Yva Traveling

Would You Go to a Hotel Just to Sleep?

The premise, when I explain it to my kids, is confusing. You’re going to a hotel—to sleep? For the past 12 months, my passport has languished in its drawer, and not a single ticket stub has made its way into my wallet; travel of any kind is a novelty. A night away, simply to knock myself out? Inscrutable to them, highly appealing to me.

And I wasn’t hitting just any old sack but rather the “world’s best bed”—at least according to Swedish mattress company Hästens, which has installed its $200,000 Vividus model (Drake’s a fan of the $400K Grand Vividus) in its Ultimate Sleep Suite at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. When I arrive, the lobby is predictably muted, devoid of pre-COVID bustle, but it hardly matters. The elevator whisks me to the 43rd floor, where a cross section of the mattress has been installed to better exhibit its contents: horsehair, cotton, wool, flax. I slip into the company’s signature blue-and-white plaid pajamas while the Hästens Restore app, activated on my phone, issues a soundscape meant to emulate the Orinoco River.

If this kind of indulgence sounds like something out of a scene from Gossip Girl (Serena van der Woodsen lived at the Palace for a spell, after all), it’s only just a sliver of the sleep-themed programs that are cropping up in hotels and resorts worldwide. Across town, the Equinox Hotel incorporates its proprietary “sleep system”—devised with a health-advisory panel—into each of its rooms. Sound-blocking walls, total-blackout window systems, and a magnesium-​supplement-stocked minibar all set the tone for peaceful repose. (Its temperature-regulating sheets and shams are newly purchasable should you find yourself tempted to stuff them in your suitcase.) At the sand-swept Amangiri resort in Canyon Point, Utah, a “Restorative Sleep Retreat” will take place this November, kicking off with a diagnosis of your natural sleep pattern and continuing with a program of lectures such as “Sleep Genetics” or “The Exhausted Executive”; meanwhile, at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, a sleep-coaching program is currently under construction. And for those looking to burn their idle frequent-flier miles, the Cadogan Hotel in London has retained a sleep-expert hypnotherapist, available for one-on-one consultations, for when it reopens this spring, while the Royal Scotsman train has partnered with the famed Bamford Haybarn Spa in the Cotswolds to offer an in-transit pressure-point massage service specifically geared to roll you toward better slumber.

But will people really travel just to sleep when we can move more freely through the world? “Sleep has been affected quite badly,” Magdalena Rejman, a Hästens global product-and-sleep trainer, tells me of one of the many consequences of the COVID era. (According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the prevalence of sleep problems has risen to 40 percent during the pandemic; up to 75 percent for people who have had the virus.) Rejman is part of the team behind Hästens’s latest effort to provide the ultimate in sleep luxury: a 15-room sleep hotel in the Portuguese city of Coimbra. A collaboration with hotelier O Valor do Tempo, the oasis features customized pillows, access to a series of “Bed Talks” on topics such as neck position, and guided tours of the hotel’s inspiration, the nearby Baroque Biblioteca Joanina, where a colony of bug-eating bats is unleashed every night to help preserve the centuries-old books. “The blessing in it all,” Rejman says of the period of reflection afforded by the last year, “is that people are starting to look more closely at their own well-being.” (Hästens’s sales, she notes, are way up.)

An interior image from Hästens’s new sleep hotel in the Portuguese city of Coimbra, inspired by the tranquil spirit of the nearby Biblioteca Joanina.Photo: FRANCISCO RIVOTTI
An interior from Hästens new hotel in Coimbra.Photo: FRANCISCO RIVOTTI

So, how did I feel after my six-figure sleep? What can I say? I felt amazing. It’s hard to fully determine whether the refresh was from the quality of the Z’s or the brief break from my static-yet-hectic pandemic household, but I’m not bothered by the ambiguity. When I checked out in the morning, there was slightly more life in the lobby: clusters of people shivering in sequined gowns, “Happy New Year” tiaras perched above their masked faces. They were filming a scene for an upcoming TV show, and as I watched the boom operators swing their mics, it felt a little like old New York, where such productions were commonplace. It felt a little like, after a good rest, a reset was right around the corner. 

Below, a roundup of some of the products featured and inspired by each hotel’s sleep programming: 

Ultimate Sleep Suite at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, Manhattan

Hästens pajamas in blue check

Magnolia Melange duvet cover in optic white

Equinox Hotel’s Sleep System, Manhattan

Equinox Hotels top mattress

The Nue Co. Magnesium Ease

The Hästens Sleep Spa Hotel, Coimbra, Portugal

Magnolia Stay A While room spray

Amangiri’s Restorative Sleep Retreat, Canyon Point, Utah

Royal Scotsman Train, Scotland

Bamford Nila moonphase cushion cover

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