The Most Effective Gym Lighting for Hotels

gym lighting in a hotel

Exercise is a lifestyle and the hotel gym is an experience for the novice, the committed, and the travelers who don’t have the luxury of owning a home gym or having a gym membership. The action of going to the gym becomes a statement that everyone is proud to say. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first workout in two years or something that’s done on a regular basis. Pride is an emotion that we want your guests to feel and a good gym with good bulbs will brighten someone’s day. Pun is absolutely intended. Some will walk into your gym with butterflies, unsure what they are going to do while others will have a plan or workout schedule they are committed to. Nervous or excited, your guests will explore the gym, they will use the gym and lighting plays a very important part in the experience. 

We all agree that the gym is an important aspect to your hotel because hitting the gym for a good workout is either important or intriguing to your guests during their stay. Travelers, business people, and staycationers look into a hotel gym’s amenities, space and ambiance when they are searching for a hotel and when they are considering staying at a hotel for the second or third trip. Guests will include a gym rating review in their overall satisfaction when they tell others what it was like to stay at your location. Today a hotel gym attracts guests and your guests expect enough space, equipment, and quality lighting to motivate them through their workout. Gone are the days when hotel gyms were hidden in one small dark corner or basement of a hotel. Dwayne MacEwen, DMCA Architecture Principal, explained that “it’s no longer acceptable for fitness facilities to be tucked away in the basement or a small, dark and dreary room in the hotel; it needs to be out in the public space, by the pool or adjacent to a food-and-beverage outlet.” We recently helped a hotel with replacement LEDs throughout their property. They displayed a lone Peloton Bike in its own space right next to the pool in addition to the second-floor gym that looked over the pool. That was cool. Hotels and hospitality brands have come to realize this reality and have begun redesigning their hotel gyms for they understand that in today’s world hotel gyms have become a unique selling point and a key indicator for repeat business if done correctly.

For all these reasons, hotel owners must do their best to keep up with the times and stay in the game, providing a complete experience that now includes the best working-out experience to help their clientele stay in line with their fitness goals. 

gym lighting

Why Hotel Gym Lighting?

To do this, hotel owners must focus their attention on several areas when it comes to designing their hotel gym. One of which is gym lighting. According to Neal Pire, a manager, and consultant for a fitness center, 

“You can redesign a room to get the mood and response you want from your participants by changing nothing but the lighting. It can motivate or it can subdue. It has a very powerful effect.” 

The lighting in your hotel gym can be the deciding factor that keeps your hotel guest happy while pursuing their fitness goals.

Imagine going to a hotel gym where the lighting is poor. When the lighting is too dark, the clients may feel unsafe, unenergized, and it will affect their workout. Conversely, when the lighting is too bright, they might be distracted and disturbed in their exercise. This will certainly not be a good experience for them. Now, think about going to a hotel gym where the lighting is the same throughout the space. This may be okay with the guests, but it can scarcely give them an experience and might even make them feel bored and unmotivated. You probably have experienced this yourself.

Gym lighting is one piece of the giant puzzle for hotel owners and management that is too important to ignore. Proper lighting in every area must support the clients in their workout, the ambiance of the lighting must give them comfort and security, and finally, the quality of lighting must increase the overall appeal of the gym and the hotel itself. In short, it must be a holistic lighting approach as much as possible. Different areas in the gym require special lighting to serve their function well for both guests and the entire hotel.

Now, you might be wondering how to achieve this. 

hotel gym led lighting

Gym vs Fitness Center vs Health Club

Before we dive into the best gym lighting practices for hotels, let’s first differentiate between a gym, a fitness center, and a health club. Knowing this will help hotel owners better understand what they have to offer and what their hotel gym lighting needs are. 

Gym Lighting

Many people interchangeably use these three, but there is a difference. First, a gym is a place for indoor physical workouts. Traditionally, it contains equipment and machines for different types of physical workouts. Usually, the focus is on physique building and development, and personal trainers are holding one-on-one coaching, but very rarely group classes. 

Fitness Center

Next, a fitness center focuses on both indoor and outdoor workout exercises. Aside from having indoor equipment for exercises like that of a gym, there are also outdoor facilities such as a pool, a tennis court, a golf course, saunas, etc. Unlike a gym, a fitness center does hold group classes more, but there may be personal training as well. With that, a fitness center is broader and more flexible than a gym. 

Health Club

Finally, a health club is dedicated to building up not only the body but also the mind, its focus is on the holistic well-being of the members. Typically, it has all the characteristics and amenities that a gym and a fitness center have PLUS mind and even spiritual workout routines like yoga. 

What do you offer in your hotel gym? Having a combination of these three is possible. Whatever it is that you might be offering in your hotel requires special lighting needs. Workout equipment needs lighting that won’t produce glare and hurt people’s eyes while working out. Having a tennis court or a pool involves lighting that is bright for clear visibility. Doing yoga classes may need dimming to create the necessary ambiance for focus. The activities that you offer are one of many factors that will determine your hotel’s gym lighting plan. 

fancy led gym lighting

The Best Gym Lighting 

So now what is the best lighting for a hotel gym, a fitness center, or a health club? The short answer is a combination of natural light (sunlight) and artificial light. Lesley Hughes Wyman, MatchLine Design Group Co-Founder, and Principal said that:

 “fitness centers should provide plenty of natural light and access to the outdoors.” 

Scientifically, we all know that a good amount of sunlight is beneficial to the body. Aside from that, studies show that natural light motivates gym-goers and even athletes physically, mentally, and even emotionally and enables more concentration among them. It naturally tells the body to be awake and be ready for activity. We probably know the mood-enhancing effects of daylight while working out. We have probably experienced being motivated while doing yoga in the garden where the sun rays reach while meditating, going for a run in the afternoon sunlight, and even getting a good sweat through a circuit workout under the sun. 

For such reasons, it’s a best practice for hotel owners to utilize both sunlight and artificial light. The sunlight is always the best light when working out, and the artificial light gives support where needed and even functions single-handedly in place of the sunlight when it cannot be there. 

Allowing sunlight to enter a space can be possible through glass windows, doors and even ceiling skylights strategically put in place, depending on the function and the purpose of the gym area, and always keeping in mind the members who use these spaces.

If bringing in natural sunlight is not possible, the best thing to do is to mimic it in color and direction. Get light fixtures that are close to natural daylight as much as possible and place them above the head just like the sun. Again, these fixtures together with all the other lighting sources must be installed in areas accordingly.

Suitable Light Sources for Hotel Gym Areas 

Weight Area

In this area, the people are often dedicated to bodybuilding goals. They require focus, persistence, and motivation, and the right lighting will encourage these things among them. 

LED linear lights are often the choice for this area. Linear lamps are great for distributing lights in a wide room and for doing specific tasks, which are needed for accomplishing certain weight-lifting workouts. Using linear lights supports the focus and attention to detail that those doing this workout need. 

In lighting the weight area, consider the ceiling and light fixtures since some weight exercises use equipment like kettlebells, medicine balls, etc. that require lifting and even throwing above the head and other directions. 

Cardio Area

This area has lots of machines like treadmills, stair climbers, elliptical machines, air bikes, etc. used for cardio. 

Recessed lights will work best for this space since they are installed into the ceiling and are therefore further away from the machines than suspended and mounted lights. This kind of installation produces a low glare when projected onto the machines and thus does not produce too much eye disturbance to your guests. 

Of course, it is also important to keep in mind the amount of brightness or lumens of your lighting to avoid a high glare. Ultimately, brightness, reflection, and placement must be taken into consideration when planning the cardio area lighting. 

Group Fitness Areas

This place normally holds different fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, cycling, body pump, and many others. Given this, dimmable lighting is the best choice for this area since it can create certain lighting styles and the ambiance needed for every kind of class. Since this place is used at various times throughout the day, the light needs to be heavy-duty and energy-efficient at the same time to save on energy bills. For this purpose, dimmable LED lights are best. LEDs in general are the most versatile and cost-effective type of lighting. They have longer lifespans and have great dimming capabilities as well. Some even have occupancy sensors that turn on and off automatically. Aside from this, they tend to emit a low amount of heat compared to other types of lighting. This is great since some classes tend to be very intense, producing a great amount of heat in the body, and LED lights won’t contribute to heat already produced in the room.

Lighting Different Areas

Aerobics and HIIT 

These exercises require a lot of energy and movement. Bright yellow and orange lighting will help create the necessary mood for these workouts, but still provide the right amount of illumination needed for visibility to avoid injury. Your guests need to see clearly and move freely while doing these workouts. 


This exercise is becoming a hit lately along with using creative dark lighting for these types of exercises. Since this is a stationary exercise where gym-goers stay in place during the workout, bright white lights aren’t that necessary. Instead, dark lighting colors such as purple, red, and dark blue that can be controlled/dimmed to change colors and rhythms and integrated with music are in this kind of fitness space. It creates a nightclub-like workout experience that is unique, fun, and interesting for cycling students. 

Ultimately, these elements make this stationary workout exciting and enjoyable. 

Yoga and Pilates 

These fitness classes are big on concentration and ambiance. Soft and soothing lighting suits best for these classes. It is important that the lighting in these workouts help create a calm atmosphere so that guests can focus on their breathing and rhythm. Having a soft light that can be dimmed to the desired level, sometimes bright and other times dark for both classes, depending on the exercise goal and desired feel, will create that mood. Battery-operated electric candles are increasingly popular and set the tone for indulgent restoration.

Some Commonly Used Gym Lights

High Bays

For hotel gyms with a 20-40 ft. ceiling, high bays are recommended. They may be recessed, suspended, or mounted. They tend to produce a low glare on the floor since they are installed from a high point. Shop high bay lighting.

Linear Lights

These lights are very popular in gyms since they are architecturally appealing. They blend well with the surroundings most of the time. They are commonly seen in weight rooms, group class areas, and main workout rooms.

Track Lights

Track lighting is also a hit today, just like linear lights, track lights are trendy. They are very adaptable and are thus used in group classrooms, weight rooms, and cardio rooms. 

Other Things for Consideration

Gym Space and Design

Just like other trends, gym trends change with time, and gym lighting evolves with them. That’s why hotel owners need to know the latest trends every time and make the necessary developments. Also, at times, just changing the lighting makes the gym up to date. 


The ceiling is one of the things that must be looked into when planning gym lighting. The type of ceiling that you have in your hotel gym determines the kind of lighting fixtures that you can install. 

Common Types of Gym Ceiling 

  1. Plasterboard Ceiling – This is the most versatile type of ceiling. It fits well with any type of lighting. Usually, it is paired with recessed and suspended options. 
  2. Concrete Ceiling – This ceiling is best suited with mounted lighting solutions. 
  3. T-Bar Ceiling – This looks best with troffer lighting for a streamlined look.

Opening Hours

Considering your business hours is also necessary, especially if you’re operating your hotel gym 24 hours a day. If you do, then you’ll want to go with durable and energy-efficient lighting that can hold up in the gym environment while saving you money. You may also plan to install automatic light fixtures, which are great for energy savings as well. 

Color Rendering Index (CRI) 

CRI is the ability of light to render the color of the object it illuminates. The higher the CRI, the better ability it has to present the truest color of an object. Oftentimes, gym lighting with high CRI ratings displays a higher quality of light and is therefore much more appealing to guests. It is recommended to have a CRI rating that’s above 80 for this reason.

The New Wave, Hotel Gym Lighting

Hotel gym lighting done properly in every area will surely increase the overall appeal of your hotel, allowing you to keep the interest of your clients and encourage new ones. Taking this step enables them to see that you value them and their fitness goals by providing a safe place that supports them in their workout goals in all aspects while on the go. 

As stated by Marc Ciafardini, Wilson Associates’ Dallas studio’s senior interior designer, 

“Owners understand the importance of providing spacious fitness centers with surrounding views, even if it means sacrificing square footage of guest rooms to accommodate for this. Health and wellness have become increasingly important to guests.” 

The hotel gym is now an essential part of every hotel, if not the most important aspect.

Wrap Up

This wraps up our bedroom and bathroom segment for our hotel lighting guide. As usual, we covered a lot of ground in this segment but you can count on us to do a quick recap below.

  • Guests expect hotels to offer robust gyms to support their healthy lifestyles
  • Hotel gym lighting requires that you create a lighting blend that resembles gym lighting, fitness center lighting, and health club lighting
  • Natural light is always a great option for hotel gyms and artificial lighting should match
  • Different areas such as aerobics, cycling, or pilates require different lighting solutions
  • Common lighting solutions are high bays, linear lights, and track lighting
  • There’s a good amount of information that we covered in this section so be sure to take some notes, review particular areas, and know what you can visit or call us at (701) 205-4953 to work with a Lumen Master. We at GoodBulb have over two decades of industry experience in helping hotel owners and managers shape their visual perceptions and save on energy costs.

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