No one knows the value of sleep better than frequent travelers, which is why hotels around the world are increasingly creating specialized sleep programs and amenities to help them sleep better. The bottom-line oriented practices go a long way to providing memorable experiences to guests, which translate to more impressive reviews and hopefully more bookings.
Although the better sleep trend in hotels unofficially began in the late 1990’s with the introduction of the Heavenly Bed line from Westin Hotels, the trend has expanded and picked up steam in the new millennium. A recent MarketWatch article focused on the Heavenly Bed’s 15th anniversary with Westin Hotels upping the ante by providing guests with a wearable sleep sensor.
The lending program just covers the November anniversary month, but is featured at Westin hotels from New York to Singapore, Germany, Milan, Abu Dhabi, and beyond. Developed by Lark, the Up Sleep Monitor wearable sensor features a silent alarm along with its internal sleep pattern tracking and virtual coaching. The monitors are augmented by access to a personal sleep coach during the guest’s stay.
Innovative techniques, tools, programs, and experts are being employed at hotels in the U.S. and around the world with greater frequency as sleep and health become synonymous in the minds of consumers and travelers. At Colorado’s Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa a sleep ambassador trains employees in the best methods for creating a sleep environment for guests. This is augmented by a sleep channel that plays specialized sleep inducing music as well as options for slumber massages and/or oxygen canisters to adjust to the altitude.
The hotel restaurant’s menu features sleep oriented drinks such as their after-dinner “sleep elixir” with chamomile and apple cider. A dessert of banana oatmeal cookies are advertised as containing ingredients that help guests to sleep.
VIP guest rooms are outfitted with “slumber kits” that include an eye mask, ear plugs, and a CD of ambient music. Special glasses can even be provided that work to block out the blue light emitted by electronics, which has been proven to disrupt natural sleep cycles.
In New York, hotels like The Bryant Park Hotel have offered a sleep mask, ear plugs, and a sound machine with nature sounds at turndown. 70 Park Avenue in New York offers guests melatonin chocolates. At The Benjamin, guests can peruse a pillow menu that includes pillows filled with buckwheat or satin, with names like “Swedish memory” and “Lullaby” as well as look forward to bedtime reminder calls. Chicago’s Hotel Monaco offers a plush robe, sound machines, and pajamas in addition to a sleep cove with special bed and sheets in its exclusive Tranquility Suite.
The trend is widespread around the world with Paris’s Hotel Gabriel, which features sleep and wake-up programs. London’s Crowne Plaza St. James offers a specially developed “Sleep Advantage” program with aromatherapy products and printed advice from a sleep expert. Berlin’s Swissotel’s sleep package features a combination of light therapy, power-napping, mountain-air breathing, aroma therapy, special nutritional supplements and better sleep through a sound pillow. They even go so far as to offer polysomnography upon request.
Although this trend is currently growing with hotels at higher price points, all hotels understand that better sleep means better business. As these practices take hold and yield results, they are sure to fuel a certain level of sleep support expectations from travelers where the focus is always on restful sleep and comfort.