Losing sleep over the pandemic? Don’t: two luxury properties on different sides of the Alps – Gstaad’s peaceful haven known as Le Grand Bellevue and Italy’s ultra-luxe Dolomite oasis, Lefay Resort & SPA, have come up with their very own Alpine wellness initiatives to help guests find the slumber of, well, their dreams.
If you’ve been wide-awake in the middle of the night for all the wrong reasons as of late, you’re far from alone. Studies indicate that the number of people suffering from insomnia has risen from one in six to one in four people across the UK in 2020. And despite how removed some of us might feel from the rest of the world at the moment, the numbers point towards a phenomenon of global proportions. It’s called ‘coronasomnia’, and it’s a trend we’re trying to put to bed for good. Luckily, the ever so pristine Alps are here to provide some relief.
Down in Swiss Gstaad, for instance, the folks at five-star Le Grand Bellevue have just announced their Summer Sleep Reset package. The three-night program has been designed to turn guests into sleeping beauties by allowing them to feel a sense of space; both externally, while taking in the majestic mountains, as well as internally, making room for head space (no, not that app, although that might help, too!). Ironically, the long road to bed actually starts right after you wake up at the hotel: an early morning lakeside intention setting session promises to help the body get back in tune with its natural circadian rhythm through exposure to sunlight and fresh mountain air – a key ingredient to all Alpine wellness retreats, if you ask us.
After a day of exploring the surroundings, guests are then invited to treat the Prada bags under their eyes to a singing bowl ceremony and Bamford’s ‘b silent’ treatment at Le Grand Spa. We’ll be honest with you: we’ve yet to experience the trance-inducing vibrations others report during sound baths, but hey, we can think of worse reasons to lie flat on the floor. If you’re still not asleep by late afternoon (easy on the caffeine, perhaps?), there’ll also be evening Yoga Nidra sessions and a number of sleep-promoting Bamford amenities on your room at night; from pillow mist to calming infusions.
But whichever activities travellers choose to participate in, we predict the luxury of having space to breathe will go a long way in adding a sense of tranquility to the experience. The thing with Alpine wellness is that it’s always revolved around escaping the noise of the world and finding oneself cocooned by panoramic mountain views, feet stood firmly in the grass (or snow, should you visit during the colder months). Thankfully, Le Grand Bellevue hasn’t slept on this, and somewhere between meditation and massages, the Summer Sleep Reset package offers plenty of opportunities to reconnect with nature and simply be.
Meanwhile, Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti in Italy’s idyllic Adamello Brenta National Park are betting on a different strategy to induce sleep: tiring travellers out – but in a good way! The design-driven hideaway, which has shaken up the hospitality scene around traditional Trentino, has curated a bouquet of experiences in collaboration with the local tourist board. From guided meditation and barefoot walking to tree-hugging and breathing activities, guests will be invited to try out just about any relaxation technique in the book (frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised to find a flock of sheep jumping a fence outside our bedroom window).
We’ve got our eyes on a refreshing three-hour morning walk through the Val di Genova alongside the resort’s in-house hiking guide and Alpine wellness expert Marco, though those feeling more adventurous could choose to climb up to San Martino hermitage, a mountainside retreat at a lofty height of 1,226m. A little birdie tells us Lefay also provides complimentary e-bikes to explore the wide valleys and fragrant forests of the surrounding National Park, but seeing physical exercise promotes healthy sleep, we’re glad to do the pedalling ourselves – so long as it’s not uphill, we’re not crazy like that!
There’s also the hotel’s much-hyped 5,000-square-metre spa, one of the largest anywhere in the Alps, boasting an offering of therapeutic experiences that’s anything but cookie-cutter. For an especially calming pre-bedtime treat, opt for a treatment combining ancient Chinese medicine with modern western techniques. These seek to stimulate energy flow to the physical mechanisms that can cause insomnia and, apparently, its tenacious little cousin, coronasomnia (and since we’re at it, the treatments are also hugely popular at sister property Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, which launched its very own five-night sleep program earlier this year).
However way you look at it, one thing seems certain. Having been somewhat of a side note to winter sports adventures in previous years, Alpine wellness is maturing. And it’s perhaps better equipped to give sleep-deprived and pandemic-tired travellers what they’re looking for. The most relaxing journeys to us always entail an element of space and easy access to pristine nature. With most holidaymakers expected to pile up like sardines in a tin on the world’s most popular beaches once travel restrictions lift, there’s arguably never been a better time to take to Europe’s most spectacular mountain range. And should all the forest bathing and breathing exercises still not help you drift into sweet slumber, make sure to take a copy of Robinson Crusoe with you. The most uneventful book in the history of literature, it always does the trick for us!