Mindfulness has become a catch-all for slowing down and finding oneself even in the most crowded of places, or just for finding respite from the endless stream of emails and social media updates. Whether you’re an introvert or someone who wants to enjoy a solo activity while you travel, these hotels give you a way to be solitary in a social setting.
If you seek nirvana in Las Vegas, head to Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino or Red Rock Casino Resort Spa. The off-Strip hotels offer Silent Savasana, an incredibly popular yoga series. It’s quite the sight — each class has more than 500 yogis posing at sunset around the hotels’ pools.
“We have the most stunning backyard pool areas at both Green Valley Ranch Resort and Red Rock Resort,” says Lori Nelson, vice president, corporate communications of Station Casinos, the company that owns both hotels.
“We recognized the active and loyal following among yogis, so we wanted to marry these two offerings up together, and that’s how our Silent Savasana story began.”
To participate, you’ll need to don a pair of provided headphones, through which instructor Dray Gardner leads you through the poses to the soundtrack of a curated DJ playlist. Each class aims to teach balance, discipline, focus, determination and strength of mind.
“I think Silent Savasana events have taken off due to a few factors,” says Gardner, a 10-year yogi who started the series. First and foremost is the disconnect from the outside world. “Once you put the headphones on, ‘the work-in’ begins. We focus on the inside instead of the outside. Happiness works from the inside out, not the other way around.”
Gardner also tries to show the connections between the poses and the outside world. “I relate current events to my class,” he says. “What’s going on now in the world is not ‘black vs. white’ but ‘dark vs. light.’ It’s up to us to make a difference. We have two choices: accept things as they are or accept the responsibility to change them.”
Another draw is Gardner’s encouraging affirmations, which undoubtedly help keep you going in the desert heat. “Love yourself enough to struggle, but most important, love yourself,” and “Every day, be the best version of yourself, point blank, period!” are two of the messages that he relays to students.
All ages and experience levels are welcome to attend the complimentary classes.
Evidence of The Embassy Row Hotel’s high hip factor is everywhere: the bold aquamarine décor; the Underground Playground, a hidden space for adults to play foosball, ping-pong and more amid a mural-emblazoned wall; and an Instagram guide at the check-in desk that lists the best nearby places to pose for selfies. But you’ll find the biggest clue of the Dupont Circle hotel’s trendiness on the rooftop during Friday nights.
While alfresco yoga and pool parties aren’t new concepts, Embassy Row offers those plus a unique hotel event: Silent Disco. Weather permitting, Silent Dance Society helps throw this weekly dance party on the hotel’s 10th floor.
Partiers receive wireless headphones programmed with three stations, one for each DJ who’s spinning that night. Set up on the dance floor, the DJs are illuminated in different colors, and the LED headsets glow accordingly to the one you choose.
The DJs battle it out to get you to tune in, and it’s fun to see the mostly 20- to 30-something crowd respond by lighting up in blue, red or green. You can switch stations if you see that one DJ is on a hot streak. During our visit, dancers clicked around to hear the EDM and Spanish stations, but ’90s hip-hop dominated with tracks like A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebum” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”
We expected a noiseless scene, but it was very social. Groups sat at tables chatting with their headphones pushed back so they could hear the music and the conversation simultaneously, people congregated around the bar and, of course, a bunch of them danced all night long. Once in a while, it was entertaining to remove our headphones and watch them dance intensely sans music.
The best thing is that whether you were there with friends taking over the dance floor or just relaxing on your own on a cushy poolside lounger and bopping your head to the beat, you won’t be out of place at this high-spirited bash.
On the first Wednesday of every month, Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Sorrento’s handsome mahogany-lined Fireside Room transforms into a library reading area. About 75 people pile into the Seattle hotel’s octagon-shaped room, sitting in front of the fire, on the floor, in the lobby just outside — basically anywhere they can find a space to join in the Silent Reading Party.
Once the piano player starts up on the room’s baby grand, it signals the party’s start and a hush comes over the crowd. The only rule is you must be quiet — Hotel Sorrento even offers special menus with checkboxes next to dishes like mussels with chorizo, garlic and basil, and an Italian sausage and wagyu beef mixed grill, and drinks like a Manhattan or the local Pike Pale Ale so you can order without uttering a word.
Christopher Frizzelle, an editor at the famed alt-weekly The Stranger, began the Silent Reading Party in 2006 at a friend’s apartment, then made it public in 2009.
The party’s origins come from Frizzelle’s unsuccessful attempts to read in public. He says he dealt with endless affronted people who thought he was being rude. “I enjoy reading at home, too, but sometimes I want to be out in the world. Plus, literary culture does such a bad job standing up for itself against other art forms. I’m constantly trying to think of new ways for people to interact with literature and get excited about it. And who doesn’t love a party where you don’t have to make small talk?”
Instead of another less-than-riveting discussion about Seattle’s weather, Frizzelle says he’s observed Silent Reading Party people engrossed in lots of fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, sci-fi and a smattering of biographies. It’s BYO book.
“I think people can sense the value of reading, know how good it is for their minds, for cultivating an inner life, but have a hard time making the time for it. Especially given all the other distractions out there,” he says. “So walking into an environment where I’ve hired a piano player — who plays very, very softly — and where I’ve set this social convention of not talking, not looking at Facebook or Twitter, not doing anything but sitting around reading, makes it easier to focus.”
“And after two hours of silent reading set to music, the piano player stops, and usually the crowd erupts into conversation, often about what they’re reading. I like that part of the night, too.”