In search of slumber

Words by:
Caroline Bingham
Featured in:
September 2018

Caroline Bingham and guest visited Eden Hall, where sleep inducing treatments and a meditation class offered new insights into de-stressing.
The award-winning day spa, located just off the A46 a few minutes south of Newark, has continued to win accolades from guests and peers; from Best Spa in the Food and Hospitality Awards for 2018 to a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for the seventh year running.

Eden Hall is an impressive Gothic mansion set within extensive landscaped lawns and gardens. Inside, the Victorian building has been stylishly renovated adding modern luxury while maintaining many of the original architectural features of the building. We were warmly welcomed into the reception and sipped a glass of homemade lemonade while we completed the necessary health questionnaires and received our locker keys. Leave your phone in the locker was the polite request and we were happy to oblige.

The rhythm of the day is really set by the times of treatments and lunch, which are outlined on your schedule. We were both definitely looking to indulge and wind down after a very intense work period, so the timings worked perfectly for us, with a treatment mid-morning and a class nearer the end of the day. We headed for the open roof terrace next to the conservatory and had coffee and breakfast. The food was very good – so our compliments to the kitchen. While the day was cooler, it was certainly warm enough to sit or relax outside on one of the many chairs and loungers. There are also plenty of throws if you need to grab one.

We are not ones to rush off to the gym but Eden Hall is a large spa which means there are plenty of facilities to enjoy, so we headed for the tropical mist showers, scented thermal rooms, swimming pool, jet pools and hot tubs, moving from one zone to another. I love to swim in the open air, so ducking through the curtain to the outside section of the pool was a treat. Plenty of people were already in the hot tubs on the decking, where Eden Hall maintains a constant cosseting feel and calmness.

Relaxation does wonders for anyone’s wellbeing and our chat and catch-up was a good first therapy – definitely a well-deserved reconnect. Our treatments were both by Spa Find Organiks and focused on sleep inducement. Sleep can be one of the most refreshing but also most elusive necessities of life.

We checked into the therapy reception and Tracey, my therapist, introduced herself. To be literally in the hands of an experienced therapist is very reassuring and Tracey quickly made me feel at ease. The treatment is ideal for people who suffer with sleep problems, insomnia, stress and ageing skin. I can tick a few of those boxes.

She explained that during the treatment Spa Find Organiks’ lavender infused Super 6 serum would be used for a sensory facial formulated to relax mind and body. The aim is to help improve the length and quality of your sleep. The combined effects of inhalation, massage, pressure points and the nourishing facial helps your mind and body wind down.

The therapy bed was comfortably warm and subdued lighting added to the tranquillity of the room. Tracey ran through the stages of the treatment, which began with some controlled breathing and I was happy to go with the flow. The massage certainly located my tense back and shoulders which were alleviated with a combination of kneads and stretches to my neck and arms. Pressure was frequently applied to points on my arms, head and neck and the oil warmed in Tracey’s hands gave an intense burst of lavender for me to breathe in. My sinuses, which can cause me headaches, would later feel much clearer. With each application of the oil, Tracey would remove the residue with warm salt infused mitts in sweeping motions. Time did stand still and I did nod off for sure at one point. Tracey gave me plenty of time to focus back to the present before I stood upright again. I went through to the therapy lounge to hear about my companion’s experience.

This was a whole body massage which used hot Himalayan rock salts to remineralise, detoxify and balance the skin. The pink rocks are some of the most pure forms of salt and their unique qualities are ideal to exfoliate and sooth the body. After each area of the body had been massaged, warm soaked mitts were used to deep cleanse, then warm towels were used to ensure a lasting, comforting effect. The rocks themselves were used like hot stones for massaging the muscles in legs, arms and back. My companion hadn’t fallen asleep during the therapy but she loved the light touch of Grace, her therapist, and noted how deeply relaxing the experience had been. While we were comparing notes she remarked that since she had left the treatment room and lay down, now a good ten minutes later she did very much want to sleep. It was lunchtime so I began to think she may nod off during our meal.

The three-course lunch at Eden Hall is one of the highlights of the day. We only had watermelon from the buffet but many other guests were helping themselves to the salad bar and vegetables. Our choices from the menu were a delicious warm, spicy chicken Caesar salad, followed by pan fried salmon, samphire and sautéed new potatoes for me and a chicken cassoulet for my guest. For dessert we enjoyed a deconstructed ginger and rhubarb cheesecake and a vanilla panna cotta with salted caramel popcorn. I washed mine down with a glass of the house white wine. We were now both very drowsy; time to visit an area of the spa which I had not been to before. The Slumber Room is located on the ground floor close to the gym and exercise studio, so ideal for our 4.30pm class there later.

The room was much more expansive than I had thought, with a choice of single couches, double sleep mattresses and in the far corner suspended wicker pods for one, with comfy cushions and throws. We climbed into our cocoons and although many people were only quietly reading, were soon both asleep. An hour and a half later we both agreed that this refreshing nap had certainly been induced by a combination of the treatment, an excellent lunch and the overall relaxed atmosphere of the spa.

I have not been in a meditation class before but certainly knew that this would not tell me everything about this spiritual and contemplative technique. The instructor began by asking us to pick a mantra word. She had suggestions on cards but you could pick your own as long as it resonated with you. I chose ‘harmony’ but my advice would be to pick a one syllable word which becomes just a noise in your head more quickly. As novices we brought our mats against the walls to support our backs and sat on foam ‘rocks’ to elevate our hips. Finding a comfortable cross-legged position was important but legs could be extended now or further into the meditation which I later needed to do.

I could absorb the quietness of the room and repeat the mantra to drive away external distractions; an itching nose, conversation outside; the ache in the side of my foot, but reaching a higher level of consciousness was definitely beyond me. This is a discipline that I would like to understand more and the technique does have to be learnt and practised so meditation is certainly something I would try again. The time flew, so suspension of the moment was achieved somewhere for me, which certainly clears your mind.

We both agreed that we had certainly benefitted from our day. When you feel that it is a wrench to go back to reality and leave the confines of the spa, the day has given you an experience you have valued. For me it was new treatments and experiences which shed a light on how important it is to take time out to refocus on yourself.

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