A Dreamscape retreat at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Words Susan Lundy
Photography Lia Crowe
By their very definition, hotels are made for sleep. But as I packed for a trip to Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia, and considered the items in my toiletry bag, I realized that “sleep” and “hotels” are not always synonymous.
In fact, a quick mental survey of hotel stays brought to mind many sleep-disturbed nights; I’ve battled street noise, hallway noise, blinking lights, inconsistent thermostats, loud air conditioning, miserable pillows…the list goes on.
Hence, my travel toiletry bag contained everything from earplugs and a sleep mask to melatonin and an emergency stash of sleeping pills. Ironically, hotels can be tough places to sleep.
So it was with curiosity that I embarked on a one-night sleep retreat called Dreamscape, one of two retreats offered by the Rosewood as part of the Alchemy of Sleep program. The second is a three-day experience called Sleep Transformation and both aim to acknowledge the key role that sleep plays in wellbeing and to encourage movement, mindfulness, nutrition and tranquility.
As I set off with my adult daughter in late February to check it out, I was hopeful that the night would include a deep sleep—but I didn’t leave behind the slumber-inducing items in my toiletry bag!
Even without the offering of a sleep retreat, Vancouver’s landmark five-star Rosewood Hotel Georgia is an exquisite place to stay, with its grand interior and impeccable service. First opened in 1927 as Hotel Georgia, the historic property has played host over the years to numerous celebrities and British royalty. Following a full restoration in 2011, it became part of the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts collection—joining more than 29 one-of-a-kind luxury hotels, resorts and residences in 17 countries—and now features 156 guest accommodations, a spa, dining venues (including the exclusive Hawksworth Restaurant), meetings facilities, a heritage ballroom and spacious lounges.
According to the hotel’s managing director, Safwan Abu Risheh, the sleep retreat was developed to “honour the value of a good night’s sleep” and provide an opportunity for guests to “embrace the [post-pandemic] future with a clean and refreshed slate.”
“With a holistic approach to sleep, Rosewood’s Alchemy of Sleep stays address a variety of practices that require attention, such as nutrition, movement and mindfulness, presenting a mix of treatments and experiences, expert consultations and classes that ensure each guest finds skills to incorporate into their everyday life.”
Our stay began with pomegranate smoothies delivered to our room. Combined with a spread of fruit and nuts, the soothing drinks set us off on our journey of good health and wellbeing.
Next came a visit to Sense, A Rosewood Spa, where I sunk into a soothing Georgian Dream State massage, which incorporates a guided breathing ritual and uses the hotel’s exclusive west-coast-inspired aromatherapy blend.
En route to the spa, I gaped through a window at the lush and lavish-looking Reflections Terrace restaurant—which, unfortunately, was closed for the winter season, but, nevertheless, quickly landed on my mental to-do list. I also peeked at the hotel’s lovely-looking saltwater lap pool, accessed near the spa area.
A light meal in our room followed the spa treatment: a vegan spread heavy on avocados, rice and beets, it easily met our request for gluten- and dairy-free fare and provided the perfect segue for a trip downstairs to the street-level 1927 Lobby Lounge. A glass of wine in this stately, private oasis, combined with cosy mother-daughter conversation, and we definitely felt the wellbeing vibe.
Back in our room, the makings for the hotel’s sleep tea ritual had arrived (lovely idea, but we did question the inclusion of caffeinated English Breakfast Tea), along with a basket of skin products. In addition to the promise of skin restoration, the products inspired what I realized is a soothing pre-sleep ritual. My daughter and I stood side-by-side, scrubbing, exfoliating and applying rich creams by EviDenS and the hotel’s signature Beauty Through Balance brand, and emerging with soft, glowing, happy skin and sweet scents that followed us to bed.
A lavender cotton eye pillow by Halfmoon capped the pre-sleep preparations, and combined with the hotel’s absolutely perfect pillows and a thickly silent, dark room, my daughter and I fell into fast, deep sleeps.
The next morning, retreat activities concluded with a private restorative yoga session with Misha Steiner—a Vancouver-based yoga teacher and teachers’ coach, who contracts out her impressive yoga skills to the Rosewood and others.
By the time we checked out, we felt well-rested and energized—not to mention completely pampered.
The Rosewood’s longer, three-day Sleep Transformation retreat offers similar activities and amenities, and includes: a “night recovery and release facial to restore skin and promote blood circulation, while promoting sleep through acupressure points in the feet,” a “blissful sleep lavender body ritual” and, most intriguingly, an “in-room Canadian wilderness deep sleep forest bathing experience.”
Both Alchemy of Sleep retreats offer additional turndown amenities and products, such as a Sense of Sleep box to go, which includes a wellness book, a Canadian wilderness aromatherapy oil blend and an organic eye pillow.
Not included in that sleep box, you’ll note, are earplugs, face masks or herbal sleeping aids. Because as it turns out, this is one place where “hotel” is synonymous with “sleep.”