(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to Bloomberg Pursuits Amenity Watch, where we look at the exciting (and sometimes ridiculous) perks that luxury hotels are coming up with to entice people back out into the world.
The very fundamentals of hospitality are to provide “a good night’s sleep and some good food to go with it,” says Gareth Roberts, Peninsula Hotels group director of brand.
Guaranteeing good sleep, especially amid the ultrastressful environs of today’s travel climate, is no small feat. Even before factoring jet lag in, recent findings from the Sleep Foundation show that up to 48% of American adults suffer from some form of insomnia.
Difficulty sleeping has plagued me since my teenage years and has intensified since I became a parent three years ago. Yet I’d never heard of sleep patches, the latest amenity to roll out across the Peninsula Hotels portfolio as part of the brand’s wellness overhaul.
Check into an Eiffel Tower-facing suite at the Peninsula Paris or the old Hollywood digs of the Peninsula Beverly Hills and you’ll find a whole slate of new amenities that range from wellness concierges to in-room fitness gear. But the one that most caught my attention comes with turndown service, placed in an envelope on your pillow.
Subtle Energies Blissful Inhalation Sleep Patches come wrapped in a pretty, white-and-gold packet that’s roughly the size of a wet nap; inside, the patch is just smaller than a dime or a lithium battery. Simple instructions tell you to peel off an adhesive layer and place the patch on your wrist or collar. It sticks with little effort and doesn’t leave a residue.
Soon, you’re inhaling a fragrant, supposedly calming blend of aromatherapy oils that last for hours. I picked up primary notes of jasmine, plus hints of lavender, citrus, and wood. I wasn’t far off: The actual notes are morga, a type of jasmine, plus lavender and kewda flowers, which are said to promote relaxation.
The smells seemed to come and go in waves, catching my attention periodically, reminding me of luxurious hotel lobbies throughout India (all happy places!) and encouraging deep, restful breaths. The amenity isn’t for everyone, though: My aroma-sensitive husband dismissed it as “spa smell” and felt thankful that he couldn’t detect any of the fragrance from a few feet away. And while I liked it, it didn’t make me sleepy, per se.
Medical professionals agree that some essential oils, including lavender, have a good track record of easing anxiety; but by and large, they’re unstudied and unproven. Those with chronic sleep difficulties, like me, will generally need something stronger to induce it.
Peninsula isn’t blind to this. Sleep gummies that contain melatonin are currently being tested for its New York location, for instance, and spa treatments that prepare the body for rest are available in Chicago. Sleep programming is a growing priority for Peninsula, says Roberts; a wider range of amenities is rolling out on a property-by-property basis in accordance with local law and culture.
“When you’re looking to roll out an amenity globally, there are all sorts of local restrictions in various markets that you have to consider,” Roberts says, explaining the need for a naturopathic product. “We had to be really careful if we wanted to ensure consistency across the entire brand.”
Peninsula has also struck a partnership with meditation app Breethe, which includes bedtime modules that are free for guests to access online.
The sleep patches act as a sort of gateway drug for the brand’s many wellness initiatives; the turndown card that contains them also has a QR code inviting guests to engage with Peninsula’s new Wellness Portal, where they can find information about all of the “Life Lived Best” amenities that have been rolling out since April. While Roberts says most guests will receive them only on the first night of a stay, those who find them useful or enjoyable can request that they be replenished nightly. “We’ll probably even send you home with some, if you love them,” he explains.
Subtle Energies, the ayurvedic aromatherapy brand that produces the sleep patches, also has a partnership with the Rosewood Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Other hotels and hospitality brands are dabbling in a full range of sleep amenities as well. The James in New York City offers a late-night “Insomnia Cart” in the lobby, stocked with CBD tinctures, sound machines, and weighted blankets. (Some of the products are for sale, others available for loan.) Similarly, several Rosewood Hotels offer “Curated Sleep Boxes”—either for purchase or free as part of sleep-centric spa treatments—that contain silk eye masks, essential oils, sleep-inducing teas, and linen sprays.
Sleep patches made by several wellness companies may be the simplest and most novel of all such perks. It’s not hard to imagine them overtaking the generic chocolate on the pillow. “As a luxury brand, we’re happy to lead the charge,” says Roberts. “We would be delighted for more and more people to emulate this idea in their own way over the next few years.”
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