It's the newest trend, and it's growing right here in Tampa Bay. More mothers are giving birth in hospitals that neither look nor feel like a hospital.
Forget the double rooms, shared showers, and bland food. These new moms are getting star treatment.
"I feel like I'm in a hotel suite right now," says Aleyamma Cheriyan. We talked to her after she gave birth to Joshua at St. Joseph's North in Lutz.
"You know, I don't think I can get any better treatment," she said.
New maternity suites look like a boutique hotel, but are instead hospital rooms fit for a queen.
Lindsey Schwartz gave birth to her son at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital. She upgraded to a deluxe private suite after standard rooms filled up.
"It felt like I was in my own little apartment. My own little suite and it just felt homey and it was just very comfortable," Schwartz said.
Some say Lenox Hill is the birthplace of luxury birthing as we know it, thanks to music superstar Beyonce. She welcomed her baby, Blue Ivy, into the world, in a special suite.
"They have different kinds of rooms. This is just the bedroom with the full bath and what not," explains Lindsay. "Some of the other rooms have a little living space and the main suite where Beyonce stayed has a kitchen the whole works."
Two of the newest local maternity suites here in Tampa Bay are at Florida Hospital - Wesley Chapel and Saint Joseph's North.
Shiny wood floors, fresh, fold-out furniture, and multi-functional birthing beds come standard.
Roni Huber of St. Joseph's Hospital North showed us how hospital equipment is tucked away to give the room a home-like appeal.
"The first thing you are going to notice how large the room, how pleasing to the eye," explains Roni. "We've hidden all the important emergency equipment such as oxygen and suction."
Roni also demonstrated the newest in clinical lighting. A remote control wand directs recessed lights to where the doctor needs it. Wi-Fi connects the family to the outside world, and mom's bedside request is just a text message away.
Huber says, "If the patient calls for pain medicine, the pain text message would be routed to the nursing phone. If the patient would like water or use the restroom, it would send a message to the scrub tech's telephone.
Bathrooms feature decorative tile and a spacious shower. However, it's an in-room Jacuzzi that sets apart the bathrooms at Florida Hospital - Wesley Chapel.
"This is one of patient delivery recovery rooms. It's pretty large because mom and dad are going to stay here the whole entire time," Tracy Clouser of Florida Hospital said.
Each room is computer controlled, allowing mom to watch free movies, connect to the internet, connect to family and friends.
The same systems allows patients to change the temperature, request a blanket, or even "I'd like to talk with the chaplain." That can all be done through the patient education system as well.
Family gets access to the on-site health club, complete with cardio, weights and a pool, massage therapy, and the concierge!
But as any family welcomes baby into the world, stomachs grow hungry. What makes the experience complete at all three hospitals is the food.
"We are well known for our food," Huber says, "I've had patients that have actually stayed her to finish their strip steak before they go home."
Lindsey was amazed with the selection at Lenox Hill. "Filet mignon, rack of lamb, it was beyond anything I thought."
Sometimes, the luxury comes at a cost. Patients like Lindsey pay $850/day for a deluxe private room. The premium deluxe suite with a sitting area is $1400. The Park Avenue Studio with a Kitchenette runs up to $2400.
Insurance covers the patient costs at local hospitals in Tampa Bay. However, guests will be billed for taking advantage of amenities and meal service.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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