New travel sleep technology and solutions can help you arrive to do business rejuvenated
Sometimes a free glass of wine in the airline lounge just doesn’t cut it: you need a nap to really recharge and relax on that long layover. Reserve a stay at Minute Suites or Sleepbox, airport-based sleep stations based on the micro-hotel concept. Guests pay by the hour (US$24-$40) for a small but efficient blackout room with a desk; shower facilities are often available as an add-on. Sleepbox’s sleek and sustainable units are currently only in Washington, D.C.,’s Dulles International (IAD), but Minute Suites will be in 12 U.S. airports by the end of the year.
Noise-cancelling earphones and headsets are great for neutralizing travel racket—but not so practical for loud hotel rooms. SleepPhones are encased in a soft, washable (the electronics are removable) headband that’s comfortable even for side sleepers to listen to white noise, guided meditation or lullaby-style music. Developed by a doctor with a video game developer husband, these could be a marriage-saving device, too. Think: blocking out a partner’s late-night entertainment or snoring.
Timeshifter is an essential new app for frequent international flyers. Neuroscience research by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Steven Lockley on sleep and circadian rhythms informed the algorithm that powers it. Users get personalized anti-jet-lag programs—which can include pre-travel sleep adjustments and strategic use of melatonin—depending on their sleep habits and flight plans. There’s even a Quick Turnaround feature especially for business travellers on short trips. Timeshifter is already being used by elite athletes and even astronauts.
Kelowna-based hotelier Ingrid Jarrett, shown here fishing in B.C., carefully researches destinations
Travel insider Ingrid Jarrett, who’s on the road for leisure as much as business, counts Portugal, rural England and Ireland among recent journeys. Her pre-trip MO is to not only exhaustively research (she likes the Lonely Planet and National Geographic sites) but to ask her destination hotel what she mustn’t forget to pack–whether that’s high-powered bug spray or rubber boots.
That sets her trips up for success and “allows you to have a personal connection with somebody before you get there,” says the president and CEO of the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association and general manager of the Royal Kelowna hotel.
As a solo traveller, Jarrett makes technology her companion. “In Europe I speak English, but I’m not afraid to try a language even if I do it poorly. If that fails, I use Google Translate and just hold the phone up!” Driving through England, she used Waze to make sure upcoming gas stations, lunch stops and roadwork were on her radar. “But I’m a big map person: I like a real paper map.”
On business trips, she’ll splurge on a room on a hotel’s club-tier floor. “It’s extra money, but breakfast is provided, and the hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour can often be my dinner.” Plus, club-floor lounges often have private rooms she can use to work or take meetings. A favourite option is Fairmont Gold: plus, as a Fairmont President’s Club member she also has access to Adidas workout gear and running shoes, which helps when packing right.
The best tip from this long-time hotel manager? If you find yourself with dead devices and forgotten chargers, before rushing out to an Apple Store or equivalent for a high-priced replacement, call on hotel staff. Chances are some other traveller has paid it forward by leaving theirs behind, and the hotel will be able to lend you one.
Watch for innovative U.S. hotel group Sonder to open in downtown Vancouver’s vintage Arts & Crafts Building next spring. Currently operating in 18 cities, including Montreal, the company’s digital-first micro-hotels (no check-in or concierge desks, but hotel-level suites and housekeeping) are embedded in select floors of existing city-centre buildings.