While vacations typically involve sightseeing, adventure, and dining, more and more people are opting to “sleep in” on their vacations to compensate for lost sleep during the workweek and recover from the sleep deprivation associated with their busy and stressful lives.
Sleep tourism is an emerging travel trend in which travelers visit vacation destinations to indulge in the luxurious experience of sleeping in comfortable and – sometimes lavish accommodations.
The trend of sleep tourism is gaining momentum as hotels and resorts are jumping on the bandwagon to offer more sleep-focused stays designed to promote rest and relaxation.
Simon Chapman, the Complex General Manager of The Benjamin Royal Sonesta New York, recently shared insights with us on the Rest & Renew program at The Benjamin Hotel in New York.
He discussed how the program was developed to help guests optimize their sleep experience in the bustling metropolis of New York City.
Simon has over 20 years of experience working in hospitality and has been with Sonesta Hotels since December 2020.Q. What is driving the trend of sleep tourism, and what factors led the Benjamin Hotel to develop a sleep program for its guests?
We started seeing this trend in high demand for better sleep while traveling about 24 years ago. Over the years, our concierge team was hearing more and more guests complimenting how well they were sleeping at the hotel.
We wanted to further enhance the guest experience by bringing about amenities that promote a good night’s sleep in a more intentional way.
At The Benjamin Royal Sonesta, our guests are the inspiration behind everything we do as the overall goal is to provide the best in service and comfort. We believe that sleep is of the utmost importance- especially while traveling.
Q. Could you describe the amenities, sleep environment, and design of the Rest & Renew program at The Benjamin Hotel? Additionally, could you explain how the program sets itself apart from other sleep retreat programs?
Hotel guests love our blackout curtains and our plush mattresses. In a city that never sleeps, The Benjamin does a superb job of creating a restorative environment for guests to rest in after a long day of working or sightseeing.
In partnership with sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins, we have created the Rest & Renew program as an extra amenity for our guests.The research-backed Rest & Renew program optimizes guests’ sleeping experience with a curated pillow menu offering 10 different pillow types for every kind of sleeper, on-demand meditation, a partnership with Bedside Reading offering complimentary books, and all sleep-related wellness products imaginable such as sleep masks, ear plugs and white noise machines.
Our partnership with Dr. Rebecca Robbins has allowed us to elevate our sleep offerings and provide scientifically backed solutions that truly make a difference.
Q. Apart from sleep itself, what other components are included in the sleep program? Also, could you describe a typical day in the program, including activities and the overall guest experience?
Our Rest & Renew program is bespoke, and customized based on recommendations with a curated itinerary by Dr. Rebecca Robbins to ensure each guest has a personalized experience.
Upon entering their guest room or suite, guests will be welcomed with the Rest & Renew Sleep program offerings which include a curated pillow menu, sleep masks, blackout curtains, a noise machine, earplugs, on-demand meditation and complimentary bedside reading books to ensure that our guests receive the perfect night’s sleep.
The curated pillow menu features 10 different pillow options with descriptions as to which type is most beneficial to them and their sleeping habits – whether they be back, stomach or side sleepers.
With access to our On-Demand Meditation platform, guests are invited to choose from two-recorded 10-minute sessions:
A mindfulness and a mantra session to center yourself in the city that never sleeps.
Any guest can dial “MEDITATION” on the in-room phone and choose from two-recorded 10-minute sessions.
Mantra: helps you feel more relaxed, balanced, and creative.
Mindfulness: helps generate deeper focus and awareness.
The rooms at The Benjamin Royal Sonesta were also designed according to the science of sleep, including thick curtains to block city noise/early morning light, along with relaxing hues and color tones.
Guests can spend their day exploring New York City and return to the hotel for a relaxing wind-down call and recharge in the evening.
Q. What are the challenges managing a hotel with a sleep-centric focus?
Despite the challenges posed by factors such as outside noise and lighting in the city that never sleeps, we have received very few complaints about these variables negatively affecting our guests’ sleep.
The Benjamin’s double-panned glass windows, black out shades and white noise machines are extremely effective in blocking out any disturbances.
A guest once told us that despite being in the bustling heart of Midtown Manhattan, she felt the immediate serenity and calm as soon as she stepped into our hotel.
Q. What training or resources are provided to the hotel staff members to better support guests with specific sleep needs?
Our Front Desk and concierge teams are experts when it comes to pillows, and they are more than happy to help guests choose the perfect one to suit their sleep preferences.
To ensure that our team members are well-equipped to make informed recommendations, we encourage them to test out each of the different pillow types themselves, based on their own unique sleep experiences, so that they can make recommendations based not just on what they’ve been told, but on their own firsthand experience.
Q. How has this sleep program been received so far, and can you share any guest feedback or testimonials about the hotel’s sleep experience?
Our guests love the Rest & Renew program. With consistently positive feedback over the past 24 years, we are continuously looking for more ways to enhance the guest experience
Q. What strategies do you have in place to improve the Rest & Renew program for sleep tourism guests and keep up with innovative sleep-related research?
We are innovating the technology behind our offerings to make for a most seamless and stress-free stay experience.
In addition to enhancing the technology, we are also in communication with Dr. Rebecca Robbins who keeps us up to date on the latest sleep research.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to mention that our readers may find interesting or helpful? Finally, what final thoughts or message do you have for our readers?
What our teams have learned over the years is that a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow are essential, as well as the bedroom environment from the right temperature, noise, lighting, and furniture arrangement
We even removed the modern, bright digital clocks from the rooms and replaced with classic analog clocks which are uncomplicated and silent without omitting light within the bedroom.
We have had many requests from guests inquiring how to purchase our pillows, robes, and bedding.
Our level of service and dedication to ensuring a good night’s sleep keeps many of our loyal guests coming back to sleep in “the city that never sleeps”.
Photos credit: The Benjamin Royal Sonesta New York