We first covered Hästens—the Swedish maker of fine, handmade beds—back in 2009 and have been fans ever since. Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to visit their headquarters in Köping multiple times to see how the mattresses are made, and since then we have garnered much respect for how they’ve prioritized maintaining the integrity of their product over scaling the business and diluting quality along the way. Hästens blends master craftsmanship and sustainability to create a truly dreamy experience and that has always been their strength. Now with The Sleep Spa stores across the US, the experience of buying one of these beds is on par with the product itself.
On a cold winter day in NYC we (CH founders, Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten) visited The Sleep Spa by Hästens at their SoHo location in NYC and were immediately transported to a calmer, warmer universe. The experience begins before setting foot in the shop via a peaceful courtesy ride to the store in a Volvo donned in the classic blue and white Hästens check pattern. Once inside the store, a specialist—in our case, Linus Adolfsson, the charming Swedish owner of The Sleep Spa—welcomes visitors. Conversation about sleep ensues and somewhere between the subject matter and Adolfsson’s dulcet voice, our heart rates slow. After removing our shoes and sliding in to down slippers (literally, pillows on your feet), the process of identifying our needs and preferences begins.
Adolfsson has been doing this for over 15 years and now can almost predict which bed is going to be the right fit for any given customer. He keeps the prediction to himself while inviting us to lie down on the first model—a 2000T with medium firmness. He explains proper pillow height and placement and encourages a little movement to help the bed learn our shapes. While we’re on the bed, he talks to us about temperature, support, alignment, firmness and a handful of other factors that influence the quality of one’s sleep—all cues to tune in to while testing each model.
The journey continues across five more beds varying between models and their firmness levels. We quickly learn that medium is our preferred firmness and that firmness selection should be mostly determined by bodyweight; this is because you want a mattress to support your body enough to let your spine be in a neutral position. A mattress that is too firm or too soft will prevent this and should be avoided. These insights are just a few of the many that Adolfsson and his “Dream Team” members impart—largely informed by a partnership with Dr Michael Breus (aka The Sleep Doctor) to provide ongoing sleep eduction.
Hästens are built on a bed of small, independently moving springs with many layers of horse hair, cotton, wool and flax which adjust in concert to the shape of your body to keep your back in alignment. If there’s too much pressure pushing back on your limbs, they can feel tingly, numb or painful and even the most subtle discomfort can cause you to toss and turn. Once the ideal firmness is found, the rest is an exercise in nuance.
The use of all-natural materials is one of the things that make sleeping on a Hästens different than other mattresses. Horse hair is pretty unique and acts like a flexible tube, allowing the hairs to absorb the water your body loses at night and then gradually release that moisture when you are not sleeping. The wool and other natural materials help ensure that your body temperature is kept as constant as possible to maintain optimal comfort while you sleep, something that foam-style mattresses cannot. Entirely handmade, each Hästens mattress benefits from a level of detail that mass-manufacturing can’t compete with.
While the entry-level Marquis offers a different experience than that of the top-of-the-line Grand Vividus (which takes four of the company’s most senior craftspeople nearly 520 hours to make) it’s still incredibly comfortable and unlike any other bed we’ve tried. We’d be remiss at this point not to share that all the work that goes in to making a Hästens bed means they are not cheap. Ranging from $8,000 to $400,000 (the latter famously owned by Drake), they’re a serious investment in a better night sleep.
Ultimately, our exploration ended where it began and the 2000T was our match—the medium firmness is complemented by just enough cushioning to feel simultaneously floaty and supported. So was this the model Adolfsson predicted for us? Yes, indeed!
The Sleep Spa by Hästens has locations in New York, Los Angeles and Greenwich, Connecticut with virtual consultations and private in-store visits available. And Linus Adolfsson is personally available via email or at +1.310.734.9686.
Hero image by Josh Rubin