I hope you’ll enjoy this next post, because it concerns something we’re all deeply passionate about and sometimes even obsessed with [especially if you’re like me.]
I’m talking about sleep.
If I were to describe my sleep as a physical thing, then imagine this: an exquisite other worldly presence – ephemeral, wispy, fragile and elusive – something that seems, always, to be just an inch beyond grasp.
There’s little I’ve not done to keep this fleeting visitor by my bedside.
I wear an eye mask – not just any eye mask, but a special adjustable Velcro kind – I am also very particular about my mattress, and I have two pillows which I’ve marked with crosses so that my wife’s pillow doesn’t get mixed up with them.
So you can imagine how traumatising it is, when on my business travels I have to change beds. I am, beyond doubt, a housekeeper’s nightmare.
In fact, I think everyone at ITC Hotels is quite aware of my somnial predicament. So much, that whenever I’m visiting one of our properties I’m quite used to the kindly enquiries of my staff on how I slept during the night.
Once, however, to my surprise the GM of one of our hotels said to me with something akin to unshakeable confidence “Mr. Anand you must have slept very well.”
Turns out, he’d slept in my room the night before and had "the loveliest, deepest sleep."
Unfortunately, despite his initiative, an enterprising housekeeper had decided to install an alarm clock by the bedside after his test run. The story of my ordeal with that clock is for another time but I did appreciate his effort at trying to go that extra mile to ensure I slept well.
This is exactly what we are about, at ITC Hotels. We understand what we are here for, and we do our best trying to bring it to you.
If one were to trace the history of hoteliering world over, one would arrive at the ubiquitous phenomenon of inn-keeping, in its oldest form. People travelled by horse from destination to destination and they stayed at inns by night to rest their tired limbs and horses. Essentially, they bought sleep.
Little has changed for today’s business traveller. In a different city and a different environment from morning until night, they basically need the hotel just to catch up on their sleep. You can offer the finest services and the greatest cuisines housed in the most stunning architecture, but if you haven’t slept well, the purpose of your visit is completely defeated.
In fact, many hotels have spoken about the bed that they’ve introduced. But do we sleep by bed alone?
I remember my stay at one such hotel, overseas, that had advertised its bed in glowing terms. But everything else about it was wrong. The air conditioning was noisy, there was light coming in from the window and the carpets were musty.
At ITC Hotels, we believe in the science of sleep, because sleep has a larger dimension, wherein all the senses come into play.
The sense of touch. The quality of the bed linen, the thread-count of the sheets, the quality of the bath linen, the feel of the carpet all contribute to how soothed you feel, once you’re in your room.
The sense of sound. We measure the decibel levels that come from the air conditioning. We check how well insulated the windows are. We even have a minimal prescribed sound level against which we check the decibel levels at the centre of the bed during peak traffic time, midnight and noon.
The sense of smell. Is there an aroma in the room? Good aromas are known to induce sleep, whereas a bad odour can dissuade sleep.
The sense of light – the amount of light that comes into the room – do the curtains and shutters allow you to block out every ray when you want?
Apart from these are the other elements that go into preparing for sleep – for instance a good shower where the pressure and temperature of the hot water are just right.
We have a sleep index which we monitor closely. We make it a point to ask our guests in the guest comment form if they slept well. We have a system to track reasons why people feel they didn’t sleep well.
The specially designed WelcomSlumber kit that you will find in our hotels, is the result of extensive research wherein apart from an eye mask and ear plugs we provide our guests with a selection of aroma-therapy products. We are working on a chocolate now, which induces sleep with carefully paired natural ingredients that are known to have a soothing effect on the system, gently. We have also developed something called a Dreamkerchief that relaxes you instantly, once you wipe your face with it.
You can even ask for a special foot massage ritual before you go to bed, in your room.
At ITC Hotels, we endeavour in every way to make sure that people sleep well, because we’re very aware that eventually, even with the most luxurious of hotels, as hoteliers our prime commitment is to your sleep.
Until my next post, thank you, dear reader, for allowing me to express the warmth of ITC Hotels.