Imagine a hotel dedicated to offering its guests “world-class sleep.” In the picturesque central Portuguese city of Coimbra, this concept became a reality when the Hästens Sleep Spa opened its doors this June. The Sleep Spa is a joint venture between Portugal’s Grupo O Valor Do Tempo (Value Of Time Group) and Sweden’s Hästens brand – specializing in beds, bed linen, pillows and lifestyle accessories.
“With Hästens Sleep Spa, we, together with the hotel, want to make people around the world feel how important it is to let the body get really good sleep, through good conditions and the right means. Our sleep expertise is unique, and we want everyone to experience the rarity of our beds. That is what makes this hotel concept so fantastic, and we hope that more and more people will be able to take part in it in the coming years with the hope of additional hotels,” says Jan Ryde, the Executive Chairman and Fifth Generation Owner of Hästens Bed.
The boutique hotel is located next to the UNESCO-listed library Biblioteca Joanina, and is the inspiration for its decor. Each of the fifteen unique rooms is adorned with 1,200 hand-carved and gold-plated marble book spines. The books – which took four months and 18 people to create – have been engraved with titles from both Portuguese and international authors. Among the activities offered is Bed Talks, a conversation led by sleep expert Dr Edie Perry on various topics that help educate and guide guests to the ultimate sleep experience.
The centrepiece of the hotel’s offerings is, of course, the bed, pillows and other accessories. These are the finest examples by a brand that has been the official supplier of beds and beddings to the Swedish and other royal families of the world for nearly a century.
Residents of the UAE, who wish to experience the Hästens approach to sleep, need not travel all the way to Portugal. They can instead walk into the Hästens showroom on Sk. Zayed Road to order their bespoke sleep experience.
It all begins with a “Private Sleep Consultation,” where Hästens’ team of specialists discuss with the customer their needs. A proper bed testing session is then carried out for feeling, touching, and understanding the specifics of the various options. After that, a shortlist of options is defined, from which the customer can then select a bespoke model with adapted features.
Hästens, still a family-owned business, handcraft each of their beds with the same natural materials as when the first beds were made, over 160 years ago. Every material used in the manufacture, according to the brand, has been selected to help clients get the highest quality sleep. These natural materials work together to absorb the warmth and humidity generated by the body, keeping it cool when it’s hot, and comfortably warm on cooler nights.
Hästens also claims that its beds are free of chemicals, static electricity, and “any substances that can harm one’s sleep.” As a result, clients “fall asleep quicker and enjoy deep, uninterrupted, rejuvenating sleep at the perfect temperature.”
Chief among the natural materials found in every Hästens bed is horsetail hair. These natural fibres are transformed into millions of tiny spirals, which act as micro-springs. This arrangement makes the horsetail hair fluffy, such that air can easily circulate around the body, thus transporting any excess heat and moisture away while sleeping. The ease of air circulation allows the body to better regulate the temperature around it, which in turn increases the possibility of having a deep, uninterrupted sleep.
The horsetail micro-springs are complemented by the other natural materials found in a Hästens bed. Cotton and wool contribute to an optimal sleeping climate. Flax diverts and prevents static electricity from occurring and also provides a quiet sleep environment. The slow-growing northern pine gives stability that lasts for generations.
Crafting a Hästens bed requires several special skills, including mid-stitchers, fabric-rackers, cotton-tassel tiers and horsetail-hair-rufflers, among others. Each of these specialist skills is taught in-house by the company. The horsetail hair is bedded entirely by hand, and then all the other materials are hand-layered by the specialist craftsmen.
There are five different workstations where different elements of the mattress are worked on. All of the stitching on a Hästens bed is also done by hand. The only machines used in the production process, we are told, are to lift and move the beds.
Hästens claims that its beds are “crafted with environmental awareness and meet the most stringent requirements.” This proviso applies to both when the bed is made and when it is no longer needed. “All the natural materials used in a Hästens bed are naturally biodegradable,” and thus, “can be recycled, upcycled, or safely returned to nature’s own natural cycle.”
Given that each bed is custom made to a customer’s specific requirements, it generally takes Hästens about 10 to 12 weeks to get the bespoke bed delivered and installed at a customer’s residence. The air-delivery option shortens the lead-time by about 4 to 5 weeks. Certain bed configurations, such as those permanently available in the factory, can also be supplied faster. However, the most premium lines, such as the Vividus and Grand Vividus, have a waiting list, and delivery can take up to 5 to 6 months.
Hästens has come a long way since its early days as a court-appointed Master saddle-maker. Today, it is a top brand in the manufacturing of beds and bedding accessories by combining traditional know-how with the latest science to manufacture beds that are truly exceptional.