India opened its skies and doors on March 27 to foreign tourists after two years of pandemic-induced restrictions. Ever since then, one trend of note has been the tremendous interest in luxury wellness resorts of the country. Ananda in the Himalayas, a luxurious spa and wellness retreat in the foothills of Uttarakhand, recorded an all-time high demand from foreigners after the issuing of tourist visas began in December 2021. Even the Ministry of Tourism has taken cognisance of this and around two weeks ago, released a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism to promote India as a medical and wellness tourism destination. Mahesh Natarajan, chief operating officer of IHHR Hospitality Ananda, credits this surge of visitors to the hotel’s loyal guests, “Ananda in the Himalayas has always welcomed a global audience of wellness enthusiasts from all corners of the world. For many preventive health management through Ayurvedic, Yoga and Meditation had become an integral part of their lives, and the gap of two years due to the pandemic paused their pursuit of annual wellness plans.” Natarajan mentions an increase in demand since the complete resumption of international flights. Demands from clients in the Americas and Europe increased, as has the interest in Ananda’s comprehensive Panchakarma, yoga and meditation, detox, and immunity building programmes.
India is blessed with many wellness resorts that offer special programs to guests based on wellness practices that India is known for, including Ayurveda and yoga. Scroll to know more about the most exclusive resorts that offer bespoke wellness stay packages for the conscious traveller.
This resort lies amidst the peaks of the ancient Sahyadri mountain range. Atmantan is a luxury wellness resort overlooking Mulshi lake. The resort emphasizes holistic practices that heal the Atma (soul), mana (mind) and tann (body) in unison. Its wellness and yoga retreats, such as the Atmantan living package, master cleanse and weight balance are popular. Check out their radiance ritual program, for brides and grooms as a pre-weding rejuvenation ritual. Treatments from schools of traditional Ayurveda, naturopathy, Chinese medicine and energy healing are available, including deep tissue massages, cocooning wraps, hot stone therapies, Hammam baths are offered at the lush resort.
An eco-retreat nestled deep in the Western Ghats, Dharana at Shillim, is a 320-acre property that is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Mumbai. Immersive stay packages are part of the offerings at the retreat, where doctors suggest curated therapies and diet plans to suit every physiological need. The Dharana Approach looks at five aspects of an individual’s health, Preventative Medicine, Diet and Nutrition, Exercise and Physiology, and Psychology, a much-needed focus in a post-pandemic world, available for guests who book a wellness package of a longer duration. Set in the verdant setting of the mountains, the resort provides the feeling of privacy to every guest.
Viveda Wellness Retreat in Nashik follows a fun approach to wellness. Spread across 7.5 acres, the retreat has 16 cottages, some with a private garden, jacuzzis and pools. The property also has a common swimming pool, a meditation centre, a Sattvic restaurant, a small library, massage centres, doctor’s consultation rooms and lush outdoors, complete with a bonfire space, an amphitheatre, and a sprawling lawn. A mix of Ayurvedic, Reflexology and Western treatments, Balinese massage, hot stone massage, all-fruit facials, are available. You can begin the day with morning yoga sessions, aqua therapy, while evenings are reserved for workouts. The retreat follows Sattvic food principles and serves vegetarian fare without onion and garlic.
Vana in Dehradun follows the principles of Ayurveda, Yoga and Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan system of medicine, rooted in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Buddhism). The word Vana meaning ‘forest’ in Hindi has 82 rooms and suites, three yoga studios, a wellness centre, Ayurveda centre, Tibetan Healing centre, a pool and spa. A retreat program at Vana includes yoga, meditation, cuisine lessons, functional fitness, talks, music and more.
Located atop a cliff in Vizag, Pema offers stunning views of the vistas below. The wellness retreat considers naturopathy, yoga, and Sowa Rigpa as the foundations of its health program. Facilities at the property include a massive treatment block, beautifully landscaped gardens, a yoga shala, a havan shala. The retreat offers different programs for every problem, including one for weight loss, destressing, sleeping well, rejuvenation, diabetes and cholesterol control, as well as metabolic disorders. Massage therapy, hydrotherapy, Yoga, physiotherapy, acupressure, diet therapies are prescribed by Pema’s naturopathic doctors, therapists, and technicians.
Naad Wellness Centre is just an hour’s drive from New Delhi, in Sonipat, is . The retreat has just 39 rooms, golf turf, tennis and badminton courts, swimming pool, yoga hall and a well-equipped gym. Try their hammam therapy, Abhyanga, aromatherapy and curated itineraries that cater to individual needs. The highlight of this property is their Himalayan Salt Cave, in which one can relax and breathe in salt particles that are supposed to remove allergens, toxins and foreign substances from the lungs and the respiratory tract.
A Relais & Châteaux property, Nirmaaya’s Kovalam beach retreat promises well-being combined with luxury. The 5-star ayurvedic resort is perched on a dramatic cliff edge flanked by secluded beaches, housing ancient Kerala style cottages for guests to recuperate in, away from the buzz of city life. Look out for their programs that incorporate stress management, bone and joint care, weight loss, immunity boosting, rasayana (Ayurvedic rejuvenation treatment) and other Ayurvedic therapies.
Situated on the banks of the river Attingal Aaru near Trivandrum is Mekosha, a resort that combines the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with modern medicine. An all-suites retreat, the speciality of this boutique property is its eleven spa suites that offer a private treatment room with an attached balcony overlooking the pool, so one can nap when the sleep hits right after a massage. A 400-meter river-front passage, private jetty, amphitheatre, organic garden, pool, roof spa and bamboo grove are spread through the property. Each Ayurveda package at Mekosha comes with a doctor’s consultation, therapies that are administered in your in-suite spa, meals, yoga and meditation classes.
A boutique hotel that’s an hour’s drive from Tiruchirappalli and a couple of hour’s drive from Madurai, Svatma is luxury personified. Their Aaharam restaurant serves home style Tamil vegetarian food in a setting that overlooks the property’s blue pool. Wellness consultants prepare tailored plans for guests who want to indulge in the Soukyam, the luxury spa. The gym, Arogyam and Yoga centre is staffed with experienced tutors who teach traditional asanas and simple meditative practices. A trip to Svatma’s sound spa, aka Svaram is a must-do. Inspired by the chords of a veena, an instrument founded in Thanjavur, the spa contains a sound bed, Nidra Anantar that has been orchestrated to have 50 strings carefully tuned and stretched underneath. A skilled therapist uses a resonator to create vibrations, which creates a feeling of relaxation and bliss.
Following the philosophy of “Athithi devo bhava” Shreyas treats all its guests with personal attention. The resort is known for being one of the first luxury yoga retreats in India and is located on the outskirts of Bangalore. The retreat is equipped with 12 cottages spread over 25 acres of lush greenery. Special packages like a silent treatment package, anti-ageing, detox, Ayurveda Panchakarma, yoga retreat, weight management offer guests a plethora of options.