Post-pregnancy retreat for new parents launches in Tysons hotel

The postpartum retreat Sanu operates in The Watermark Hotel in Tysons (courtesy Sanu)

(Updated at 6 p.m. on 2/9/2024) A former staffer for state Sen. Barbara Favola has ushered a new postpartum care center into the world.

Sanu Postnatal Retreat launched on Jan. 31 at The Watermark Hotel (1825 Capital One Drive South) in Tysons, offering stays ranging from three to seven or more nights to new parents in the post-hospital period of recovery from a pregnancy.

Founder and CEO Julia Kim, who previously worked as a chief of staff for Favola and former delegate Mark Keam, spent two years working with medical advisors to develop Sanu, which was inspired by Korean sanhujoriwon centers that provide postpartum care to mothers and infants.

“Sanu is driven by a mission to normalize a culture of postpartum care by providing foundational, focused support so families can thrive during this critical period and beyond,” Kim said. “Our signature postnatal retreat is anchored by the belief that a strong foundation for parenthood begins with judgment-free, mother-centered care, because a supported mother has whole-family benefits.”

A mother of two, Kim pivoted from a 15-plus-year career in politics and policymaking after experiencing a “difficult postpartum journey,” according to a press release.

To develop Sanu, she worked with physician and postpartum wellness consultant Dr. Kristal Lau, mindfulness expert Lisa Abramson and nursing educator Dr. Esther Park.

Modeled after the traditional Korean concept of “sam-chil-il,” a 21-day resting period following a pregnancy, the retreat’s 24-hour, customized services include a nursery, feeding assistance, mental health services, parenting classes, IV therapy and postnatal massages.

According to the press release, The Watermark Hotel was chosen as Sanu’s first location for “its elevated residential-style suites” that, in some cases, have kitchenettes.

All suites feature extraordinary beds dressed in luxury linens for a well-deserved rest experience, fine bassinet linens, and luxury personal care, as well as high-tech nightlights and baby monitors. In addition, rooms are stocked with clean, high-performance diapers and wipes from Coterie and other premium baby care products. The floor also houses a tranquil parents-only lounge and a separate 24-hour nursery staffed with medically accredited caregivers.

During their stay, guests can get chef-prepared breakfasts and dinners from Wren, the Japanese restaurant in the hotel lobby, and lunches from the meal delivery service MightyMeals.

Sanu is currently open for reservations, which can be booked through its website and start at $975.

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