Escape Edinburgh Festival noise with a visit to Kimpton Charlotte Square's sound therapy Swell Room
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Edinburgh is a noisy place to be this August. Forget Auld Reekie, it’s Auld Racket.
It’s been a while since we heard the birds sing, or the rustle of trees, anywhere near the centre of town.
Thankfully, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel is offering an auditory refuge with The Swell Room. This concept has been created by company, Swell, who have designed a therapeutic listening experience that takes place in a room in this venue’s spa.
They’ve worked with Hebridean seaweed beauty brand, ishga, so you can try one of their treatments followed by an accompanying sound journey. However, you can also visit The Swell Room without having a massage or facial beforehand.
I’m going for the full kahuna. My therapist recommends the ishga Hot Stone Massage as a precursor, and I concede.
It’s 55 minutes of smooth full body massage, with warm basalt stones and ishga’s Invigorating Body Oil, which contains juniper, lemongrass and lavender - a combination that seems to melt my rigid muscles to a buttery consistency.
I’m already relaxed after that, but it’s time to head to The Swell Room, which is just along the corridor. I think I might need a sedan chair.
You can go for a post-treatment session of 20 minutes or 40 minutes, and I choose the longer version. Before they stick the headphones on, there’s an iced orange juice or water to sip, along with a couple of drops of optional CBD oil, while you recline under a blanket on the heated and anatomic white lounger, which has glowing lights underneath.
My cans are applied, and I close my eyes and listen to the composition, which was created from field recordings in the Hebrides and Lake Geneva, among other places, by DJ and producer Brian D’Souza. It includes a selection of sounds to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and lower blood pressure.
They start softly with the sound of water. I can hear birds tweeting, and whenever the sounds intensify, the lounger gently vibrates and thrums. There are instruments, like pipes, whistles and flutes, which were recorded playing Gaelic songs, or simple chords and notes.
At one point, I think I can hear the sound of rattling shells or shingle, and there’s a constant thrumming ohm sound. My brain tries to find patterns, or make up a story about what I’m hearing, but the sound is amorphous enough that I can disengage and drift. As someone who can only usually sleep in total silence, I manage to nod off a few times.
The ideal pause from Auld Racket.
ishga Hot Stone Massage, £85, for 55 minutes: add a 20 minute Swell Room treatment for £10, or 40 minutes for £15. A 40 minute stand-alone Swell Room treatment is £30. Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square (0131 240 5500, www.kimptoncharlottesquare.com)