The best sleep retreats for rest and rejuvenation
Detox your nightly routine, beat insomnia and learn how to rest effectively at the best sleep retreats in London, the UK and beyond…
We've never been so fixated on a good night's sleep.
Medical experts now vigorously advocate the benefits of sleep to our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. According to new government guidelines on ‘sleep hygiene’, this means a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted core sleep in each 24.
This is not exactly news. It has long been known that the many restorative powers of sleep include cellular growth and repair, cardiovascular health, hormonal balance, blood sugar balance, fertility and the immune system.
But busy lives, racing thoughts, blue light and insomnia can make getting enough sleep feel impossible.
Thanks to the new trend for sleep retreats, we can detox night time routines and re-learn the art of restful sleep. The combination of luxurious pampering, specialist sleep experts and therapies on offer should ensure that even the most die-hard insomniacs come away feeling rejuvenated.
Culture Whisper rounds up the best sleep retreats in London and beyond.
In the bustling heart of London’s Piccadilly lies an urban hideout that describes itself as an oasis of calm. Zedwell, which opened its doors in mid December 2019, is where you ‘check in to check out’. The hotel recognises the importance of sleep to harmonise mind, body and spirit, and has created a lifestyle concept designed to embrace this theme.
The hotel offers single, double and family rooms (‘cocoons’), as well as cocoons that accommodate up to eight people. The cocoons are windowless and technology free to avoid distractions from the outside world. Fresh, purified air is pumped into your cocoon via air conditioning to assist optimum breathing patterns. The rooms’ natural oak furnishings, the luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets, and the soft lighting all contribute to the feeling of stillness and peace. Bathrooms boast powerful walk-in rain showers and are equipped with delicious complimentary Malin & Goetz toiletries.
In keeping with the hotel’s ethos of relaxation, Zedwell features a fitness studio, which offers yoga, Pilates and meditation classes from 6am. Opening in spring 2020 is an on-site restaurant that will serve nourishing healthy fare, while summer sees the unveiling of a spectacular rooftop bar boasting uninterrupted views over London.
Look out for the launch of new Zedwell hotels in Tottenham Court Road, Greenwich and Marble Arch later this year.
Vibe: Restful cocoon of comfort
Price: £130 for a double room
Set in beautiful countryside, just minutes from the historic city of Bath, Lucknam Park Hotel offers five-star luxury with a home-from-home atmosphere. The glorious historic house – parts of which date back to the 12th century – is found at the end of a mile-long drive through acres of rolling fields.
Once inside, enjoy unspoilt elegant interiors and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Each of the 43 bedrooms is individually styled, but all harmoniously blend antiques with contemporary touches.
In spring 2020 Lucknam Park hosts a two-night Sleep Retreat, which is specifically dedicated to retraining your brain to sleep well. It aims to rebalance your energy and focus the mind on fundamental health priorities, such as relaxation, meditation, nutritious food and, most importantly, restful sleep.
During your stay, you will enjoy a structured schedule of activities, including holistic therapies, workshops and yoga classes, hypnotherapy, a visit to the Equestrian Centre (connecting with equine energy can be a very restorative and healing experience), sleep meditation and sound healing, all of which promise to promote a good night’s sleep.
Fiona Lamb, a highly qualified hypnotherapist specialising in anxiety and insomnia, and Tallulah Rendall, a Qi Gong teacher and sound therapist, are on hand throughout the retreat to guide you with their expert knowledge of ‘sleep healing’.
Vibe: elegant but home from home comfort.
Price: £462 per person per night (meals included) for the two-night sleep retreat.
The three- and five-night silent retreats at Sharpham House in Devon offer individuals the chance to reconnect with Mother Earth as well as with their inner self. Although not specifically billed as sleep retreats – first-time participants in silent meditation may, in fact, find the practice quite mentally stimulating – they aim to provide plenty of quiet time, flexible activity time and the stillness necessary for self-reflection.
The days are split into mindful movement periods, guided or self-meditation periods, mealtimes and relaxing personal time, helping you to rid yourself of the daily strains that can lead to anxiety and insomnia.
It’s worth noting that regular meditation can improve your level of relaxation and help control the autonomic nervous system. This in turn positively impacts the quality of your sleep. It can also increase melatonin production (which can help induce drowsiness), increase serotonin levels, reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure.
Although predominantly undertaken silently, the retreats do embrace social communication at certain times in the day. This ensures guests can feel a sense of support, company and collaboration.
Vibe: Silent, meditative, contemplative.
Price: From £285 for three nights, shared room, full board.
Based in the heart of Spitalfields, the Zed Rooms comprise three individually and quirkily designed apartments. The focus is on wellbeing and undisturbed sleep, so unsurprisingly each apartment is tailored to create a haven of peace and quiet.
Here the bedrooms are themed. In one apartment, you’ll find the ‘Woom Room’ where the bed is enclosed in a wooden structure that resembles the inside of a caterpillar; and the ‘Loom Room’, boasting a bed with a looped linen canopy overhanging it. Crucially though, both beds are sumptuous and cosy. Prepare to sink into the Simba mattresses swaddled in Simba bedding. Lavender scent is wafted through all the apartments.
The living space comes stacked with magazines (to help relaxation), yoga mats (to further encourage your feeling of zen), and recipe cards (to seduce you into cooking nutritious fare in your newfound haven of peace). The apartment is controlled by Google Home, which dutifully carries out your every wish and command: dimming the lights, adjusting the heating, arranging the mood music you may require. The bathroom is home to a rainfall shower and is equipped with detox products courtesy of Neom. Need we say more?
Vibe: tranquillity in the buzz of the East End.
Price: From £220 per night.
Lisnavagh is a truly exquisite country house, surrounded by sumptuous private gardens and 600 acres of private farmland and woods, just an hour or so from Dublin. As such, the venue offers the perfect environment for restorative retreats.
A two-night Yoga and Sleep retreat is scheduled to run at Lisnavagh in autumn 2020 (9-11 October, then 4-6 December) and is designed as a ‘slowing down, drawing in and restorative’ experience.
During the course of the weekend, Pamela Butler, a yoga instructor of 20 years, will guide you through yoga practice, moving with awareness and breathing mindfully, to synchronise the harmony of mind, body and spirit. There will also be meditation sessions, long walks in the countryside, as well as time set aside for siestas. To add to the heart-warming ambience roaring fires crackle in the house’s dining room and library, allowing you valuable ‘down time’ should you want it. Settle in with a good book on the welcoming library sofas, and we bet you’ll never want to leave.
Nutritious vegan and vegetarian lunch and dinner meals are presented with flair. During the retreat you’ll have your own comfy bedroom with ensuite bathroom, giving you the best possible chance of a really good night’s sleep.
Vibe: Tranquil, home-from-home comfort.
Price: 395- 520€ for single occupancy.
If you really can’t afford the time or expense of a dedicated sleep retreat, head to Pop & Rest, the ‘Nap pods’ based right next to Old Street tube, and also in Holborn.
The pods are small private spaces for you to find peace and solitude. Walk into the building and you’ll be greeted with forest scenery, plants, fresh aromas and piped music that will help you to drift off into total relaxation. The four pods are designed for your comfort. Once inside, you can meditate, simply rest or catch precious minutes or hours of sleep to experience a turbo daytime recharge.
Nap pods are available to book for periods of 30 minutes (£8) up to a maximum daytime session of four hours.
For those who have a little more time on their hands to dedicate to their quest of a good night’s sleep, look no further than the Six Senses Hotels Worldwide. The luxury hotel chain has recently rolled out a ‘Sleep with Six Senses’ programme for its guests. The hotels are staffed with Sleep Ambassadors to attend to your every need. You will be given a personalised health and sleep questionnaire, sleep apps and trackers, a ‘worry journal’ to be interpreted by a sleep expert, a turn-down service for your super-luxe bed, and an attentive member of staff to run an aromatic warm bath for you before you turn in for the night.
The Six Senses Bhutan offers a world-class relaxation and sleep retreat in spectacular hilltop scenery. The yoga sleep packages of between three and 10 days offer a blissful mix of Ayurvedic treatments, yoga nidra, and sound-bowl meditation to engender a deep state of relaxation, allowing the mind and body to rejuvenate to promote deep and restorative sleep. Enjoy!
Vibe: delectable, sophisticated indulgence.
Price: £650 for three-night/day Yoga and Sleep package, excluding hotel room.
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