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The health and wellness industry in India has seen some phenomenal growth in recent years. There are many luxurious award-winning destination spas and resort spas spread across the country. This includes Kerala, with its Ayurvedic roots, and the mountainous Himalayas.
As well as skin treatments and massages, most spas in India have now evolved to include a number of different therapies, such as reflexology, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and meditation. All you need to do is lie back and enjoy being pampered!
Ananda In the Himalayas, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Popular Ananda In the Himalayas is considered to be one of the top destination spas in India. Set against the soothing background of the Himalayas, it's built on a Maharaja's palace estate. The spa offers therapeutic treatments based on traditional Indian practices of Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation. There's also an enticing spa boutique, stocking everything from music to organic food. A three-night minimum stay is required.
- Address: The Palace Estate, Narendra Nagar Dist. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand.
- What's good: The five-night Holistic Detox program package will provide you with introductory Ayurveda sessions and a cleansing therapy. Or, try a longer Stress Management program with personal yoga and meditation sessions.
Vivanta by Taj Bekal, Kerala
The Taj hotel group is known for its Jiva spas, and the out-of-the-world Jiva Grande Spa at the Vivanta by Taj in Bekal is one of the largest. It's spread over a massive 165,000 square feet and is located on the opposite side of the river to the hotel, to provide total seclusion. The spa won a place in the 2015 Top Organic Spa Awards. It offers wellness programs of 3 or more days that include daily yoga sessions, plus massages and a facial. The serene spa offers Ayurveda programs, Indian aromatherapy, scrubs and wraps, and beauty rituals.
- Address: Kappil Beach, Bekal, northern Kerala.
- What's good: Unique experiences include body anointment and purifying bathing ceremonies, and ritualistic Homam fire ceremonies.
ESPA at The Leela Palace Udaipur, Rajasthan
The Leela Palace has India's only luxury tented spa. It sits amid gardens overlooking Lake Pichola and has elaborate treatment rooms with crystal chandeliers and a private swimming pool. Both Ayurvedic and modern western spa treatments are offered, along with customized well-being programs. The products used in the treatments are made with organic plant extracts and oils from around the world. Yoga and meditation sessions, traditional temple rituals, and healthy spa cuisine are also offered to guests.
- Address: Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
- What's good: The Spa and Spiritual Journeys, which include a tour of local temples with a private guide. Pre-natal and post-natal treatments designed to relax the body and tone the skin of pregnant and nursing mothers.
Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Kovalam, Kerala
Bordering the Arabian Sea in Kerala, super luxurious Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra provides guests with bespoke transformational experiences. The Niraamaya spa offers a range of natural therapies from across the world, including Ayurveda, yoga, reflexology, European healing practices, and Chinese and Thai treatments. These are carried out under the supervision of the Spa Doctor, who designs personalized programs. Cleansing spa cuisine is also served. Book well in advance during peak season (November to March).
- Address: Pulinkudi, Mullur, south of Kovalam, Kerala.
- What's good: Customized programs for weight loss, stress management, and detox. The Niraamaya Wellness Day Out will enable you to immerse yourself in a range of wellness experiences.
Kaya Kalp the Royal Spa, Agra
Kaya Kalp the Royal Spa opened in March 2008 at the ITC Mughal Hotel. Measuring 99,000 opulent square feet, it's one of the largest spas in Asia. Unsurprisingly, the spa quickly won a string of awards. True to its royal name, the design incorporates elements of Mughal landscaping and architecture. The lavish interiors are decorated with stone latticework, mother-of-pearl inlays, marble floors, and ornate mirror-work. The spa also has the first luxury hamam (Turkish sauna) in India.
- Address: Taj Ganj, Agra.
- What's good: Passage to India Spa Journey, which combines guided meditation with Ayurvedic treatments to restore the mind and body.
Wildflower Hall Spa, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Set amid cedar forests, with fresh air and a view of snow-capped mountains, the Spa Pavilion at the Oberoi's Wildflower Hall Resort is a haven of tranquility. Consistently ranked among the best spas in India and the world, it uses plant and flower essences in its aromatherapy and Ayurveda based treatments.
- Address: Chharabra, near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
- What's good: The luxurious Himalayan Retreat spa program, which includes body scrub, Indian head massage, full body massage, and Himalayan cedar bath.
Atmantan Resort Spa, Mulshi, Maharashtra
This highly-rated Atmantan Spa is spread over 40 acres in the Sahyadri mountains, overlooking Mulshi Lake, between Mumbai and Pune. The spa's extensive list of treatments is designed to aid the body's innate ability to self-heal. They include Ayurvedic and western massages, acupressure, aromatherapy, anti-aging facials, purifying body polishes, and wraps, Balneotherapy, colonics, and Pranic healing. There's also a Turkish hammam and Vichy showers. Special spa cuisine is based on the philosophy of the healing power of the earth’s medicine (plants, herbs, and spices). Do note that the resort is alcohol-free, and smoking is only permitted in a designated area. A minimum three-night stay is required.
- Address: Mulshi, Pune, Maharashtra.
- What's good: Atmantan Living integrates wholesome cuisine with selected treatments for an overall restorative wellness experience. For pampering, try the Spa Life program, which incorporates daily massages and body polishes.
The Roseate (Dusit Devarana) Aheli Spa, Delhi
One of the best boutique hotels in Delhi, The Roseate (formerly Dusit Devarana) is set in leafy surrounds on the southern outskirts of Delhi. Its Aheli Spa was named one of the Best Luxury Resort Spas in India in the 2016 and 2017 World Luxury Spa Awards. The spa has the only Turkish hammam in Delhi, as well as serene outdoor treatment areas nestled between water bodies, and four private indoor treatment suites with private porches. The Roseate uses high quality pure and natural products in treatments, which range from Ayurvedic therapies to body scrubs and wraps.
- Address: Samalkha, National Highway 8, New Delhi.
- What's good: The Aheli Signature treatment combines various therapeutic massage techniques tailored to individual requirements.
Shillim Spa, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, Maharashtra
Situated about an hour from Lonavala (between Mumbai and Pune) in the Sahyadri mountain range, the award-winning destination spa at the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat is one of the most comprehensive in Asia.
The exclusive Spa Zone is spread over 70 acres, has 17 treatment rooms, and offers around 150 therapies and holistic spa programs across a range of healing traditions. The spa's signature treatments are locally inspired. For example, the Vanaushadh signature scrub uses herbs and flowers from the forest and local organic honey. The popular 60-minute signature Release treatment is a combination of deep tissue massage and cupping.
This extensive luxury property also has a meditation cave, four relaxation terraces, a yoga pavilion, two outdoor swimming pools, a hydrotherapy tub, pottery studio, dance studio, Ayurvedic restaurant, and cooking school.
Personalized wellness programs include detox programs, Ayurvedic rejuvenation, stress management, weight loss, and yogic lifestyle. The programs are available for three, five, seven, 14, or 28 nights.