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Shhh. You needn’t stay at an ashram or attend a silent retreat to experience the sweet sound of silence that, increasingly, seems to evade us in everyday life. “Hotels, spas and wellness resorts are just beginning to answer the desperate cry for silence,” says Beth McGroarty, Director of Research and PR at the Global Wellness Institute. “The endless media, digital and social media ‘noise’ has given rise to sharp new desires: for actual silence, quiet contemplation, to leave the yammering world totally behind.”

From “silent hours” to silent meals, hotels are finding unique ways to encourage guests to unplug from the 24-7 noise of the world—if only for an hour or two—and embrace the literal and digital silence essential to our health.

In fact, a recent Duke University study found that daily silence promotes significant cell development in the part of the brain responsible for memory. This can combat the “digital dementia” (short-term memory loss) on the rise in our culture of technology dependence. (We’re looking at you, smartphone.)

Embracing silence is also an opportunity to reset and recharge amidst the rush that typically comes with traveling, fostering a state of mind that actually enhances the overall travel experience.

So next time a silent-themed amenity or “activity” presents itself while you’re on the road for work or play, give it a try—especially if it scares you—and approach it in the spirit of exploration intrinsic to travel. Here are some ways hotels are pioneering the trend.

RELATED: The world’s coolest eco lodges you can book now

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Photo courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Paris

Silent spas

Spas have always been sanctuaries of calm and quiet, but Mandarin Oriental hotels take it a step further by hosting a “Silent Night” spa retreat each December. During this time, its spas around the world feature no music, no talking and silent therapists. To participate, book a spa appointment at properties such as Mandarin Oriental MiamiMandarin Oriental Las Vegas or Mandarin Oriental Paris for Dec. 12, 2017.

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Photo courtesy of L’Auberge de Sedona

Quiet massages

Massages inherently inspire a special silence—perhaps even a deep sleep—but a growing number of spas are emphasizing the silence aspect upfront. (In other words, no chatty masseuses.) L’Auberge de Sedona offers a “Quiet Mind” massage, which is specifically designed to turn off the thinking brain in order to sink into a blissful state of nothingness in the now. Guests learn simple breathing techniques to help calm the mind, then a therapist incorporates flower essences of geranium, bird of paradise and passion flower to encourage the letting go of distraction while administering a deeply relaxing massage.

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Photo courtesy of the Lodge at Woodloch

Sensory deprivation tanks

Turn off the world while floating in complete silence and darkness. The spa at The Lodge of Woodloch in rural Pennsylvania offers a “Float Therapy” experience on the menu. You’ll be cocooned in a soundproof pod, buoyant in a warm bath of Epsom salt, which is therapeutic and detoxifying. You can opt for full sensory deprivation (darkness, no sound) or customize the experience for the senses (color options, musical selections). With modern-day external distractions removed, you’re better positioned to close the eyes, breathe and be still. While this might not be ideal for the claustrophobic, those who’ve done it say they emerge feeling as though they’ve returned from a long, relaxing vacation.

 

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Photo courtesy of Emerito

Silent meals

Savor your food in silence. If you stay at Le Monastère des Augustines, a wellness resort in Quebec, you’ll enjoy breakfast in contemplative silence. Spa resort Rancho La Puerta in Mexico hosts a weekly “Silent Dinner.” Meanwhile, at Emerito, a “digital detox” hermitage in Italy (where there is no Wi-Fi or phone signal), silent meals are offered daily.

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The Silent Beach at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay

Silent beaches

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay in Turkey features an adults-only Silent Beach, where cell phones are banned and pure silence is mandatory for all beach-goers. Think of this as the exact opposite of Panama Beach at spring break.

 ALSO: Silence is golden but so are great travel rewards—join Orbitz Rewards today!

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Photo courtesy of Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago

Guided meditation

Hotels are making meditation more accessible than ever. Park Hyatt New York partners with MDNFL, a renowned meditation studio, to offer private meditation sessions with instructors in the privacy of your room. Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago offers free monthly morning meditation classes in its rooftop lounge, fostering a supportive environment where business and leisure travelers alike can sink into silence, and tap new potential, before a busy day.

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Photo courtesy of The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being at The Red Rock Casino Resort

Gong baths

The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being at Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas offers a regular Full Moon Gong Meditation, otherwise known as a gong bath. A gong bath is a meditation where you’re lying on your back, usually supported by pillows, “bathing” in the vibrations of gongs. While the rhythmic striking of gongs may not be “silent” in the traditional sense, the vibrational frequencies foster a stillness of body and mind.

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The Hotel Regina, Paris

Silent hotel rooms

The Hotel Regina in Paris, a 5-star hotel close to the Louvre, and the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre in the Netherlands, are the most recent recipients of the “Quiet Hotel Award” by Quiet Room, a foundation working to set standards in hotel room sound insulation. It’s not always easy to find silence in your hotel room—think hallway noise, street traffic, hearing conversations in the adjacent rooms—but these two properties get gold stars for shielding you from audible annoyances.

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Photo courtesy of the Alpina Gstaad

The “no-talking” bracelet

The Alpina Gstaad, in the heart of the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, offers guests a “silent bracelet” to wear. It alerts staff and other hotel guests that you are practicing contemplative silence while on property.

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One Square Inch of Silence | Photo courtesy of Evergreen Escapes

The world’s “most silent” place

Base yourself near Washington’s Olympic National Park, at a peaceful B&B such as Domaine Madeleine, for access to the quietest place in North America. One Square Inch of Silence, which resides in the Hoh Rainforest, is a silent sanctuary founded by audio ecologist Gordon Hempton and just one of a few remaining natural spots on the planet completely free from human noise pollution (including airplane traffic). Make the hike on your own, or book a private tour with Hempton through outfitter Evergreen Escapes for an full-day journey and immersion.

 Pura Ulun Danu in Bali

An entire island goes silent

To experience a true day of silence, plan to be on Bali for Nyepi Day, when complete silence is practiced by locals and visitors alike, from sunrise to sundown. A Hindu holiday, it’s respected by all on the island, including the hotels and resorts. The island effectively shuts down, to promote contemplation: no traveling, watching TV, listening to music or working. 

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Tagged: Asia, Bali, Canada, Chicago, Chicago, Europe, Hotels, Las Vegas, Miami, Midwest, Paris

One thought on “Do not disturb: 11 silent hotels for your most restorative vacation yet”

  1. I am thrilled to see Domaine Madaliene on the Olympic Peninsula listed here. It is the most relaxing B&B we have ever been to. The property is very relaxing to walk around also. I found this gem in Sunset magazine in 1997 and we have been going there at least once a year since.

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