With a country as diverse as India, it’s only natural to have a varied list of wellness resorts too. On International Yoga Day, we list down our favourites! By Bayar Jain
Neeleshwar Hermitage NILESHWARAM, KERALA
The luxurious Neeleshwar Hermitage resort breathes tranquillity and excels in providing you with a serene balanced life. As soon as you enter this rejuvenating beach hotel, you find yourself transported to a utopia far removed from the pressures of everyday living. Authentic Ayurveda spa treatments, a huge infinity pool, and a host of cuisines come together to induce a sense of complete relaxation. Their unobtrusive individualised services and meticulous attention to detail bring an extra layer of mental repose, allowing you to make the most of your wellness retreat. Built according to traditional architectural principles of Kerala Vastu, this oasis of calm overlooks a gloriously unspoiled beach fringed with coconut plantations and hillside spice gardens. The 18 detached cottages here seek inspiration from these surroundings. Modelled on traditional fishermen’s huts, each building is positioned amidst the property’s verdant foliage to give its occupants a sense of peace and privacy. This endeavour towards peace amplifies with their wide range of Ayurvedic programmes available at the spacious Priya Ayurvedic Spa where a triple praxis of Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation help manifest a holistic sense of healing. Whether your idea of relaxation involves trekking up the Western Ghats or a medicated full-body oil massage, Neeleshwar Hermitage will help you embark on the journey towards wellness.
NAAD WELLNESS SONIPAT, HARYANA
The best way to experience healing is to completely immerse in it, and Naad Wellness follows this philosophy to perfection. As you enter this property in the outskirts of New Delhi, a sense of healing seeps in. Its minimal earthy ambience invites you and leaves you spellbound. However, it is the atmosphere of holistic living that truly keeps you captivated. With packages starting at a minimum of three nights (which can go up to 28 nights, if you wish), the Naad Experience aims to establish and inculcate a fulfilling way of life by incorporating healthy lifestyle choices in the daily routine and making wellness a life mantra. A range of therapies such as a Turkish hammam, Himalayan salt cave, acupressure, acupuncture, and even therapeutic scrub packages called Udwarthanam can be found here. Keeping in mind the stress life can throw your way, the experts at Naad have gone the extra mile and included medical packages in their already wide range of offerings.
THE KHYBER HIMALAYAN RESORT & SPA GULMARG, JAMMU & KASHMIR
There’s something naturally alluring about the Himalayas. Add to this a resort hidden
in a sylvan coniferous forest, and you’ve found yourself a paradise. Spread over seven acres, The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa is designed to pamper. With majestic views
of the Affarwat Peaks, this property is built in a style true to the architectural heritage
of Kashmir. While the premium rooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains and beautifully landscaped gardens, the balconied cottages double as a private hideaway. The Khyber Spa by L’Occitane takes the dreamy vibe to another level. While here, soak up stunning views from your treatment room, indulge in Provencal rituals, feel the gentle warmth of a private steam chamber, or simply unwind in the oversized Couple’s Suite. The heated indoor swimming pool flanked by glazed double-height windows makes for a great experience.
Shreyas Retreat BENGALURU, KARNATAKA
Indian hospitality thrives on the notion of ‘athithi devo bhava’ (the guest is God). Shreyas Retreat upholds this motto. Set in 25 acres of landscaped greens, Shreyas strives to promote authentic spiritual traditions of yoga in a holistic manner. Each of their 12 cottages is structured to evoke a sense of timelessness, giving guests an opportunity to detox and recharge. While here, leave the rigorous routines of traditional ashrams behind, and integrate the manifold facets of yoga into your daily life. Go on a journey of self-discovery with daily yoga, meditation sessions, chanting classes, gourmet vegetarian cuisine, and no alcohol policy. Head to their open-air yoga and meditation hall to calm your senses in the company of chirping birds or opt for a silent retreat package under the cosy comfort of sapodilla trees in either of their two machans. In association with these rejuvenation activities, myriad facilities such as an infinity pool and heated jacuzzis are also available. Anaha The Wellness Spa is spread over 16,000 square feet and includes 13 spa rooms, with dedicated rooms for Ayurveda, some with a personal steam cabinet, rooms for western massages, and a separate section for hydrotherapies.
HILTON SHILLIM ESTATE RETREAT AND SPA PUNE, MAHARASHTRA
The philosophy ‘To conserve. To Sustain. To Heal’ permeates through every experience at this sanctuary of wellness. Nestled in unspoiled surroundings amid the Western Ghats, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa in Pune is the answer to all your health and wellness woes. The all-villa accommodations available here do not pale in comparison to its surroundings, either. Set against the backdrop of rice fields, bamboo plantations, and a virgin forest, the private villas offer contemporary decor and sweeping views of the Sahyadri forest, and a private balcony. While here, the experience begins right from the get-go. Start your day with a complimentary breakfast at Terrazzo, an elegant all-day dining restaurant, which offers dishes that use fresh, seasonal produce. Next, immerse yourself in the Dharana Way Of Life. It aims to help you achieve long-term internal and external wellbeing through tailor-made programmes, designed to correct your lifestyle even after you exit the hotel’s premises. Spanning a minimum of three days, the wellness journey includes a thorough evaluation, access to the hydrothermal pavilion, yoga pavilion, pool and relaxation centre, and a definitive reformed you!
Kumarakom Lake Resort KUMARAKOM, KERALA
Situated on the banks of Vembanad, Kumarakom Lake Resort is best described as poetry. Unconstrained acres of greenery welcome you, while the hospitality leaves you mesmerised. Despite being doused in luxury, tradition is no stranger here. The rooms, villas, and suites at Kumarakom Lake Resort are careful reconstructions of manas, the 16th-century traditional homesteads of Kerala. Traditionally styled yet luxurious, modern, open-roofed bathrooms and aesthetically designed courtyards serve as befitting homage to locals. For a truly rustic feel, one can even choose to stay in traditional kettuvalloms or houseboats that combine modern amenities with a certain old-world charm. The slew of rejuvenating therapies on offer at the resort stays true to the authentic Kerala experience. While the Panchakarma package combines five major Ayurvedic procedures to help purify one’s body of accumulated toxins, the revitalisation package allows for a more guided treatment spread over three days. Udwarthanam (dry powder massage), urovasthy (for respiratory disorders), januvasthy (for arthritis patients), nethrasekham (especially for eyes) are some of the varied traditional treatments available here.
VANA DEHRADUN, UTTARAKHAND
A vanvasi is someone who strives for a sense of equilibrium with nature. For such an individual, Dehradun’s Vana is home. The lush Sal forest around the retreat shields the space from the frenzied pace of city development, making it a refuge of sorts. The spiritual oasis is founded on a four-pronged philosophy: wisdom, wellness, learning, and seva. Enter the premises and be transported to a world where soulful green spaces and colourful butterflies find a home. Each of the 66 rooms and 16 suites also dons elements of nature,
with its bamboo floorings, organic linens and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood. Between relaxing treatments, consultations, interacting with fellow vanavasis and team members, a multitude of daily sessions, music, learning and more—life at Vana slowly takes over, and you feel as though time has come to a standstill. Although each day is packed with yoga, meditation, Raag therapies, music offerings, occasional treks, and fitness sessions, the schedule won’t weigh you down. Amid the plethora of activities, peace, calm, and healing find space in your body and soul.
SwaSwara GOKARNA, KARNATAKA
SWASWARA MEANS inner voice, and this beachside resort in Gokarna stays true to its name. The rhythmic rolling of the waves paired with the meditative hum of the birds at SwaSwara help set the tone of the transformative experiences available here. Surrounded by the lush greenery of Om beach, the property creates a space for healing in the lap of nature. The earthy tones here are complemented by the rustic Konkan-style villas. Here, you can choose to relax at your coconut thatch roof hilltop meditation area or even attain spiritual wellbeing in a group yoga session at the 1,600 square feet Yoga Shala. For seekers of peace through creative outlets, SwaSwara’s art studio is ideal. Here, guests can train under the guidance of a resident artist and express their creative thoughts through painting, clay modelling, or sculpting. To get the complete wellness experience, however, a three-night Swa Wellbeing programme is recommended. Boasting a flexible regimen, this programme is a beginner’s introduction to asanas, yoga Nidra, pranayama and meditation techniques. It is interspersed with Ayurvedic Abhyanga massages to help rejuvenate your body, as well.
Atmantan Wellness Resort PUNE, MAHARASHTRA
When the name of a property is an amalgamation of the words soul, mind, and body, it’s only natural for the notion of wellness to resonate throughout the premises. Located in the abode of Sahyadris, and overlooking the pristine Mulshi lake, the 42-acre Atmantan Wellness Resort offers its guests result-oriented wellness experiences. The minimalistic architectural design amplifies the peaceful aura of the area, while the 106 guest rooms and villas add the element of luxe. However, Atmantan is more nature, less resort, and the spaces here are a testament to this fact. While Prana doubles as an amphitheatre for customised work-out regimes, the Kripa Pavilion is ideal for yoga and meditation sessions. The resort also comes with a range of offerings such as weight-loss programmes, a detoxifying cleanse, Panchakarma, restorative physiotherapy, and organic-cooking classes. If guided packages are not your idea of wellness, then a simple stroll around the Oxygen Park here, or a wholesome curated spa cuisine featuring freshest ingredients and seasonal produce from their organic farms will suffice.
AHILYA BY THE SEA NERUL , GOA
Goa need not only be about the parties. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Dolphin Bay, Ahilya By The Sea is a serene and private escape. The property sports nine tastefully decorated and welcoming rooms, and three beautiful swimming pools. Despite being opulent, Ahilya also offers the simplicity of being at home. The rooms are spread across three independent Portuguese—Balinese style villas made of hand-hewn local laterite rock. Each of the nine rooms boasts stunning views of the sea. Tribal arts, French windows, and plunge pools ooze charm. You can choose to kickstart your day with a dip in their Sunset Plunge pool lit up by the surreal reflection of pink and white frangipanis or take a morning stroll through their gardens—a haven for exotic tropical plants and flowers handpicked by the owner himself. Follow this with a relaxing and rejuvenating massage at their wellness centre, Banyan Spa. Perched on the branches of a 200-year-old Banyan tree, the Banyan spa has a curated yoga menu that includes Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and even Ayurvedic Yoga.