advocate for more sustainable practices in our gyms, ensuring that our holiday fitness routines don’t come at the planet’s expense.

“In addition to the large volume of water required to fill a swimming pool, an additional 50% of the initial filling may be necessary to maintain the proper chemical balance.”

Rajeshwar Bachu

Navigating the unsustainable traps of the gym

Towels: It is tempting when the cozy-looking towels are displayed at the counter, and you can get them for free without remembering to bring your own from the hotel room. They are convenient to remove your sweat or use after swimming. Take a moment to think: Do you wash your towel every day? If you lend the towels at the gym, they have to wash them, which increases water and detergence usage. Maybe you can try to use one towel for your whole stay next time you are traveling?



Water usage


A gym can contribute to local vendors’ well-being by purchasing textiles and paying for their printing needs. There is a lot they need to buy, from towels to staff clothes regularly. Check if the hotel chooses partners that use resources such as child-labor-free materials or environmentally friendly colors. Look into the individual supply chains and ask if you feel that something is not communicated transparently. If you know about a great product with a sustainable, friendly supply chain that respects Human Rights and may even come from a local vendor minimizing CO2 emissions for the transport, suggest it to the gym staff. Sometimes, they are grateful for new ideas and inspirations.

Hygiene products

Whether it’s the soap for cleaning the gym machines, the detergent for washing towels, or the shampoo provided in the showers, all of these materials should be free from microplastics. This is the only way they do not cause further water pollution. Another important aspect that should be considered is that the products have been developed without animal testing.

Social Sustainability  

A day in the gym can get stressful; however, with a great team, you as a guest are well served, and the employees can enjoy their workday too. Aspects a hotel can respect to facilitate these mutual benefits include a diverse workforce, sponsoring employee training and education workshops, and setting up a feedback system. Another aspect that counts towards social sustainability lies in the field of accessibility. There are many measures that a hotel can take to make sure that the gym space is accessible for travelers with mobility, seeing, or hearing impairments. If you notice that this is not the case, feel free to ask the staff around. If we all show our awareness of these aspects, hotels will adapt and create an inclusive environment in which we can all workout together.

By showing your awareness for social and environmentally friendly measures as a sporty guest, you can make a difference!


We all want to train in a well-tempered room. But we also do not want to become sick due to over-used air conditioning or get sluggish due to too much heating in the gym space in winter. Besides saving energy by adjusting the temperature accordingly, the hotel can also decide to use renewable electricity providers and produce their own power, for instance, with solar cells on the roof. Especially for gyms with electric machines such as treadmills, this can contribute highly to a sustainable environment.


Does the gym show where the products used come from, how much energy the solar panels produce, and how much more CO2e they plan to save with upcoming changes? It would be great if the gym measured and celebrated together with you as a guest what it has accomplished and what the future pathway may lead to.

Let’s all embrace our roles as Changemakers, not only strengthening our own muscles but also fortifying our planet’s resilience. Sometimes, persistence is key until we get the answers and see the change at the hotel’s gym as well as other areas – but the effort is always worthwhile! I hope this article sparks inspiration and encourages you to find joy in both sports and environmental stewardship. Find more practical tips on how you can contribute on our attentive traveler page, and do not hesitate to get in touch at [email protected] if you have thoughts, ideas, or questions.

Lilith Diringer

This interview was conducted by Lilith. Our CEO is eager to learn everything about sustainable travel and inspire with tips and travel hacks. Her vision is to make people as well as nature profit from traveling. She wishes you a great trip wherever the next booking takes you and is happy to share details and insights on request: [email protected]