40 Winks: Pleasant Dreams are Key in Lorien’s Suite Dreams Package

What do you see in the ink blot? Suite Dreams at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa is designed to provoke your dreams. (Photo by Mike Salmon)

By Mike Salmon

ALEXANDRIA,VA-Renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote that dreams are “…disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes.” At the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town, dreams are what it’s all about in their new “Suite Dreams” specialty suite that enhances dreaming. The goal is to uncover the intersections and variances of the human experience through an interactive experience surrounding sleeping, dreaming, and nightly or morning rituals. Naturally, this all plays off the hotel’s thought-provoking, dreamy décor.

“Everything has been thought out,” said Stephane Vogel, the Lorien General Manager. “There is a lot of sense of discovery, [it] takes the guest on a journey.”

Suite Dreams kicked off on June 1 as part of Kimpton’s “Stay Human Project,” and will continue through August 31, 2019, for $259 per night plus tax. The project is intended to reflect Kimpton’s belief that heartfelt human connections make peoples’ lives better and that connections exist between all people.

The stay includes a two-room suite with coffee service, a living room, separate bedroom with a huge shower, and a deck overlooking King Street and Old Town. The bed has six different types of pillows, and the glass-enclosed shower features rain storm fixtures, and a tiled seat in a space that is the size of a large walk-in closet.

Remember your dreams and jot them down in the sleep log at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa. (Photo by Mike Salmon)

Getting to Zzzzz…

This comfortable, dream-provoking atmosphere is also in tune with younger generations, as reflected in the neon sign above the couch, complete with a hashtag reading “#StayHumanProject.” It not only entices residents to chill out, but also promotes the use of the hashtag when sharing the experience on social media. There’s even a selfie station with a special camera and a discreet photo drop box. The hope is that guests will get up, smell the coffee aroma and snap a selfie they can print and put into a box for others to see in the future.

Early morning snapshots may not be for everyone, but with the selfie generation, “We recognize this is the new way,” said Vogel.

Although there is a wired-in aspect to the Suite Dreams experience with the hashtags and selfie camera, the Lorien does recognize the need for a deep sleep to dream, and the cellphone is sometimes frowned upon during this time. On their “Power Down Checklist,” they recommend hanging up the cellphone at least an hour before bedtime to allow for rapid eye movement sleep and a more natural circadian rhythms. They list six steps to deep sleep, which can lead to “lucid sleeping.”

According to Kelly Bulkeley, Ph.D., a psychologist of religion specializing in dream research, there is a dream scale called “Levels of Lucidity” going from 1 to 10, to record dreams. Experiencing a healthy sleep can lead to training the mind to be a source of creativity and innovation.

Last fall, Bulkeley authored “Healthier Sleep: A Path to Lucid Dreaming.” The better you sleep, the more fully your mind can enter into this natural mode of enhanced mental creativity, Bulkeley said.

Suite Dreams is a perfect spot to enter this stage of sleep.

“Once you go through the journey, you get it,” said Vogel.

How do you power down? (Photo by Mike Salmon)

How Was It?

Did you sleep well? The room also includes a guest book, where you can jot down last night’s dream.

While You’re Up…

What do you see? There are two pieces of art in the suite that are ink blots, reminiscent of the Rorschach Ink Blot test, another early projective psychology tool to provoke thought.

Although Kimpton represents a larger hotel group, the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa is trying to keep things in Old Town to be part of the community and support the local economy. The books on the table in the living room are from Old Town Books a few blocks away, and the coffee service is from Swing’s Coffee in Del Ray. Nourish + Refine supplies the oils and lotions, while Penny Post does all the paper products including the non-aggressive do not disturb door hanging the reads “Nap Time is My Happy Hour.”

There is also a sweets menu attuned to dreaming with snacks to enhance pleasant, vivid, dreamless, meaningful, or exciting dreams, the menu says. The chef will also whip up a sweet surprise bite inspired by your sleep ideal.

The Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa is located at 1600 King Street in Old Town.