Rest For The Weary: 5 Great Travel-Centric Ways To Celebrate National Sleep Day

Despite the fact that much of America enjoyed a few days of paid vacation this holiday season, sometimes the months of November and December can leave one feeling exhausted instead of relaxed come January. Hotels are great places to get a good night’s sleep – properties have spent millions researching the perfect mattress, pillow and sheet combination to ensure you drift off to dreamland in comfort, if not comfort and style.

Here are a few of our favorite places, programs and tips and techniques to get a hotel-quality sleep at home:

Choice Hotels’ Sleep Inns
When a brand boasts the word “Sleep” in its title, we hope for a good night’s rest. At Sleep Inn, hotels leave “Dream Tips” in the room for guests. One we enjoyed? “Rest fashionably – Wear your socks to bed. They help regulate body temperature for a more satisfying night’s rest.” Rooms also feature soft lighting; warm colors; and serene, nature-oriented
artwork as well as plush bedding to encourage a restful night’s sleep.

Sleep Studies at Canyon Ranch
Sure, time at a spa or wellness resort is relaxing, but those with more deep-seated insomnia issues might want to take it to the next level at Canyon Ranch resorts. Here, medical professionals can conduct overnight sleep studies, sleep analyses and therapy sessions to help guests overcome insomnia and other sleep-related issues. The programs are pricey – therapy begins at $155 for a 50-minute “Sleep Enhancement” session or $2,380 for an overnight study, but hey – nobody functions well without their beauty rest.

Rest for the Weary in the City that Never Sleeps
New York City hotel The Benjamin is well known for its sleep program, which offers a pillow menu, sleep concierge, special pet sleep program called “Dream Dog” and a kid’s sleep amenity called the Winks’ Kidzzz Club.

Diamond Resorts International’s Three-Pound Pillow
Last year, Diamond Resorts launched a 51 oz. pillow, reported to be the heaviest on the market. The hypoallergenic pillow mimics the weight and comfort level found in high-end home pillows. Made just for the hotel chain, these pillows can also be purchased online for under $30.

Hotels With Great At Home Perks
If you love to get your z’s in a hotel bed, you can usually purchase the entire package online from a brand’s website. Shop Hyatt at Home, The Ritz-Carlton Shops, the Westin Home Collection and Kimpton Style right from the comfort of your tablet or laptop.

January is also a great month to invest in linens, as many companies host an annual “white sale” on goods like sheets and towels this month. Frette, Pratesi and Sferra linens are names commonly associated with luxury hotels.

Do Your Research
Looking for the right information about how to sleep better on or off the road? We suggest you visit the National Sleep Foundation for great tips and information.

[Image Credit: The Benjamin]

Hoteliers sue Choice and Wyndham over hotel loyalty programs

Are hotel companies illegally taking loyalty fees from hotels, where guests who don’t know they’ve been enrolled in a hotel’s loyalty program are staying? That’s the question under discussion after franchisees filed class-action lawsuits against two major hotel brands.

The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando last month, allege that Wyndham Worldwide Inc. and Choice Hotels International Inc. have “inflated the ranks of their loyalty programs and are collecting fees from hotels when those guests stay at franchise properties,” according to a story in the Orlando Sentinel. The story goes on to say lawyers for the hoteliers have asked for more than $260 million in damages from Wyndham, and more than $225 million from Choice.

Here’s the issue:Franchisees say the hotel companies are ‘auto-enrolling’ guests who book online into hotel loyalty programs, unless the guest opts out at the time of booking. Then, the hotel is matching personal data (emails addresses, home addresses, etc.) to the guest to reward points (not hotel membership numbers), which franchisees say results in hotels collecting program fees of up to 5 percent of gross room sales generated by guests “who may or may not have stayed at their property because of the loyalty program, and who may not have known they were entitled to benefits.”

“The real purpose of a rewards program is that you build customer loyalty,” David Wood, an attorney for the franchisees, told the Sentinel. “In that event, the hotel franchisee would benefit. But under proactive matching, that doesn’t happen.”

Wood also goes on to say that charging the extra fee for the loyalty programs is against the franchise contracts of both companies and is a violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Readers: What do you think? If it costs you nothing, do you care if the hotel auto-enrolls you into their loyalty program?

Choice Hotels offers music downloads to support charity and new artists

It feels good to give back, and when hotels get in on the giving we make a point to salute them.

Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced the launch of Choice Hotels Music – a new music initiative that brings new artists in front of millions of consumers and helps drive donations to non-profit organizations. Here’s how it works:

Choice Hotels will produce the original music and offer consumers the chance to download these songs for a limited time for free at The artists retain ownership of their works. With each download, a financial donation will be made to a featured cause or charity. Choice Hotels Music has already begun producing 10 songs that will be matched to appropriate charities. Case in point: on August 28, Holly Montgomery performed her song “”My Brother’s Keeper” live at a special block party concert in New Orleans. This event culminates the efforts of Choice Hotels and Rebuilding Together’s Fifty for Five initiative to rehabilitate 50 homes in New Orleans on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Have a song you want the world to hear? Artists interested in creating great music to support great causes can visit for updates on the initiative.

For those who don’t have a musical note about them, just download “My Brother’s Keeper” for free from August 25 through September 24 and help support Rebuilding Together’s efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Choice Hotels planning hotel openings in Haiti

The Choice Hotels group – owners of hotel chains including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion and more – is making plans to open the first chain hotels in Haiti in almost a decade.

The Associated Press is reporting that the hotel company will start the chain with a Comfort Inn in Jacmel. The 32-room motel will open in May. A 120-room upscale hotel at the nearby Belle Rive tourism development is slated to be open this fall.

The Choice Hotels will be the brands first hotels in Haiti. Jacmel is located in Southern Haiti and is the country’s fourth largest city.

Discount hotel coming to Haiti

Choice Hotels is headed to Haiti! The discount lodging company will be the first to hit the country in close to a decade. Its first hotel, a Comfort Inn, is expected to open in May. It’ll be located in the city of Jacmel, which is on the Caribbean coast. A 32-room motel is planned, but this is only the start for Choice Hotels’ plans for the unlikely destination. It is also looking at building an upscale 120-room property at the Belle Rive tourism development which is nearby — it’s expected for the fall.

Choice left Haiti a few years ago, and plans for a new Hilton were scrapped because of political instability and an unreliable infrastructure. But, the United Nations is trying to bring tourists back to Haiti, and Choice apparently sees some potential.

Is a trip to Haiti a bit too adventurous for you? Before writing off the possibility, keep in mind that it isn’t as bad as you think. Haiti is probably safer than you have been led to believe.

[Photo by Choice]