More and more travelers are abandoning itineraries packed with dawn-to-dusk activities. Welcome to the age of sleep tourism, with a growing number of hotels offering amenities and services to help guests get a healthy dose of rest.
According to an analysis by HTF Market Insights, the sleep tourism market is expected to grow by approximately 8 percent between 2023 and 2028 to more than $400 billion.
“Guests value sleep more when they travel,” says Rebecca Robbins, a sleep specialist at Harvard University's Department of Sleep Medicine and co-author of Sleep for Success!
This growing $814 billion health tourism industry has benefited from significant interest in “slow travel” – traveling to relax and reconnect with wellness habits. In a recent survey, the majority of participants, more than 94 percent, said they prefer to travel slowly. It comes at a time when many hotels around the world have become ambassadors for sleep tourism, offering guidance from sleep trackers, retreats and sleep doctors.
According to Fortune, in a survey of more than 600 travelers, Robbins, who teaches sleep science at Sonesta hotels, found that only one in three were satisfied with their sleep during their recent travel experience.
According to Robbins, hotels often focus on promoting nightlife and dining options, where they can capitalize on travelers' desire and need to improve their sleep. “At the end of the day, hotels are the primary providers of a good night's rest,” he says.
Hot spots for sleepovers
Hotels have long offered amenities like face masks, blackout umbrellas, and comfy pillows, but many brands are expanding their sleep-promoting offerings. According to Amanda El Masri, vice president of wellness at Hilton, many Hilton locations offer “off” amenities, including temperature-adjustable mattresses and dimmable lighting systems. Hilton's latest Health Trends report found that the number one reason to travel is to relax and recharge.
Other hotels, such as the Hilton, are expanding sleep-enhancing services. Rome Cavalier – A Waldorf Astoria offers guests pillow menus, while the Conrad Bali has an extra-fee experience called SWAY, where guests spend a 60-minute sleep therapy session hanging out in hammocks.
“Sleep tourism travelers are looking for unique experiences, amenities and environments that help them achieve their sleep and relaxation goals by taking that extra step,” says Al-Masri.
The Park Hyatt New York offers the Bright Restorative Sleep Suite, a 900-square-foot room with an AI-powered smart bed. In-room amenities include essential oil diffusers and sleep-related books, and London-based Jetwell Hotel offers soundproof rooms free of distractions such as televisions and monitors. Sonesta's Rest & Renew program at the four-star Benjamin Royal Hotel in New York offers sleep kits with masks, a lullaby music library, white noise machines, ten different pillow options and an electric sleep aid.
For those looking to dedicate their entire vacation to health and wellness, Six Senses, with locations around the world including Greece, India and Fiji, offers guests a structured sleep program.
The stay includes sleep meditations and a two-night sleep tracker that provides insight into sleep duration and quality, as well as guidance from in-house sleep physicians. A five-night stay starts at just over $1,000, and guests typically stay between three and ten nights.