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Your Freewheelin' Guide To Hotels With Free Bike Rentals

April 25, 2013 at 9:52 AM | by | ()

As summer nears, hotels are going to start up with the usual warm-weather offerings: rooftop bars, poolside cabanas, and those awkward tanning concierges. But as far as we're concerned, it all boils down to one question: where can we ride a bike for free?

Unless otherwise noted, all of the below hotels offer free bike rentals on a first-come, first-served basis (that means no reserving the night before!), and all bikes come with a helmet and a lock.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the public bikes at Public Chicago, and we recommend you do the same! Guests can grab a Trek Bicycle and take out for a spin down to Lake Shore and cruise along the beach's bike path—which are just three blocks from the hotel. Oh, and did we mention it's free?

In time for the first shoots of spring in London, £1-favorite Hoxton Hotel is now offering guests four custom UK-made Mango Bikes in the hotel’s colors to tool around town in. Both Sanderson and St. Martin’s Lane counter with equipment from the home of cycling, with Dutch bikes by Public J7.

Santa Barbara's El Encanto Resort has something special for adventuresome guests: electric bikes! The electric component can be turned on or off, so if you don't feel like cheating, you can pump all the way to the beach and back. But when it comes time to head back to the hotel (which sits in the Santa Barbara hills), that motor is going to come in pretty handy.

Sofitel So Bangkok offers three bikes for rent—a number suitable for the cast of Three's Company, but hey, free is free! Head across the road and pedal your heart out around Lumpini Park, the city's answer to Central Park, where you can ride along the Komodo Dragons basking in the sun on the banks of the lake.

For 12 more hotels (and hotel brands) with free bike rentals, read on!

We joked before about QT Gold Coast wanting guests to leave rather than stay, but there's a reason for that. When you've got access to free vintage-style bikes to scoot around the beaches, why would yo want to hang around your room, anyway? Stop by the super cool QTique to hop on, and don't forget your pedal pushers or helmet. (Pedal pushers optional, helmet is the law).

At all 60 Fairmont Hotels, renting a BMW Cruise bike for free is easy as 1-2-3. The program is only available to members of the Fairmont President's Club, the brand's loyalty program, but joining is free, and takes only a moment. In addition to the free BMW bikes, members can also claim benefits like airline miles (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar, and Singapore Airlines are among the partnering airlines), room upgrades, free WiFi, and even a complimentary shoeshine.

Element Hotels are beloved for their green initiatives like free healthy breakfasts and fitness centers with iPhone-charging stationary bikes. But if you feel like exploring the surrounding area, you can hop on one of the free rental bikes offered at all Element properties. (Be sure to call ahead, though: when we checked, Element Miami still doesn't offer bike rentals, but Element Las Vegas does.)

Kimpton's really knocking it out of the park lately, with their new smoothie bar and new brand-wide yoga program. But we've always been fans of the quirky boutique brand, and one of the main reasons is the free bike rentals. Whether you're exploring Independence Park in Philadelphia, or zipping down the Chicago Riverwalk, you can always count on getting a free set of wheels here.

Morgans Hotel Group hotels have always rubbed us the right way, and when we're not nibbling on fondue (or following the Delano drama), we're waiting for summer to come so we can make use of the free bikes offered to guests. Clift, Mondrian Soho—you name it, they'll let you ride it.

If you happen to like cruising down the bike lanes of lower Manhattan (watch out for the delivery guys!), then these are the places for you: Jane Hotel , Bowery Hotel, Maritime Hotel. Each boutique hotel has a stash of bikes ready to be loaned out to guests—but there's no reservation system, so you've got to show up early if you want to snag one for the day. During high occupancy at the Jane, for example, the bikes are usually all claimed by 10am. So be sure to set that alarm, or it'll be the subway for you!

The AKA Beverly Hills, a luxe extended-stay option in the heart of the city, has just unveiled its AKA branded Republic Bikes which are complimentary for guests to use. Add this to the Spago in-suite dining as just another reason why we wish we needed to spend 30 days or more in Beverly Hills. Oh, FYI, the AKA White House will begin their bike program in June.

The balcony-lined Nolitan Hotel is great for admiring views of lower Manhattan and the nearby Williamsburg Bridge. But an even better way to soak up the surroundings would be to hop on one of the hotel's free bikes—or skateboards!—and get the full Nolita experience.

We spent some time down in Santa Monica recently, and one of the things we love, love, love about that place is that you don't have to go very far to find the ocean. In fact, it was right outside our window! Oceana Santa Monica has a stash of 17 bright blue Electra beach cruisers (free for the first 2 hours), perfect for zipping down Ocean Avenue or exploring the residential backstreets of this gorgeous waterfront nabe.

Affinia Hotels provides guests with complimentary colorful Republic Bikes to zip around NYC and Washington, D.C. Each bike comes with a basket, map of popular bike routes (and must-see landmarks) and a list of available bike parking. Each hotel has just five bikes, so snatch 'em up fast. Affinia Gardens is four blocks from Central Park--prime biking territory.

With additional reporting by JasonD, jetflyboy, and juliana.

[Photos: HotelChatter; Hotel Monaco Chicago; Bowery Hotel; Oceana Santa Monica]

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