Travel

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.

 Photo courtesy of Shou Sugi Ban House
Photo courtesy of Shou Sugi Ban House
Photo courtesy of Shou Sugi Ban House

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.

Photo courtesy of NYC Glamping
Photo courtesy of NYC Glamping
Photo courtesy of NYC Glamping

NYC Glamping Brooklyn

Greenpoint, Brooklyn
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

Nap York

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

Park Hyatt New York

Midtown Manhattan
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)

Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House
Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House
Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House

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, 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

Inns of Aurora Resort & Spa

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

The Peninsula New York

Midtown Manhattan
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)

Shou Sugi Ban House

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)

YO1 Longevity and Health Resorts

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
 

Photo courtesy of Getaway
Photo courtesy of Getaway
Photo courtesy of Getaway

Getaway

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

Mandarin Oriental New York

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

Equinox Hotel New York

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 nightWant more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.Kemi Ibeh is a contributor for Thrillist.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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