Leisure demand drives the hotel industry’s pandemic recovery, and hotel companies see merit in offerings combining wellness experiences.
But with caution still surrounding highly trafficked areas, shared spaces like the hotel spa may just go the way of the hotel gym, at least temporarily. Properties like Wild Rice Retreat, which was built during the pandemic, was purposefully constructed without a traditional fitness facility. Miraval Group, which operates retreats in three states, notes an increased guest interest in outdoor activities that comply with social distancing standards.
Hotel companies are also bringing a refreshed wellness experience to the guest and their pillows.
The spa experience is coming to the guest room at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts via new Alchemy of Sleep experiences that range from one-night Dreamscapes to two-to-five-night Sleep Transformations. These global getaways are curated to incorporate local customs and culture, complemented by regionally inspired products like essential oils, tea blends, and aromatherapy mists.
The focus is on nutrition’s impact on the sleep cycle at Rosewood San Miguel de Allende while guests can enjoy two personal sleep consultations and restorative yoga in the Riviera Maya. The hotel company offers healing sound bath therapy, said to activate brain waves for a dreamlike state, at its property in Saint Barthélemy.
But are such measures to reset restfulness myth or reality?
Denver-based adult sleep coach Seth Davis said Rosewood has the science behind catching good Z’s covered A to Z — and that it’s possible to recharge even after just one evening of decent slumber.
“As long as people are able to fully relax, you can get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room on even the first night,” he said. “A lot of times our brain is aware that we’re in a new situation so we might be more ‘vigilant.’ But there are ways to mitigate that with some comforts, like the scent of lavender, or foods that promote better rest.”
Davis said there’s a physiological formula to a peaceful stay that’s individual and constantly evolving depending on ambient noise, stress, and one often overlooked offender: temperature.
“The worst home or hotel experiences are when you can’t control how warm or cold it is,” Davis said. All-in-all, good sleep is about much more than simply mechanics of a hard or firm mattress, he said.
The rollout of Rosewood’s Alchemy of Sleep retreats, which run through March, also notably coincides with the debut of Bryte Sleep Suites at Rosewood Miramar Beach and Rosewood Sand Hill properties. The Restorative Bed by Bryte allows sleep partners to customize their settings for heating and cooling, senses ambient temperature and humidity to manage heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, offers guided meditation, and interfaces with smart products to control Circadian lighting.
It doesn’t come cheap, however. The retail price for a king-sized bed starts at $8,600.
The Jetsons-like platform may indeed give Rosewood a leg up amongst most big-box competition. Until now, New York City’s Equinox Hotel was among the major hoteliers premiering a holistic wellness experience, with luxury soundproofing, blackout window treatments, sleep coaching, and “sound and harmonic resonance therapy.”
The treatment aims to replicate the benefits of three hours of sleep in just a 30-minute session. The consumer-facing marketing of Equinox’s sleep of your dreams concept, however, notably focuses on their proprietary Sleep System — a suite of luxury mattresses, linens, and pillows.
One of Westin’s most famous campaigns featured its Heavenly Bed, which inspired a slew of other brands to follow suit with consumer-facing messages about on-site quality of rest. Marriott branched out past material goods and appealed to travelers with a 2017 campaign that focused on how great customer service can inspire peace of mind.
“The Golden Rule campaign personified how our associates fundamentally go beyond making one’s bed to making someone’s day,” said Paige Francis, vice president of global marketing for classic select brands at Marriott International.
That same year, Westin launched a Let’s Rise campaign with wellness-themed programs and partnerships focused on the six pillars of well-being: eat well, move well, feel well, work well, and play well.
Westin then updated its fitness studios to incorporate more stretching, strength and core equipment, and started a gear-lending partnership with New Balance to borrow running shoes.
But so far, most of the hospitality campaign cache surrounding better sleeping and wellness experiences involves a very specific high-ticket souvenir: the hotel bed.
“A W Hotels Bed is more than a glamorous mattress — it’s your ticket to daily escapes. You don’t just rest, you revel in the day’s moments. You don’t doze off to sleep, you dream up tomorrow’s mischief,” the campaign said.
Marketing around other pillow talk-related accoutrements served as a boon for a crippled industry in 2020, when Marriott’s e-commerce platform Bonvoy Boutiques saw a 26 percent rise year-over-year in such non-traditional revenue streams as plush robes and luxury linens.
Far beyond seashells, sand, or slippers, a bed is a much more permanent souvenir that may inspire a sense of happiness when reflecting on a getaway, said Davis. But in terms of sleep hygiene and instilling better behaviors that result in better rest long term, hotels and their guests would be best served by adopting a comprehensive approach to wellness, opines the sleep coach.
Now, if hotels could just find a solution to boisterous guests and slamming doors, guests could sleep better no matter their preference for mattress firmness.