A good night’s sleep: hotels get back to basics

Back to the basics for hotel rooms, read article by John O’Ceallaigh published in telegraph

It now seems de rigueur for luxury hotel rooms to hold enough electronica to launch a tech start-up, but if guests don’t get a decent night’s sleep then their stay has been a failure and those expensive accoutrements count for nothing.

The Corinthia Hotel in London is ensuring it meets this fundamental requirement. Launched last summer, its Sumptuous Sleep Retreat was developed in collaboration with the renowned sleep expert Dr Guy Meadows, and takes a holistic approach to sleeping soundly. A “sleep menu” features restorative dishes rich in tryptophan – an amino acid that forms the sleep hormone melatonin – and its spa offers sleep-inducing treatments that go a step beyond the expected. “Polarity balance bodywork”, for example, counteracts the negative effects of constant mobile phone or computer use. At night, guests sink into handmade Hypnos mattresses. When I visited, restaurant staff struggled to explain the science behind the concept to me but the menu was light, tasty and satisfying; sleep comes easy in the hotel’s stylish and muted rooms too, and I can vouch for the comfort of Hypnos products.

The Savoy in London takes its beds seriously, too. The most sensitive sleepers should stay in one of the 38 rooms with Savoir beds. Each bed is handcrafted in Britain; their mattresses are stuffed with Latin American horse tail, lambswool or, in the Savoy’s Royal Suite, Mongolian cashmere. Guests can buy their own Savoir bed through the hotel, with prices from £10,800.

Customers of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts are also set for a comfortable night’s sleep. The company has launched a new range of mattress toppers that change the beds’ levels of firmness. Guests’ preferences will be recorded so they can expect the same level of comfort next time they stay in a Four Seasons hotel.

Those who still suffer from fitful sleep might find solace in the Alpine village of Leogang in Austria. The simple but chic Forsthofalm hotel is made almost entirely of ‘moon timber’ – wood that is felled between November and January, when trees do not produce sap. The hotel cites medical evidence that shows resting in an all-wood environment slows the heart rate and induces deep and relaxing sleep.

Six Senses is taking a portfolio-wide approach to improving guests’ sleep too. Its ‘yogic sleep’ programmes will combine yoga nidra, pranayama and gentle yoga practice to boost the quality of relaxation and improve sleep. Rooms will be adapted too, with special pillow mists provided, sleep-boosting snacks to hand and a sleep journal laid out so contemplative visitors can jot down their thoughts and clear their minds before retiring.

In Baden-Baden in Germany, the newly opened Villa Stéphanie spa has gone a step further to ensure bedrooms serve as sanctuaries. For those most desperately in need of a digital detox, a switch can be flicked to activate the copper panels embedded in the walls and obstruct Wi-Fi signals, or any electronic rays, from penetrating the room. Although the feature wasn’t quite up and running properly during my soft-opening visit, the expectation is that it will help those who believe that ‘e-smog’ is disrupting their sleep, as well as those who are struggling to quit their iPad addiction.

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