Sleep Tourism Is Now a Thing, and These New York Destinations Are Doing It Best
From NYC hotels to Upstate or the Hamptons, a New Yorker’s guide to catching some good Z’s.
In the city that never sleeps, rest is a much-needed commodity. On average, more than one-third of U.S. adults already sleep less than seven hours a night—and with NYC noise complaints on the rise due to the fact that we deal with everything from helicopters and barking dogs to sirens and loud neighbors, New Yorkers are especially in need of some decent shut-eye.
It’s also no wonder, then, that sleep tourism has become a popular trend in travel.
The unique category is just what it sounds like: traveling for the sole purpose of wellness, relaxation, and sleep. Since the pandemic began, sleep tourism has been slowly carving its niche within the travel and wellness sectors in North America and western Europe. Destinations do not have to be conventionally luxurious, in far-flung locations, or expensive to warrant sleep tourism or offer sleep services.
It does, however, beg the question: Why would anyone spend money to simply sleep in a destination?
It is recommended that adults get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep for adequate heart, brain, and circulatory system function. Sleep also directly affects mental health and memory by sharpening our cognitive skills and regulating our emotions. But so many of us don’t get enough of it, and around-the-clock job schedules can also throw the body off its natural circadian rhythm, causing problems when we finally climb into bed.
So it only makes sense that the travel and wellness industries are banking on the success of this particular form of tourism with various sleep packages, wellness products, and mindfulness services in hotels and getaway spots.
Here are 11 destinations—some rustic, some luxurious, some in the middle—to get you on your way to a good night’s rest in New York City and nearby locations.
Picture this: Your introvert self craves affordable solitude without spa bells and whistles or the sojourn to Upstate New York. In comes urban glamping with nine upcycled shipping containers furnished cozily with a fully fitted bathroom, a queen bed, coffee machine, vinyl player, heating and air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and an expansive window overlooking the quiet Greenpoint waterfront and Manhattan skyline.
This is the ideal escape for those wanting quiet surroundings for a good night’s sleep. This part of the waterfront is devoid of crowds because the glamping site is within a secure and private lot accessible only to guests. But even so, the containers are insulated from exterior noise (and also come equipped with a smart lock). Even if you’re mere blocks from home, a simple change of environment can work wonders for improved sleep.
Cost: Depending on dates booked, rates start at $470 per night for upcycled containers
2 Midtown Manhattan Locations
Tech meets city meets slumber at Nap York, which offers quick and comfy sleep stations bookable by the hour, night, or week. With locations at Central Park and the Empire State Building, the sleep pods are ideal for all types: go-getters in need of a power nap, travelers with extra time before a flight, or harried office workers craving solitude for an hour. The sleep stations can be reserved on an easy-to-navigate app. Check in minutes before your reservation and head into a pod that includes Wi-Fi, a shared bathroom, luggage storage, and fresh linens. Wake up clear-headed, refreshed, and ready to take on the concrete jungle.
Cost: One hour starts at $30; overnight stays start at $120
Have you ever slept on a smart bed? You can at the Park Hyatt in Midtown, which offers “a personalized, restorative sleep experience” with its special one-bedroom sleep suite. Here, you can rest your weary body on a Bryte smart bed, which, the company claims, will keep you from waking up mid-sleep cycle with a customization that promotes multisensory relaxation. (The bed has an app that personalizes your sleep experience and offers sleep stats upon waking.) You can also indulge in the hotel’s decadent sleep products, which include comfy sleep masks, diffusers, and essential oil blends. After a night in this 900-square-foot luxurious space—which exceeds the size of an average NYC apartment—you may have to be dragged home when your time here ends.
Cost: Standard room rate begins at $975 per night; suites begin at $1,115 per night (all excluding specialized wellness treatments)
New Paltz, New York
High in the Hudson Valley mountains amid 40,000 acres of unspoiled nature is this National Historic Landmark resort, a favorite among NYC residents craving a relaxing weekend getaway. Overnight stays include such relaxing amenities as afternoon teas, hiking trails, yoga classes, and an indoor heated pool with underwater music. In addition to its myriad restorative treatments like Swedish and hydrotherapy massages that relieve muscular tension, stimulate circulation, and promote deep relaxation (but cost extra), Mohonk also offers mindfulness and wellness weekends.
Cost: Rooms start from $1,118 per night (this also includes three daily meals and more), mindfulness sessions begin at $200
How to get here from NYC: Via a 90-minute bus ride from the Port Authority bus terminal or a rideshare/cab
Aurora, New York
Five unique inns are scattered around the tiny village of Aurora in the Finger Lakes wine region. Take advantage of this serene escape on the Cayuga Lake by indulging at the Inns of Aurora Resort & Spa for their Bliss Therapy—a combination of Abhyanga massage and your choice of body treatment. This therapy also involves a warm oil treatment on the forehead, which is ideal for stress reduction as it is said to calm the system and clear the mind. Another treatment is Reiki, which is energy healing for relaxation and stress reduction. It’s well known that massage is a natural stress reducer that is sleep-inducing and soothing for restful slumber.
Cost: Rooms start at $380 per night, treatments start at $195
How to get here from NYC: Take NY-17W for a four-hour drive
This luxury hotel at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in Midtown is famous for its elaborate holiday decor and overall opulence, so it is no surprise that the hotel company has a wellness and sustainability platform called “Life Lived Best.” This allows guests to partake in fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness goals through a wellness portal and 24/7 wellness concierge service. You can ease into a relaxing “Sunset Sound Bath Experience” and soak your tension away to the sounds of crystal and Himalayan singing bowls or receive a bath ritual with aromatherapy products that prepare your body and mind for deep sleep and repair. Also to get you ready for bed, the hotel offers the meditation app Breethe and a sleep patch imbued with essential oils.
Cost: Standard room rate begins at $695 per night (excluding specialized wellness treatments)
Water Mill, New York
Spend the weekend at this serene Southampton location that offers spa services, wellness programs, and culinary experiences all inspired by the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi. Overnight retreat packages are paired with wellness options including restorative meditation; abdominal massages performed with infrared heat and oil blends to help with irregular sleep and digestive issues; Swedish massages with warm herbal compresses ideal for insomnia and stress; and Watsu hydrotherapy massages in a heated saltwater pool to support sleep-related issues.
Cost: Average nightly rate is $1,775 for two adults, wellness services start at $250
How to get here from NYC: The drive from NYC via I-495E takes about an hour and 40 minutes (on a no-traffic day)
Monticello, New York
High in the Catskills Mountains is the YO1 (“Yovan” in Sanskrit, meaning youthful) health resort, which offers a total body rejuvenation amid 1,300 acres of forests and lakes. Health programs range from anxiety management to yoga, and there is even an insomnia management program (with meditation, yoga, and oil massage) available with a three-night minimum stay. Another offering that claims to be beneficial for those suffering insomnia (as well as migraines and stress headaches) is Shirodhara, a Sanskrit therapy that involves pouring oil on the forehead and allowing it to run through the scalp. Many of YO1’s therapies aid in stress reduction, sleep improvement, and melatonin production for a restful sleep.
Cost: Insomnia management starts at $899 per person per night with a three-night minimum
How to get here from NYC: It takes about an hour and 50 minutes (with no traffic) to drive from NYC via Palisades Interstate Parkway North and NY-17W
Eastern Catskills and Western Catskills, New York
Deep, restful sleep is not just found in contemporary, luxurious surroundings, but it also can be achieved in nature. Imagine sleeping in the great outdoors, counting stars (because you can finally see them!), and breathing in fresh lungfuls of forest air. This is what Getaway provides for weary urbanites craving scenic views, unspoiled nature, and quiet. The cabins sport comfy beds, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and the pièce de résistance—a gigantic window overlooking the outdoors. Camping can be beneficial for improved sleep because of the lack of artificial lighting and noise pollution, both of which are constant in metro areas. Additionally, studies show that sleep increases by two-and-a-half hours when camping compared to at home because the natural light and sounds help regulate our circadian rhythm, thus positively affecting our mood. This is why urbanites regularly escape to the outdoors on long weekends.
Cost: Rates start at $227 per night
How to get here from NYC: Eastern Catskills is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive via the Palisades Interstate Parkway North and I-87 N; Western Catskills is a two-and-a-quarter-hour drive via Garden State Parkway and exit NJ-17 N/I-287 N
Columbus Circle, Manhattan
If you crave a scenery change from your NYC apartment but still want to be pampered in the city, a night or two here will do the trick. Dive right into the “Digital Wellness Escape” treatment at the five-star Mandarin Oriental spa by reserving a 50-minute restorative massage of your head, neck, fingers, and feet-—body parts that bear the brunt of non-ergonomic furniture at home and in the office. You can also book up to three hours of the “Time Rituals” holistic experience, where therapists create personalized treatments targeting your needs. Mandarin Oriental is an official global impact partner for Digital Wellness Day 2023, an international holiday dedicated to practicing a pause with technology. Digital devices affect sleep patterns through blue-light emission, which disrupts melatonin production, a natural hormone important in regulating circadian rhythm.
Cost: Rooms start at $895 per night, treatments start at $250
Hudson Yards, Manhattan
Equinox Hotel New York offers a two-night “Art and Science of Sleep” package that includes cryotherapy treatments, a spa wave table (a platform that claims to provide the equivalent of three hours of sleep in just 30 minutes), and in-room rituals designed to regulate your circadian rhythm. Aren’t quite ready to make the two-night commitment? If you’ve ever stayed in luxury hotels and had the best sleep of your life on their crisp sheets, firm mattresses, fluffy duvets, and copious pillows, you can now replicate that at home with Equinox Hotels’ Sleep Shop products. In addition to mattresses hand-crafted with natural materials and pillows and duvets embedded with luxury down, purchase things like performance sleep masks, herbal teas, and relaxing shower gels.
Cost: Deluxe rooms start from $970 per night; accessible rooms start from $990 per night; and suites start from $1,270 per night
Kemi Ibeh is a contributor for Thrillist.