April 27, 2013 -- After years of focusing on every amenity under the sun – from gemstone spa treatments to panda-themed rooms to underwater hotel restaurants – the travel industry is getting back to basics.
The latest craze? Giving customers a good night's sleep.
At the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado, the hotel recently brought on a Sleep Ambassador to train employees on the art of a restful night's sleep. The hotel offers a Sound Sleep TV Channel with music composed by a sleep expert, oxygen canisters to adjust to the altitude and slumber massages.
Even airlines are getting in on the trend. Starting this summer, Delta Airlines will provide Westin Hotels' famous Heavenly Bedding in BusinessElite cabins. Now if only we could figure out a way to sleep in coach.
Sixty percent of adults report having difficulty sleeping almost every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation and hotels. Now places where you actually pay money to sleep have finally taken notice.
But the pioneer in taking sleep seriously is the Benjamin Hotel in New York City. The midtown hotel has had a sleep program in place since it opened 12 years ago. There's a sleep concierge, a 12-choice pillow menu and a even a sleep guarantee -- yes that's a free night if you don't get your usual Zzzzs -- are offered.
"We noticed they travel with their own pillows, so instead we decided to bring the pillows to the guests," said Anya Orlanska, sleep concierge at the Benjamin.
Guests can choose their pillow type when they make their reservation or when they arrive at the hotel. Orlanska said guests are welcome to try all 12 pillows if they like, or pick the one most like the one they have at home.
Orlanska said there's more to a good night's sleep than a pillow. "We come to your room, put the shades down, put the temperature up so it's nice and warm, spray the room with lavender, leave you an eye mask, liquid on pressure points, advise you to have massage, either here or if you're more comfortable in the spa. We would talk about a midnight snack as well, if you'd like something to eat."
Midnight snack? Oh yes. In the form of peanut butter and jelly, a turkey sandwich or a warm glass of milk.
But what about people who aren't traveling to one of these sleep-conscious hotels, or aren't traveling at all?
Some of these techniques can be practiced at home.
"Here at the Benjamin, we call the guest an hour before they go to sleep and remind them to shut down their electronic devices," she said. "We recommend people do it at home as well. Shut the television, shut the computer. Put you phones in another room, this way if you wake up in the middle of the night you're not tempted to reach out for phone and check messages."
Easier said than done. You might have to check into one of those hotels that actually takes away your devices for that to happen.