With the stress of flight schedules and time zone changes, travelers often arrive at their destinations desperate for sleep. It's no wonder hotels got hip to offering guests special packages to help them snooze. From sleep concierges to in-room studies that unlock why you're lacking shut-eye, here are our top picks for places that give you a good shot of waking up refreshed.
Have an In-Room Sleep Study Done at Canyon Ranch
Canyon Ranch was the first major resort in the U.S. to offer overnight sleep tests, where leads are attached to a patient's head and body to monitor heart and brain waves during sleep. Along with in-room sleep studies in all locations, the original Tucson resort has a dedicated sleep lab. Being wired to computer monitors for seven hours may not sound like a relaxing way to spend a night at a luxury resort, but polysomnography proved popular enough that other resorts followed. Overnight sleep studies at Canyon Ranch cost $2,325, but other options to tackle sleep issues include 50-minute physician consultations and behavioral therapy sessions.
Try the Quiet Zone at Crowne Plaza
The "Sleep Advantage" program was launched by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts after the company conducted months of studies that identified two primary causes of hotel wakefulness: hallway noise and anxiety over wake-up calls. Now, along with plush bedding, guests find a basket containing a nightlight, earplugs, an eye mask, lavender spray, a drape clip to block that annoying sliver of sunlight in the morning, plus a CD offering tips for "physical and emotional relaxation" against a background of soothing music.
The hotel also promises "quiet zones"—at least one floor with no children, large groups, leisure travelers, or room attendants, between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m., Sunday through Thursday—and guaranteed wake-up calls. If a guest fails to receive a requested call, the hotel will waive that night's room and tax fees.
Pick the Perfect Pillow at the Benjamin Hotel
The Benjamin Hotel offers a good night's sleep or your money back—no small promise for a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Beside the bed you'll find a Brookstone sound machine, with settings that include everything from a babbling brook to a rainstorm. To find the perfect pillow before getting into bed, choose from a menu of 12 options—including a five-foot body cushion, a gel-filled neck-roll, and a pillow with a plug for your iPod—then pick up the phone to order, and have it delivered at your door.
Get a Private Session with a Sleep Expert at Milestone Hotel
Milestone Hotel of London, which is one of our top destinations for 2012, recently launched the "Sleep Experience" package, featuring a private session with a sleep expert, a 90-minute bedtime massage, and a gift bag containing an Alpha Sleep Pod. This iPod-Shuffle-size device supposedly transmits the brainwaves of healthy sleepers through ear buds when you hit the sack.
Visit the WellMax Center at La Quinta Resort & Club
Located near Palm Springs, La Quinta Resort & Club (pictured above) in La Quinta, California, added a sleep lab to the on-site WellMax Center for Preventive Medicine in 2001, after discovering sleep deprivation was the root of many patients' complaints. Guests show up at about 10 p.m. for overnight sleep studies, then wander back to their rooms and order breakfast in bed. While WellMax operates independent of La Quinta, it attracts a lot of out-of-towners to the resort.
Indulge in Sleep-Inducing Treats at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort is situated on a quiet stretch of the Delaware River in the Poconos Mountains, with several cottages well away from the main inn. If that's not enough to relax you, Shawnee has a sleep package that includes a basket of "sleep amenities" (lavender spray, eye masks, ear plugs), a 9 p.m. delivery of warm milk and cookies, and a HoMedics sound machine on the bedside table with six settings (ocean, rainforest, crickets, etc). You can even opt to have the restaurant's chef come to your room and cook you a custom meal so you don't have to stray too far from bed.
Snooze on a Heavenly Bed at the Westin
The craze for plush hotel bedding was started by The Westin, when they introduced their "Heavenly Bed," in 1999. Nothing is more indicative of our insomniac society than hotel guests' desire to bring home the bed that gave them a good night's sleep. So many guests called to ask where they could buy a Westin bed, the hotelier began selling them online, and then through Nordstrom. Then, United Airlines started offering Heavenly blankets and pillows to business and first-class travelers on bicoastal flights in 2008. Now, you can buy Heavenly bedding everywhere from Pottery Barn to Amazon.com.
Fodors.com contributor Cathleen McCarthy is the travel rewards expert for CreditCards.com and covers hotel and travel deals in Northeast cities on her own network, Save on Cities. Her stories have appeared in The Washington Post, WSJ, Amtrak ARRIVE, Town & Country, and many inflight magazines.
Photo credit: courtesy La Quinta Resort & Club