When all is pure and all is bliss, then there would be nothing that your heart would miss. When it’s not just your body but also your mind and soul that are at ease, then everything around the world fades away into the distance. Well, that’s wellness in a gist. Going to a spa for a good massage or a beauty treatment is temporary. Adopting a holistic wellness approach is long term. Think long, destressing massages, an internal detoxification of harmful toxins, relaxing yoga sessions, deep meditation and lot of healthy food; a total overhaul of the mind, body, and soul. Remember what they say, what’s inside, reflects on the outside! So, why indulge in something that is just external, when you have the whole cleansing system at your disposal.
What better place than India, the land of Yoga and Ayurveda to pamper every inch of you. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that we are the best at what we do. Then add to it the flavour of luxury and endless comfort, what you get in the mix is an “out of this world” kind of escapade.
So, here’s a list of wellness resorts that will pamper your senses and change the way you look at holistic healing in terms of a healthy and wholesome way of living.
ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS, NARENDRA NAGAR, UTTARAKHAND
Ananda is almost synonymous with luxury and wellness in India. A sprawling 100 acres property at the foothills of the Himalayas, this property is a part of Maharaja’s Estate Palace. The 2400 square feet of the spa and wellness centre is located within a dense cover of Sal forest and has a spectacular view of the beautiful town of Rishikesh and the Ganges river valley. Needless to say, ‘Ananda in the Himalayas’ is renowned world-over for its luxury Ayurvedic treatments that harmonize the ancient Ayurveda practices, Yoga and Vedanta to provide customised wellness treatments suited to individual needs. The treatments in Ananda have also assimilated various international wellness practices, fitness regimes and a gourmet organic and healthy cuisine which leads to an overall wellness of the body, mind and soul. The tranquil and nourishing environment amidst nature adds to the efficacy of the 80 different treatments offered at Ananda. The team of experts in the field of Ayurveda and Yoga, spiritualists, healers, nutritionists, therapists, chefs, doctors and fitness experts provide the best possible solutions to individual needs. Be it weight loss, detox, de-stress, deep-relaxation, anti-aging, whatever may be your desire, they have just the right thing. The suites, villas and the rooms are opulently designed and decorated in colonial style with each having a magnificent view of either the palace, or the Sal forest or the valleys. The restaurant at Ananda is known to serve wholesome gourmet food. There is an open kitchen where the chefs teach the guests to whip up those healthy delicacies back at their homes. The resort also organizes a few outdoor activities like walks, safaris, white water rafting and visits to the Ganga arti at Rishikesh. Besides, there is a temperature regulated outdoor swimming pool and a golf course within the property.
ATMANTAN RESORT SPA, MULSHI, MAHARASHTRA
A world-class facility in terms of wellness, this spa resort can give any international counterpart a run for their money. Spread over an area of 40 acres in the Sahyadri Mountains, with 180 degrees view of the Mulshi lake, every bit of Atmantan spells solitude, relaxation, health and well-being. Not to mention the several waterfalls that pop-up from the surrounding mountains, should you plan to visit the place during monsoons. If there was a prize for an ideally placed wellness resort, then this one bags the first place. Besides, healing properties of the mineral-rich Sahyadri mountains add to the very purpose of the resort. There are 23 treatment rooms with an extensive range of spa therapies from Ayurvedic treatments, to oriental acupressure to holistic anti-ageing facials, aromatherapy and much more. Oh! There are Vichy Showers, a Turkish Hammam and balneotherapy available, apart from many other specialized wellness treatments. Yoga, Pranayama, Pilates, Meditation, you name it, you have it. Fitness tops the chart in the list of priorities of Atmantan, hence a fully equipped gym with functional training, Zumba, spinning, strength training, interval training, fat burning etc. are all included in the fitness program. The food served is balanced, highly nutritious and organic and is served in the most soothingly picturesque settings. The three main menus are Cleanse, Wellness and Ayurveda; which will be served in accordance with the wellness program that you are following. Last but not the least are the rooms and villas. Needless to say, they are elaborately (read sophisticatedly) decorated with either a view of their own private garden or the beautiful Mulshi lakes. Some of the higher ranging villas spoil you with a personal Butler, own spa room, a private pool, a gazebo and many other things that will spoil you rotten. So, body, mind and soul, this where you will find how to pamper them as a whole.
HILTON SHILLIM ESTATE RETREAT & SPA, PUNE
A 320 acres property, amidst the lush green forests of the Western Ghats, the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa in one of the largest and the most eclectic spa facilities in Asia. With a magnificent view of dreamy lakes, verdant valleys, and dense forest, this retreat is quietly tucked away from the hubbub of city life. Out of the 320 acres, the spa zone is exclusively spread over an area of 70 acres. There are about 17 treatment chambers that provide tailored wellness treatments based on the emotional, mental and physical needs of the guests. There are some 150 treatments based upon the ancient Asian practices to choose from. Apart from the spa treatments, there is a meditation cove, a professional salon, a yoga retreat, a relaxation centre amongst other things. There is a comprehensive use of various healing techniques like Reiki, Chakra Healing, Ayurveda, Acupressure, Watsu, hydrotherapy, Infrared and conventional saunas depending upon the needs of the individual. Other activities for entertainment include pottery and painting classes, dance classes, cooking classes, trekking and hiking in the Western Ghats, should you find the time and need for it after extensive pampering and relaxation. There are 7 restaurants and bars that serve organic cuisine that is suited to the prescribed line of treatment being followed by the guests. Coming to the accommodation, there is a wide range of swanky villas that look picture perf to choose from. The villas, needless to say, are lavish and have a spectacular view of the greenery around. Now the sizes and crazy facilities like private pools, large bathrooms both indoors and outdoors, quiet zones, multiple occupancies, private spa treatments and many other premium amenities depending upon the type of villa you choose.
KALARI KOVILAKOM, KERALA
This is not your typical luxury spa resort. A luxury wellness property indeed, Kalari – the Palace for Ayurveda, shuns everything that the modern hospitality sector has to offer (think NO Television, air cons, alcohol, meat, etc). However, traditional Keralite bathing ghats known as Kuli Kadav, chanting rooms for listening classical Indian music are available. It sticks to its roots and traditions and follows a strict code of conduct and discipline. It is the most perfect combination of a spa, an ayurvedic hospital and an ashram. This unique Ayurvedic centre is housed in a 19th-century palace which has been restored yet maintains its original essence. Needless to say, the 18 rooms are nothing short of palatial, with ancient southern architecture, heavy teak furnishings, and wooden shuttered windows. The palace is nestled in the middle of 8 acres of garden with mountains at the backdrop. They have their own organic vegetable patch that supplies the raw materials to their kitchen, a stone pond and a temple within the premises. Every treatment offered is personalised once the highly qualified doctors have diagnosed every aspect of your mind and body which are then closely monitored. Their methods include various spa treatments combined with yoga and meditation for an overhaul that is inside out. Go here if you aim for detox, weight loss, anti-aging treatments and stress management. All this done in the good old traditional way. The guests are given traditional clothing to wear, even your shoes/slippers to be worn inside the premises are provided by them. Every meal served is individually personalised based upon the ayurvedic prognosis of the doctors. The meals are simple and healthy, not the gourmet kinds that the luxury spa resorts offer. There is a stillness in the environment, tranquillity in the air and warmth and care in the eye of the people who are there to look after all your worries and cares.
VIVANTA BY TAJ, BEKAL
The biggest of all the Jiva spas of the Taj fame, the Jiva Grande Spa at Vivanta by Taj, Bekal is one of the most sought-after luxury spas in India. Set up against the backdrop of the backwaters of Kerala, the 165,000 square feet of the spa area is completely secluded from the main hotel area. The spa provides long-term ayurvedic wellness programmes and many other specialized signature treatments based on Indian aromatherapy, scrubs, wraps, elaborate beauty rituals of the yore and spiritual retreats. Speaking of elaborate bathing rituals, there are specific pavilions for body anointing and purifying bathing ceremonies (just like the kings and queens of the yore). All the spa treatments are combined with yoga and meditation sessions in the beautifully landscaped places of relaxation. Staying true its roots in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition of India, even the Ayurveda centre is designed as the traditional Ayurvedic doctor’s (Vaidya’s) house. There is a Satvik dining lounge that takes care of the satvik food needs of the guests undergoing ayurvedic treatments. Moving from the physical therapies to the gross, there are ritualistic fire ceremonies (havans) accompanied by chanting by the resident priest. This thereby completes the ancient ayurvedic treatment of the mind, body and spirit. Thus, Vivanta by Taj, Bekal, serves you all the fruits of ancient Ayurvedic tradition that too with the signature luxury and comforts that are synonymous with every Taj hotel.
Oh!! We feel the ache in your muscles and the yearning of your hearts. This kind of stuff only gets you thinking about all that is blissful and calm. You’ll know when the time is right to drop the file and shut the laptop. All you need to do is listen to sounds of your body, mind and of course, the good old heart.