For the world’s rich and famous, nothing is out of reach. But bad sleep doesn’t discriminate and is probably an issue that those at the top of their game struggle with more due to high-pressure lifestyles and schedules. Cue the ultimate luxury — a good night’s rest. Which it turns out, money can actually buy.
As one of the country’s most prestigious and private retreats, Cape Town’s Ellerman House is a leader in luxury hospitality. An unparalleled setting, world-class service, and a famous art collection make it the choice of top-tier clientele.
It’s fitting that it has taken heed of the huge global swing towards wellbeing by incorporating a new, holistic-minded offering into its portfolio, in the form of rebooted wellness packages that hone in on sleep.
The hotel’s new dedicated Sleep Rooms were created in collaboration with elite wellness consultant and trainer Harry Jameson. A first in Africa, they’re designed to maximise guests’ sleep quality and herald a new concept in the luxury hospitality space.
“Sleep is often the forgotten pillar of wellness,” said Jameson. “Hotel rooms are regularly an assault on the senses, throwing technology, treats, and overstimulation at you the minute you step inside.” The new Sleep Rooms aim to combat this with a combination of precise environmental conditions and behavioural practices.
While the rooms are newly rejigged for the retreats, the hotel has taken a more comprehensive approach, which means you get prepped well before your head hits the pillow.
Jameson believes that wellness is a holistic practice that spans the tangible (nutritional and physical) and the more theoretical (occupational, financial, spiritual, emotional, even philanthropic). The hotel has tried to create an optimum environment and set of circumstances for health on a variety of levels.
As a result, all elements in the programme — from exercise (hikes, ocean kayaking, yoga) to nutrition — have been geared to pave the way for a good sleep.
The meals are delicious (thankfully, they don’t believe deprivation or blandness are the path to peace) and the menu by executive chef Rudolph Blaauw incorporates ingredients that boost gut health and antioxidants.
Spa treatments, a no-brainer in terms of the relaxation process, take place in the late afternoon and have that Ellerman House luxury touch.
Dinner follows — with wine or without as you wish (Jameson prefers not to be too militant about these details, as the point is that you enjoy your stay). After dinner, enter the sleep ritual. With all electronics removed, blackout blinds, and plug points covered (to dissuade phone use and blue light), the rooms are havens of calm and quiet. Guests are welcomed at check-in with a unique Sleep Pack (containing scented bath salts to candles, eye masks, and CBD chamomile tea), which is used in conjunction with the carefully planned signature Sleep Ritual. Designed to help the body naturally increase melatonin and evoke deep sleep (the room is set at an optimum temperature and you engage in pre-bed meditation), the ritual is a sequence of steps that allows body and mind to power down and reportedly reduces inflammation, manages stress, and improves mental focus.
The pre-programmed meditation (which plays through cordless headphones in the pack) is a pleasure, and really does still the mind. I was sceptical, but even a brief few minutes spent quieting the noise makes an impact. Being sans phone before bed was difficult, but the absolute darkness is worth the struggle and being forced to turn your phone off is pleasantly liberating.
Importantly, the whole process isn’t airy fairy and has been grounded in research — into nutrition, sleep science, and stress. Jameson was adamant that the offering should combine hard evidence with luxury. “I was keen as a scientist to make sure what we created was credible — and that we could back it up,” he said.
And the idea is not to limit these practices to your time at the hotel but to encourage good habits beyond. “We would like guests to take their experience home with them. Our Sleep Ritual is aimed at empowering guests for the rest of their lives.”
Five Sleep Rooms will be available from 2020 at an exclusive retreat hosted by Jameson. The three-night itinerary will include daily exercise excursions, art tours, spa treatments, meals, and workshops designed to restore and inspire, while at night you’ll be working towards the most restful sleep of your life.
• From the March issue of Wanted 2020.