Indian Spas Pamper Yourself
Indian hoteliers have recognized the importance of providing spa facilities in their properties in line with their counterparts abroad. Well-heeled Indians travelling all the way to Europe, the U.S. and nearby Thailand on spa vacations prompted them to give a make-over to the health clubs by adding, state-of-the-art spa paraphernalia, decor and international beauty-line products. A spa option has also become an essential ingredient of incentive tourism. Several hotel chains now offer spa facilities in select hotels, with many more in the pipeline. These aside there are a few stand-alone spas as well.
Initially there were five purpose-built spas in the country. Three of them were in Bangalore in Karnataka and two in the Himalayas. The first purpose-built spa is the Golden Palms Spa and Resort in Bangalore. modeled on the Golden Door Spa in California. The spa is the brainchild of Hindi film actor Sanjay Khan who underwent treatment at Golden Door Spa for injuries suffered in an accident while shooting. So impressed was Khan of his experience at Golden Door, that he decided to build one equaling the standards at the world-renowned spa. The spa is located on the Tumkur Road, some 35-km from the city. From the airport it’s a 45- minutes ride. The Resort has 32 rooms, which are located in 11 pavilions built around a lagoon-shaped pool. All rooms have balconies or terraces and garden views. The spa’s 18 suites and two Presidential Suites have exclusive gardens overlooking the pool. The spa offers an array of treatments that includes Thalassotherapy.
Angsana Oasis Spa & Resort is Bangalore’s second stand alone spa. The well-known spa specialists, Angsana Resorts and Spa, part of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts of Southeast Asia, manage it. It is located on the outskirts of Bangalore, on the Bangalore - Doddaballapur road, about 25-km from the city. It has 20 exclusive resort rooms and 19 suites that open into patios and lush gardens, allowing magnificent views. The rooms and suites come with spacious living and dining area, well-equipped kitchenette and an en-suite bathroom.
The spa has a well-stocked library, a meditation / yoga room, a gymnasium and a Virtual Reality Game Centre, a tennis court, glass-backed squash courts, an aerobics centre and a Roman Pool. Tangerine. an all-day dining restaurant serves an array of cuisines that include spa cuisine, traditional Indian meals or a BBQ dinner on the lawn. Tangerine also serves fruit cocktails, mock-tails, juices and a wide selection of coffees and teas.
Angsana offers eight kinds of massages, including Thai and Balinese massages. The Ayuthaya massage, a specialty of the Ayuthaya province in Thailand, concentrates on the pressure points in the body, while the Angsana massage is a full body massage using palm and fingertips to stimulate blood circulation. Thai Ayurveda, a blend of Thai massage and ayurevedic oils massage is an Angsana specialty. The other spa treatments include body wraps, body scrubs and facials. Four kinds of body wraps are available: Thai herbal body wrap, Tangerine body wrap, natural mud body wrap and tomato body wrap. Visitors have the option of three types of body scrubs - Aroma Salt Scrub, Blended Brush Scrub and Honey and Sesame Scrub. In addition the spa also offers four kinds of facials, Angsana Facial, Cucumber Cleansing Facial, European Deep Cleansing Facial and Sun-Kissed Facial. Spa packages with exotic sounding names such as Taste of Heaven, Contentment in Paradise and Salute your Soul are a mix of these, each lasting from one and half hour to three hours.
Bangalore’s third stand-alone spa is Soukya. It is perhaps the world’s only medical spa that combines all the holistic systems - Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy. One of ifs specialties is its Hawaiian Hot Stone treatment with Ayurvedic oils.
Soukya located in Whitefield, an hour from Bangalore is also a celebrity haunt. One of its recent celebrity visitors was Prince Andrew’s estranged wife Sarah Ferguson. This aside, the Leela Hotel has a state-of-the-art spa, which is right in the middle of the city and offers a variety of spa treatments, including the ‘Espas’ line of beauty treatments.
The spas in the Himalayas are ‘Ananda in the Himalayas’ in Rishikesh and Wildflower Hall in Mashobra. Ananda is located at a palace of the former Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal. The spa spread over 21,000 sq. ft. has 20 treatment rooms with separate areas for Ayurveda, Oriental and European systems of holistic health, a team of qualified nutritionists, Western & Ayurvedic physicians, spa therapists with knowledge of ancient Indian sciences and modern western treatments. This is the only spa in India that offers 79 kinds of body and beauty treatments, integrating the traditional Indian systems of Ayurveda with western spa treatments. Ananda also operates the only ‘Aveda’ Beauty Institute in India. The spa has 70 deluxe rooms and 5 suites, each lowing magnificent views of the river Ganges and the town of Rishikesh. Rishikesh is 260 km from New Delhi can be reached b road or air The provides the Hydrotherapy facilities indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi steam sauna, Chill Plunge Pool, Kneipp Hydrotherapy, foot Bath and Heated Lap Pool.
All other spas are located in hotels. The Oberoi group has spas attached to their ‘Vilas’ brand resorts - three of them in Rajasthan and one in Agra. Oberoi also has spa facilities, limited though, at the Wildflower Hall in Mashobra, near Shimla. The Banyan Tree Spa, part of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, manages all Oberoi- hotel spas. Udaivilas in Udaipur, the Group’s newest resort, is set in the midst of 30 acres of landscaped gardens and grand court yards. Udaivilas offers eight kinds of massages - Aromatic Massage, Balinese Massage, Hawaiian Massage, Oberoi Massage, Stress Relieving Massage, Thai Massage (with no oil), Soothing Back Massage and Yoga Stretching Massage and three kinds of body scrubs-- Haney Seed Scrub, Sandalwood & Turmeric Scrub, Tamarind Oatmeal Scrub. The body wraps offered are, Almond Honey Body Wrap, Mint Cucumber Healer and Soothing Tomato Wrap.
The other Oberoi hotels with facilities are the Rajvilas in Jaipur, the Amarvilas in Agra and the Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore. Vanyavilas is India’s first luxury resort located in a jungle, close to the tiger reserve at Ranthambhore. Rajvilas provides six types of massages, three kinds of body scrubs- lemon yogurt and honey oatmeal, three kinds of body treatments New Delhi several Ayurvedic treatments. Amarvilas offers the same line of treatments as the Rajvilas.
The Taj Group has spa facilities at their Fort Aguada Beach Resort in Goa. Spa treatments include, three kinds of massage. body wraps and scrubs. Spa packages and extensive salon treatments are also available. The other luxury hotels that provide spa facilities in Goa are the Leela and the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, the latest addition to the Hyatt chain. The state-of-the-art spa at the Leela offers a suite of spa treatments and Ayurveda as well as the Espas’ line, Sereno Spa at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa is the latest” to join the bandwagon. The 28,000 sq. ft. spa features single and double treatment suites, outdoor- therapy spaces, separate male and female sauna and steam room, beauty salon, gymnasium, aerobic and yoga studio. Treatments are given af” nine specially d treatment suites and at outdoor pavilions. The Resort located on Arrosim beach in Cansaulim in South Goa amidst coconut plantations. Sereno Spa offers specially designed spa therapy packages.
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