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Sleep tourism gains traction in luxury hospitality industry

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LA Post: Sleep tourism gains traction in luxury hospitality industry
March 28, 2024
Nahal Garakani - LA Post

In the last few years, luxury accommodations worldwide have jumped on the "sleep tourism" bandwagon - curating specialized experiences catered to provide guests with a truly revitalizing, high-quality slumber. From cutting-edge sleep tech gadgets to immersive wellness programming, these upscale hospitality brands aim to satisfy travelers' cravings for a truly restorative, profoundly restful overnight stay.

One such property embracing this trend is the historic Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles. In response to the "coronasomnia" phenomenon – the increase in sleep problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – the hotel launched its Rest and Recovery suite in 2021. Priced at $650 per night, the suite features a curated selection of sleep-focused products and technologies, including air filters, customizable mattresses, and dawn simulation lamps.

"Since sleep is so individualized, the concept behind this rest and recovery suite was a way for people to come and explore on their own what's working for them," explained Connie Wang, the hotel's Managing Director. Guests receive a pre-visit survey to customize their experience, and can even take home a personalized Pluto Pillow after their stay.

Another destination dedicated to promoting restful sleep is Castle Hot Springs, a luxury desert oasis located about an hour north of Phoenix. Here, guests can partake in three-night sleep retreats led by sleep researcher Dr. Rebecca Robbins, immersing themselves in the surrounding natural environment through activities like morning canyon hikes and soaks in thermal hot springs.

"Guests may feel rested after pampering almost anywhere, yet it is the foundational layer of being immersed in a living desert that is our difference," said Colleen Inman, the property's wellness curator. The retreats aim to help participants jumpstart healthy sleep routines through a combination of expert guidance, mindful practices, and reconnection with nature.

On the Southern California coast, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica offers a dedicated Serenity Suite for those seeking a peaceful slumber. Priced at $1,500 per night, the suite features a Bryte Balance Smart Mattress, in-suite fitness and meditation classes, air purification systems, and a wellness-focused dining menu.

"Sleep is a primary pillar of wellness which aligns well with our core-business of putting heads in beds," said Julien Labays, the hotel's Director of Hotel Operations. "A good night's rest is the basis for more present and productive day to enjoy all the Santa Monica has to offer."

For those seeking a truly indulgent sleep experience, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – the same tropical paradise that served as the backdrop for the hit HBO series "White Lotus" – has partnered with Next Health to offer a white-glove wellness offering focused on promoting restful sleep.

"The best time to rest and restore is on vacation," said Patricia Makozak, the resort's Senior Spa Director. "That's why we felt it was important to offer services that assist our guests in reaching a restful night's sleep."

While these luxury sleep experiences come with a premium price tag, the trend reflects a growing recognition of the importance of sleep for overall health and wellbeing. Medical experts have long emphasized the vital role that adequate sleep plays in various aspects of physical and mental health, from regulating metabolism and hormone production to supporting cognitive function and emotional well-being.

"Poor sleep is definitely correlated with metabolic syndrome – that includes obesity, diabetes, overweight, impaired blood sugar," explained Dr. Fiona Gispen, an internal medicine physician who focuses on the intersection of chronic health behaviors and health outcomes. "Through that, poor sleep can possibly be tied with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, coronary disease, and even stroke."

While none of the wellness products offered by these hotels are FDA-approved to improve sleep, the trend is taking off, and experts are pleased to see the hospitality world embracing sleep tourism and amplifying the importance of good sleep practices.

"We've said before that sleep has a public relations problem in this country," said ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. "We think of it as a luxury but it's really a medical necessity."

For those unable to splurge on a luxury sleep tourism experience, experts suggest implementing practical tips at home, such as committing to a pre-bedtime routine, staying off electronic devices, and ensuring a cool, quiet, and comfortable sleep environment. Ultimately, prioritizing sleep and developing healthy habits can have a profound impact on overall well-being, regardless of whether one indulges in a sleep-focused getaway or not.

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