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BW Businessworld

Time To Massage That Ego

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At a time when stress levels are hitting the roof, words of American poet and author Sylvia Plath come to mind: “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Sure, one can have a hot bath at home, but imagine being surrounded by opulence and serenity, and pampered and goaded to forget your worries ensconced in man-made nature’s lap. It doesn’t get better. No wonder the Indian wellness industry is expected to touch the Rs 1 lakh crore mark by 2015. So, if you’re in need of some TLC, Lovina Gidwani Jha, founder and creative strategist of Spa Guide-n-Light and an expert when it comes to telling spas what they should and shouldn’t do, is the go-to person. Here’s her pick of luxury spas in India that are bound to take you a step closer to nirvana.
Ananda in the Himalayas 
Garhwal, Uttarakhand
India’s first destination resort spa, Ananda is a restored palace in the picturesque foothills of the Himalayas, just above Rishikesh and by the river Ganga. It offers therapeutic treatments based on the principles of Ayurveda, yoga and meditation. Every treatment is customised by a spa expert in accordance with a guest’s nutrition, detoxification, stress management, beauty and relaxation needs. Ananda even offers retail therapy through its exquisite spa boutique that stocks everything from organic food to spa music.
Kaya Kalp, The Royal Spa
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Spread across 99,000 sq. ft in the city of the Taj Mahal, ITC Hotels’ Kaya Kalp is the largest spa in India. It has been designed to recreate the splendour of the Mughal dynasty, with pomegranate (a fruit brought to India by Babur) as its principal theme. The spa offers India’s first, luxurious white-marble Royal Mughal Hamam — a private bathing area where the guest is given a Persian-style body scrub, soaping and relaxing head massage — besides Ayurveda, indigenous local treatments and other international therapies. The rejuvenating ‘Passage to India Spa Journey’, combining guided meditation with Ayurveda, is also a must-try.
Sereno Spa, Park Hyatt Goa
This wellness and fitness destination spa alongside Arossim beach is set in lush beachfront gardens in idyllic south Goa. Sereno offers a range of holistic massage therapies, the most popular of which are the Synchronised Abhayanga (four hands massage) and Marma Massage (which includes massaging the crown chakra). The spa combines Ayurveda and yoga, and is the first Indian spa to offer the Sarvanga Swedan Yantra, or whole body medicated steam bath. This is performed in a special cubicle with aromatic herbs that help detoxify the body.
Oberoi Spa, 
Wildflower Hall
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Situated in the lap of the Himalayas, Wildflower Hall is a fairytale luxury resort amid virgin woods of pine and cedar. The Oberoi Spa offers holistic Ayurveda, Oriental and Western treatments in private spa suites or pavilions with spectacular views. Other than the usual line-up of exotic body scrubs, floral baths, beauty treatments and personalised yoga sessions, the spa also offers the unique experience of therapeutic sound and vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls to cleanse and enhance the chakra energy centres of the body.
Maya Spa, The Zuri Kumarakom
Kumarakom, Kerala 
Amid the Kerala backwaters, The Zuri Kumarakom houses southern India’s biggest spa with two separate wings — one for Ayurvedic treatments and the other for Western/Oriental styles. On the shores of the Vembanad Lake, Maya Spa offers a wide range of hydrotherapies, natural health therapies and solutions. It also features the unique ‘body temple and meditation island’, and the famous Shirodhara and The Cloud 9 massages. kumarakom/maya-spa
Amatrra spa, Hotel Ashok 
New Delhi
Claiming to be India’s only metropolitan lifestyle spa, Amatrra fuses the concepts of Astroscience, Ayurveda and Naturopathy in its treatments. The idea is to create, harmonise and balance individual energy in a spa experience. This is also evident in the ambience, therapies, food menu, beauty services, as well as the product line. The spa has spacious self-contained treatment suites, including Kerala Ayurveda treatment rooms, Oriental treatment rooms, mediation rooms, etc., and even a ‘couple suite’.
Myrah Spa 
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Myrah is a luxurious day spa — with Zen-like interiors, brocade backdrops, crystal chandeliers and ornate gold mirrors creating a balance of opulence and serenity — that gives guests a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Myrah offers a bouquet of global spa therapies such as the Asian blend massage, aroma signature massage, Thai yoga massage, etc. Its facials are one of Mumbai’s best, and the spa also offers a pregnancy menu.
The Six Senses Spa, 
Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort
Greater Noida, Delhi NCR
The Six Senses Spa is a unit of the globally renowned Thailand-based Six Senses Spa. Luxuriously spread over 90,000 sq. ft, with beautiful courtyards, it offers a wide array of holistic therapies for complete harmony of mind and body. The spa’s philosophy of balancing all the senses is creatively represented in the spa menu, which features signature, personalised and locally inspired treatments, Asian and Ayurvedic therapies, oxygen facials, etc, all administered by expert therapists. On offer is also colonic hydrotherapy, as well as classes for yoga, pilates, meditation, qi gong and tai chi.
Asian Roots Luxury Spa
New Delhi
Asian Roots is an award-winning luxury spa that merges the various traditional therapies from Bali, Japan, Thailand and India to offer its guests a novel and holistic experience. As the name suggests, the ambience and décor of the sprawling two-level spa are Asian. It boasts of state of the art medical technology, and apart from spa and salon services, it also offers cosmetic dermatology and hair transplant treatments, and has cricketers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir vouching for it. It also has sister concerns in Ahmedabad and Bangalore.
Spa la Vie 
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Bearing the name of the house of L’Occitane en Provence, the leading French cosmetics brand, Spa la Vie is a Mediterranean wellness sanctuary in the Lower Parel area of Mumbai. It features signature L’Occitane therapies, with soaking and emollient properties, in freestanding bathtubs and private steam chambers in every treatment room. Guests can pamper themselves with shea from Burkina Faso and Immortelle from Corsica, or experience a Provencal wrap in one of the city’s first stone heated hammam beds.
Inputs from Shruti Chakraborty

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 07-10-2013)