Friday, July 15, 2011

Where to Be Merry: Mile High Zumba classes @ InterContinental Los Angeles Century City

Update: Zumba Classes have started once again for 2012! Going now, April 2012 - Summer 2012!

It seems like this past 4th of July weekend officially marked the moment when we kissed those dreary June gloom days goodbye and entered into the glorious season of summer. And now that fiery hot days are on the radar, it’s time to dust off the flip-flops. Break out the bathing suits. Rock the itty-bitty shorts. Wear as minimal clothing as we can possibly get away with. 

But before sporting any dress that’s more than an inch above my knees, I know I need to tone up my legs… and my abs, and my arms. After drinking as many vodka-infused cocktails in sight as possible to keep warm during LA’s artic winter, I’ve successfully managed to bulge out of most of my clothes, including my leggings.

So, it’s time for some serious workout sessions, but the question becomes: where to go and how to exercise? The good news is that I recently found an out-of-the-box way to get moving and to get ready for the summer. InterContinental Los Angeles Century City offers an invigorating Zumba class high in the sky, on top of the hotel’s rooftop helipad. Instructor Rita Ashton takes the class, which typically consists of a handful of students, through a variety of Latin-inspired dances. Set to catchy, exotic international tunes, everyone imitates the basic salsa, merengue and cumbia steps that she demonstrates.

The entire experience is pretty spectacular. You have views of almost all of Los Angeles, stretching from the Pacific Ocean, to the Hollywood Hills and east towards downtown. Talk about awe-inspiring motivation. I barely even remembered I was exercising; I was too busy trying to point out all of the landmarks I could see, like the Griffith Observatory on my first visit up.

(From the helipad, views to the east, including downtown)

(From the helipad, views to the west, including the Pacific Ocean)
Aside from the view, being 18 stories off the ground also affords a pleasant breeze that cools and refreshes. The crisp, open air feels a lot better than being stuck in a hot, stuffy gym surrounded by other hot, clammy bodies. And of course, the class itself is superb. Rita starts out slow, so it doesn’t even feel like you’re exerting too much energy. But about 20 minutes into the class, it hits you that Zumba really is work. Fortunately, the small class size allows her to pay attention to everyone's pace, so she adjusts the workout accordingly. 

Yes, there are gym memberships and yes, this city is swarming with fantastic dance studios, but for a fun, summer-inspired way to prep for upcoming pool parties and sizzling beach days, I say the InterContinental’s heli-pad Zumba class is the way to go!
 See you there next week!

Miss Wilson’s Tips:
- Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:30pm and have a 15-person maximum per class. The $15 class fee for non-hotel guests not only gets you into the Zumba class; it also grants you access to the hotel spa’s sauna, steam room, free valet parking and complimentary fruit, water and towels. An extra $25 provides you with access to the hotel pool, jacuzzi and gym (there’s no charge to the class or pool if you’re already staying at the hotel).
- Classes will go until September!
- On Tuesday mornings, there are sunrise yoga classes on the helipad, from 7-8am.
- The InterContinental also has a great hotel lobby bar. Stick around afterwards for cocktails and DJ sets.

For more information:
Los Angeles Century City
2151 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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