These days, it feels like every hotel brand is focused on wellness. Yoga mats in the room? Yawn. Customized aromatherapy candles? So five years ago. But when one New York hotel put itself in contention for most health-obsessed hotel in town, my curiosity was piqued.
That’s one of the best things about hotels: Despite being in my own city not far from my own apartment, simply walking into a new room helped me to feel like I was a thousand miles away. Walking into my room at the HGU New York, the scene was already set: crisp white sheets, low lighting, bathtub ready to be filled (a rarity in space-starved Manhattan hotels) and a tray of fruit and cheese from the downstairs restaurant, The Restaurant at Rose Hill.
But I was just getting started.
Soon, a concierge arrived to offer me a “pillow menu.” I was urged to choose my favorite kind of pillow (feather-free for allergies, full-body to act as substitute that boyfriend I didn’t have to snuggle with) and requested two firm-ish ones.
They arrived at my door within half an hour, which proved excellent timing, since step two of the relaxation process was about to begin – a registered nurse wheeled an IV into my room and hooked me up to a saline bag full of vitamins so that I could magically get healthier while tucked into bed, watching a “Law & Order” marathon, propped up on those aforementioned firmish pillows.
It all felt very Liz-Taylor-goes-to-Baden-Baden, and I suddenly found myself wishing for a satin turban and giant diamond earrings to complete the look, not to mention a personal photographer to document the experience.
Since I was only staying for one night, there were a bunch of other menu items I didn’t have the chance to test out, namely custom in-room guided meditations and a round of cryotherapy, which is when parts of your body are “frozen” with liquid nitrogen, supposedly because it helps you lose weight. I have yet to discover whether cryotherapy works or if it has any connection to sleep at all, but I do think I might rest more soundly if my love handles disappeared once and for all.
The HGU is on a Manhattan side street near Grand Central Terminal, which makes it ideal for business travelers and commuters who have an early flight to catch.
And while everything in Manhattan is about location, a hotel’s convenient address might also make it loud as hell, thanks to being in a busy neighborhood or near a major roadway. Sure, blackout curtains and white noise machines are nice, but they can’t fully drown out the realities of city life.
For me, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about the accessories (although lovely soft Frette linens that I can’t afford for my bed at home never hurt). It’s more about getting away from everyday stresses, shutting off social media and remembering to breathe.
But when it all boiled down to my actual night of sleep at the HGU, how was it? I don’t remember a thing, which is maybe the most relaxing part of all.
HGU New York, 34 E. 32nd St, New York City; 212 779 3432