Hotels Are Offering “Sleep Experiences” Now. What Does It Even Mean?
On your next trip, you can get a night of sleep so sound it's luxurious
According to a 2019 study conducted by luxury bedmaker DUX, only about 34 percent of Americans said they slept better in a hotel room. Further, only about 43 percent looked for hotels that feature specialty or luxury mattresses.
“Most people don’t even think to ask about what type of bed a hotel uses and whether they’re comfortable at all,” said Ed Curry, president of DUX North America. “The thing is, if a hotel provides excellent beds it’s going to go a long way in assuring you get a good night’s rest and that you’re ready for your vacation adventures.”
Fast forward through a pandemic and nearly three years, and Curry’s musings read almost prophetically in light of everything that’s transpired since. Hotels.com’s 2022 Amenity Report revealed that the most-searched-for amenity at the height of the pandemic was a bathtub, pointing to an uptick in demand for amenities and curated experiences centered around comfort inside the room.
“[The pandemic] has certainly changed us all in different ways and created, I think, a greater appreciation for what is good for us,” says Park Hyatt New York General Manager Peter Roth. “Because we were deprived of many things we were used to — like going to the gym because we were afraid to get sick, or going for a run with other people, or just walking up and down the street — we spent more time with ourselves. I think there’s a fairly large amount of people who had time to reflect more [on] what is really important.”
One of those things? Sleep. 50-70 million U.S. adults already struggle with a sleep disorder and — per a study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine — an exorbitant number of people also now suffer from a new phenomenon termed “COVID-somnia.”
Consequently, hotels across the globe have sprung into action, tailoring their current offerings to meet the needs of a new wellness-attuned traveler — Park Hyatt New York chief among them. Just this past January, they announced that, in response to continually growing demand, they had officially launched five new “Sleep Suites,” or rather “elevated, restorative sleep sanctuaries,” all of which feature The Restorative Bed by Bryte — an AI powered bed that utilizes both air cushions and sensors to measure pressure points and body temperature to adjust itself throughout the night for a more restorative sleep. Once you’ve slept in the bed, a profile is created to which your preferences are saved and, from there, anytime you sleep in a Bryte bed you can restore those preferences.
But, while the Bryte bed might be the main attraction, it’s not the only element that sets the suites apart. Each is also outfitted with one and a half bath, 900 sq. ft. of space and a separate living room, sleep-enhancing amenities (such as a Vitruvi Essential Diffuser and signature ‘Sleep’ Essential Oil blend), Nollapelli linens, sleep masks and a collection of sleep-related books.
“I think sleep is going to be something that we talk about the same way we talk about hydration, nutrition, fitness, meditation, breath work, etc.,” says Senior Director of Marketing Communications Patricia Galas. “Sleep is equally, if not more, important than any of those things. So I think it just came natural to us to try to bring that into our wellness journey.”
“We’re a hotel after all,” she adds.
Others have also started implementing similar programs. The Saxon Hotel now offers a 30-minute signature sleep therapy treatment that takes place on a heated flotation bed where programmed chromotherapy lighting is said to help guests drift off into a deep and restful sleep, purportedly equivalent to that of a four-hour nap; Puente Romano Beach Resort has partnered with HOGO to offer sleep coach services; Lake Nona Wave Hotel features View smart windows that dynamically tint in response to the sun and block 99 percent of UV light; The Rockaway Hotel + Spa just added a “Pillow Menu,” with options that include a gel fiber pillow, feather pillow, “soft” pillow, “firm” pillow, synthetic pillow and a body pillow designed for pregnant guests; The Tschuggen Grand Hotel deploys Dream Butlers; French Quarter Inn had sleep machines installed in each of the guest rooms, which offer a variety of tranquil sounds like rain, thunder, and waves of the ocean; and The Walker Hotels in New York City even offer a Nap Pod membership, which allows New Yorkers an opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep in the middle of the day.
So what exactly goes into curating a sleep-centric suite or experience? For Bryte’s part, its technology relies heavily on the research of Why We Sleep author Dr. Matthew Walker. Similarly, French Quarter Inn looked to SleepSpace founder Dr. Daniel Gartenberg — a sleep scientist with a PhD in cognitive psychology — for insight while creating their in-room sleep guides. For Delos, the company charged with designing the “Stay Well” Suites at Meliá Hotels & Resorts, it’s even more granular.
“Our approach at Delos is research-based and evidence-backed,” says President and COO Peter Scialla. “Our Delos Labs team carefully vets all products and solutions to identify those that are aligned with our vision for design, functionality and performance.”
Currently, the Stay Well program is comprised of hand-selected components, which include an indoor air purification, UV sanitization of frequently touched surfaces, shower water filtration, dawn simulation lighting, access to nutritious menu options, aromatherapy, mindfulness programs and an ergonomic mattress.
One thing that both Scialla and Roth vehemently agree on is that, while the demand may have existed before, the pandemic has most definitely elevated the significance of certain wellness benefits, like sleep.
“I’m confident that this will grow. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year we would have to consider growing the [Bryte bed] inventory,” Roth says. Why? Because if we can have somebody recharge their batteries faster and be better the next day, that is huge, right? That is absolutely huge.”
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