Dozy dozen: 12 of the best spots to get 40 winks in Ireland and overseas

Sleep tourism is booming, as the pressures of modern life press in on us. How far are you willing to go for sweet oblivion?

Some travel to lose themselves, some to find themselves, but increasing numbers of people are also travelling in the hope of a decent night’s sleep. With increased levels of busyness, burnout and all those other miserable trappings of modern life, sleep tourism is trending, and hotels in Ireland and around the world are leaning into (or should that be lying down on) the business of sleep. And it is big business: data analysis experts Statista estimate the global sleep industry – that’s everything from apps to eye masks, meditation to medication – to be worth $585 billion (almost €548 billion) in 2024.

You could argue that, with figures like that, it makes financial sense to persuade people they’re sleep-deprived, but it’s also a question of life changes and life stages. There may be times when the last thing you need from your hotel bed is eight unbroken hours and, at the hostel and budget end of things, you’re really just looking for somewhere safe to dump your bags and catch the odd quick nap. But at the other end of the market, dedicated teams of experts are going beyond pillow sprays (imagine if they actually worked) and are putting their all into giving you full night-time wipeout. So what is on offer, and how far are you willing to go for oblivion?

Ireland: Six of the best for 40 winks at home

There’s nothing worse than booking a lovely mini break and then tossing and turning all night, fighting with the light switches and tipping over your glass of water in the small hours. Shouldn’t be an issue with these lovely spots.

Lyrath Estate

In Kilkenny, Lyrath’s Nama-stay includes a pillow menu, delivered by a sleep concierge, an eye mask and the now almost ubiquitous pillow spray. The cool part is the in-room QR code, which links you to a pre-bedtime sleep exercise from Rachel and Hannah Healy of YogaMara, including mindfulness and breathwork to help to wind you down. That and the lovely sylvan surroundings and super-comfy beds of course. From €302 per room B&B.

The Shelbourne

The Ground Sleep Ritual at the Shelbourne Spa was designed using Peigín Crowley’s organic Ground range. A massage with jasmine and geranium oils, together with breathwork is available as a 60- or 90-minute experience, from €165. Combine with dinner and an overnight from €850, with the Fall in Love with Sleep package. Crowley herself recommends a hot bath before bed, a “thermal dump” that she says helps regulate the body’s temperature leading to a deeper sleep.

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle in Co Clare was voted TripAdvisor World’s Best Hotel for Sleep in 2023. It has very comfy beds, all the tranquillity of a rural castle retreat, and turndown goodies that rotate between Dr Barbara Sturm Good Night Supplements and Herbal Infusions, eye masks and chocolates, plus a card with a nice verse to inspire sweet dreams. Take a spa treatment and enjoy a guided meditation courtesy of the O’Neill Sisters in the Whisper Room afterwards. B&B from €780 per room.


This charming east Cork country house is fit for a king: it was the chosen sleepover spot for Charles and Camilla in 2018, when he was “simply” the Prince of Wales. After their stay, the future queen of England sent an email – or at least her people did – asking owners Jenny and Justin Green where their mattress had come from, such had been the quality of her night’s rest. “King Koil,” replied Jenny, who had obviously refrained from slipping a pea underneath. History does not relate whether the Co Kildare mattresses are now supporting the monarchy on a nightly basis, but you can check them out yourself from €300 B&B per room.

Fota Island Resort

Another lovely Co Cork spot. Fota Island has come up with a cleverly pitched solo stay, including an in-room Voya bath, prepared for you by the resort’s very own bath butler. Who ever imagined there could be such a role? Said butler will offer you a body scrub (self-administered), a face mask, and a choice between a Lazy Days Seaweed Bath and an Organic Warm Spiced Mud Bath. Soak for 45 minutes, and sip a Voya herbal tea. One night’s solo stay including dinner and breakfast from €234, Sundays to Thursdays.

No 1 Pery Square

Also getting in to the solo stay thing is No 1 Pery Square in Limerick City. It does make sense – after all, perhaps the best recipe for a good sleep is the lack of someone snoring on the pillow beside you. The Headspace Escape from €299 gets you an overnight, a herbal cocktail, €25 towards dinner, an hour-long spa treatment, thermal suite time, and an in-bedroom bath with lavender and rosemary salts.

Around the world: six more further afield

Throwing jet lag into the insomniac mix doesn’t necessarily seem sensible, but these places have gone all out for good sleep systems.

Park Hyatt New York

According to trend reports, smart bedding is the way to go in the sleep sector, and AI mattresses are the hottest thing in sleeping deep. Sleep Suites at the Park Hyatt include Bryte Balance Smart Beds. Alongside diffusers wafting out sleep blends, masks and a small library of sleep-well books, the sexy new mattresses are claimed to help you “fight off jet lag, fall asleep more quickly, and stay asleep longer”. How do they achieve these marvels? By adjusting firmness throughout the night, and including audio and “soothing motions”. They reckon it’s so effective, there is also a Wake Assist to get you going again, and give you feedback on how you did in bed. If it does happen to achieve its goals, you can store your sleep preferences for next time. From about €1,600.

GDAS Bali Health and Wellness Resort

You get a whole Sleep Well programme at Small Luxury Hotels GDAS, where a curated five-day schedule is designed to teach you the skills to “take back control of your sleep pattern”. How do such wonders come about? Through a Balinese purification ritual, yoga, and meditation classes – what else? They will also undoubtedly suggest you cut down on caffeine, booze and screen time, but on the up side, it is in one of the most serene spots on earth. From €219 per night.

Hästens Sleep Spa

Back in the day, the banquette seats at Bewley’s of Westmoreland Street were stuffed with horsehair. So are Hästens mattresses. Horse tail hair to be precise, lest you fear horses were harmed in the process. Famous, and famously pricey (about €50,000), Hästens mattresses are a major investment, so you could almost tell yourself that shelling out from €410 for a night at the Hästens Sleep Spa hotel in Coimbra, Portugal, is money well spent in research. You can also choose linen or satin for your pillowcases, which may well spoil you for anything else in the future.

Lefay Resort & Spa

The tranquil waters of Lake Garda might do it for you by themselves, but the Lefay Resort has a five-night sleep programme, tailored to your own needs and available all year round. Mixing Chinese and western techniques, they get into all your imbalances, digestive issues and even attempt to calm your busy mind. You get assessed, and then dive into acupuncture, massages (with cool names like The Embrace of Morpheus and The Colour of Man), aroma-hydrotherapy, reflexology and a facial. Add Qi Gong, yoga, moxa (heat at acupuncture points), nutrition and personal training consultations, and special herbal tea. €3,250 per person.

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

The Maldives gets all scientific with the sleep enrichment programme at Anantara Kihavah, where you can opt for anything from five to 21 days of sleep. Kick off with an “epigenetic hair test” that will tell you all sorts of things about your wellness and what you should and shouldn’t be eating – much of which you’d probably rather not know. Then it’s into a round of yoga, meditation, breathwork, natural therapies, specially devised meals, massage, serums, a vitamin infusion, the support of a “trained sleep guru”, and cool stuff from the people at Subtle Energies. The five-day package starts at €1,010, with accommodation from €6,620 for five nights

Castle Hot Springs

Over in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Castle Hot Springs from Small Luxury Hotels has pop up Sleep Retreats, the next one being from June 6th to 9th. Led by sleep expert Dr Rebecca Robbins, you get into nature on the 1,100-acre site, and get stuck into guided sessions, strategies, meditations and activities, including yoga, morning hikes and soaking in the resort’s natural hot springs. Then tuck in for your shut-eye in a cabin or bungalow, from €1,399 per night, plus an additional $500 (€470) for the Sleep Retreat.

Book wisely for better sleep

Wherever you’re staying, small tweaks can lead to better sleep. Inveterate light sleepers know to always travel with earplugs and an eye mask. Depending on the temperature outside, turning off the heating/air-conditioning helps. Apps such as Calm have white and brown noise sleep soundtracks (think rainfall and ocean waves) that can help you tune out of night noises, but always ask when booking for a quiet room. The higher up you are, the less chance of traffic noise. End-of-corridor rooms mean less sounds of comings and goings, and if you’re offered a room beside the lifts say no, unless you like the sound of random engineering punctuating your stay.

Stopping off in London?

Knightsbridge spa (sorry Wellness Haven) the HVN has laid claim to owning the UK’s only HydroBed, where the Soothing Sleep Ritual is billed to offer “weightlessness and transcendental contentment”, open energy flow and do all manner of marvellous things to relax you to the point of slumber, before you head back out into the city traffic. £375 (about €440) for 90 minutes, or double the time for a Relaxing Full-Body Ritual that comes with a promise to help regulate your sleeping pattern.