Like milk and cookies, books and bedtime have long formed one of life’s most relaxing rituals. So when Portugal’s family-owned O Valor do Tempo luxury group had the opportunity to create its first hotel near the country’s famous Joanina Library, part of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed University of Coimbra, it turned to that ritual for inspiration. But how to create a bedtime experience that does justice to a world-renowned library? By partnering with Hästens, makers of exceptional handcrafted (and celebrity-loved, ultra-high-end) mattresses and other sleep accessories and one of the world’s leading experts in a good night’s rest.
“If we were going to jump into hotels, it had to be for something truly unique. We wanted to create the ultimate place for well-being, with books addressing well-being of the mind and sleep well-being of the body,” Tiago Quaresma, managing director of O Valor do Tempo, tells Robb Report. The choice of Hästens was a natural fit for other reasons, too. “My father, who created this company 25 years ago, was a student of history, so everything we do has a connection to history,” Quaresma says. “Not only is the location in historic Coimbra perfect, but the partnership with Hästens—another family-owned company that has the shared values of tradition and history—was a fortunate marriage.”
Set to open the week of May 30, the age-16-and-older Hästens Sleep Spa “micro-hotel” has shared spaces, including dining areas and a rooftop lounge, that are all available only to in-house guests, but the focus is undeniably on the 15 bedrooms, which face either a river or a garden. “People really care about the bedroom and bathroom at a hotel, and tend to spend about 80 percent of their time in a hotel room on the bed—which is much more than they would do at home,” says Quaresma. Accordingly, each accommodation features a Hästens limited edition Herlewing mattress (which typically runs around $40,000) and a bathroom lined with 1,200 hand-carved, gold-plated marble book spines that correspond to actual titles guests can borrow. The spines—as well as the bathroom’s 110-pound, book-shaped marble counter and the lobby’s bookshelf-inspired mosaic walls—took a team of 18 craftspeople over four months to create.
In addition to the Hästens mattresses, guests will find robes and pajamas (in the brand’s signature blue-checked pattern) in the rooms, as well as its philosophies woven into the experience. Drawing upon its nearly 170 years of expertise, Hästens has trained the staff of all departments in the best practices of sleep, for example, and has also created time-specific music playlists (available on the Hastens app), a pillow menu and an in-room channel of sleep health videos developed and led by US-based chiropractor Edie Perry, who frequently serves as an expert consultant for the mattress brand.
Because of O Valor do Tempo’s relationships in Portugal, the hotel is also able to offer exclusive experiences like next-day private, after-hour visits to the Joanina—something that would normally take months to organize—and the chance to request access to rare, century-old books or historical documents. But Quaresma stresses that the main purpose of the hotel is to be a “place of tranquility and exclusivity where, from the moment you are here, you don’t worry about anything else.” To that end, all food and drink are included in the rate, and the hotel has done away with things like a cashier’s desk to reduce in-person interactions. “We don’t want to overwhelm people with too much,” he says. “We just want them to have a good rest. Anything you want, you just ask.” Rates start at approximately $599 per night.