Why New York’s Latest Wellness Concept Was Built on Top of a Nightclub

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When New York’s 11 Howard hotel opened last year, it introduced some very unique hospitality concepts to the city: a shared workspace and free happy hour that’s open to both guests and non-guests in the laid-back Library lobby, a curated minibar from the popular Thrive Market, and lots of “conscious partnerships” that give back to nonprofits and businesses in the community. The opening also gave life to the blond, a bar-lounge-nightclub that’s draped in velvet and wood and pretty much always packed.

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The space isn’t open that late, but it is super popular, which created the tiniest bit of noise issues for guests staying directly above it on the third floor. The rooms weren’t unusable, but they just weren’t the best place to lay your head if you wanted to go to bed early.

The hotel’s genius idea: Convert a few of the rooms on the third floor (i.e. no more staying/sleeping there) into private HigherDOSE sauna rooms—”wellness sanctuaries” that use infrared light therapy to help relax, recharge and detox. (Coincidentally, the hotel was also exploring adding a wellness component to the hotel at the same time.) Beyond your normal steam, the rooms also incorporate music and chakra light therapy; private bathrooms and showers, refreshing face and body mists and fresh-pressed juices are also available. 

Anis Khoury, the hotel’s general manager, says the partnership was kind of a natural fit because 11 Howard was looking to enhance its service offerings. “With attention to wellness continuously on the rise, we wanted to make sure our guests continue to have the BEST options in NYC from nightlife to dining, and now, wellness. It’s a great addition to the overall energy in the hotel, which is enjoyed by locals, as well as visitors from out of town.”

It’s incredibly relaxing and you definitely sweat (HigherDOSE founders Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps claim one session is seven times more detoxifying than a traditional sauna), but the treatment takes the typical steam room to the next level, as the women say it “encourages anti-aging effects on the skin, increases natural production of dopamine, and can be used for pain management. Clients experience improved skin, circulation and higher serotonin levels, which increase the body’s natural production of happiness inducing chemicals.” They also say this isn’t something that makes you feel tired, but more energized and relaxed, and recommend it for alleviating specific discomforts like jet-lag. 

Khoury also sees the offering as something that could become a pre-night out activity or a post-dinner spot, or simply a quick break from the workday. “We anticipate that a lot of people conducting meetings or working all day in our Library public space, could use a detox and take a midday break with a session.”

A one-hour session at the hotel starts at $85, and $15 for each addition person. Additional HigherDOSE locations are located in New York and the Hamptons area with new locations expected soon.

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