For most international tourists, India has always been the land of mysticism, yoga, Himalayas and spices. For ages, people have flocked to India in search of a myriad of experiences for their well being. While yoga and medical tourism are not new to India, luxury wellness is a concept that has taken prominence and become mainstream. As per a recent report by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and Ernst & Young, the Indian wellness industry is likely to hit INR 1.5 trillion by FY2019-20. Backed by a strong reputation in natural health treatments and growing popularity of Yoga across the world, India hopes to see close to 20 million tourists annually by 2020. The time has never been better to travel to India and experience firsthand the Indian luxury wellness. Major Hotel chains like ITC, Hilton, Oberoi’s, and Marriott etc already offer Spa services in their hotels. However, over the last few years, the need for offering similar experiences amalgamated with a broader approach towards holistic healing has led to an opening of many boutique luxury retreats. These concept driven luxury retreats primarily focus the on customers for whom, Ayurveda, Yoga and organic living is central to their lifestyle.
So here’s our list of the most uber-cool luxury avenues considered to be amongst the best Indian boutique luxury wellness retreats.
1. Experience the Humble Ashram Life at Shreyas
(Image Source: Shreyas)
Shreyas is a humble yet chic abode for travellers on the path to self-discovery. The modern ashram offers deep serenity, stillness and organic in an authentic ashram setting. The award-winning resort is known for its highly personalised Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and highly revered detox nutrition programmes. About a mile away from Bengaluru airport and spread across 25 acres of serene landscape, Shreyas Yoga Retreats allows indulgence in deep relaxation and natural body healing through a wide range of activities and programmes. The Ashram’s luxuriously designed cottages offer a view of the lush garden and have all the amenities one would expect from a luxury wellness location. The resort has won multiple awards over the years for its hospitality and service.
2. Ananda in the Himalayas
(Image Source: Ananda in the Himalayas)
A luxury resort that is without parallels in India, Ananda in the Himalayas is a luxury wellness resort in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Roughly 7 hours drive from Delhi, the nearest airport is Dehradun which is about 2 hours drive from the resort. The resort is an epitome of ayurvedic ‘sattvik’ living. The award-winning luxury destination spa resort is located on a 100-acre estate and is surrounded by graceful forests and overlooks the spiritual town of Rishikesh and the Ganges river valley. Ananda in the Himalayas, one of the best luxury wellness retreats offers traditional Ayurveda, Yoga and Satvik living with international wellness experiences, fitness and healthy organic cuisine to restore balance and harmonize energy.
3. A Palace for Ayurveda – Kalari Kovilakom
(Image Source – Tripadvisor)
Kalari Kovilakom, a CGH Earth Ayurveda property is the next best luxury wellness facility on the list that offers Ayurvedic treatments. The treatment centre adheres to the strict tenets of the old school Ayurveda and has been certified by NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers). With a keen focus on mindfulness, awareness, Kalari Kovilakom offers a therapeutic engagement of the senses and an inward integration of the mind, body and spirit. Based in Palakkad, Kerala, the location is as pristine as it gets. You get the old world charm intertwined with new world luxury. But make no mistake. This is no hotel. The facility distinguishes itself as a luxury wellness centre based on strict ayurvedic remedies for specific ailments and focuses on holistic healing.
4. VANA Retreat
At the heart of Vana is the search for equilibrium, learning and the inner journey. Focussing on mindfulness and holistic healing, this luxury retreat is also in Rishikesh, the new age spiritual hotspot in India. As claimed by the retreat, it takes a day or two to completely discover the Vana and even more to find its hidden nooks. An impressive and incredibly idyllic wellness retreat located roughly an hour away from the main city, the luxury destination spa hotel created by Veer Singh. The spa hotel was built at a staggering cost of roughly $80 million. The staff is extremely discreet and is adept at being almost invisible so as to not disturb any of the guests. The spa retreat comes with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a luxury spa of its kind and then has some more for guests to be delightfully surprised with.
5. Kumarakom Lake Resort
(Image Source – Kumarakom Lake Resort)
Next among the best luxury boutique wellness retreats is the Kumarakom Lake Resort. Located in Kerala and the proud hosts to His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the lake resort is the go-to luxury spot in India for all things Ayurveda with a southern flavour. The resort already has been featured as the ‘most luxurious holiday destinations in the world’. Spread over 25 acres of serene landscape, the boutique is a haven for Ayurvedic healing. Ayurmana Spa, the resort’s boutique spa is considered to be the best in the state. What’s unique about the spa is that it is a 200-year old heritage home of Chathamangalathu Mana, a family of renowned veds (traditional doctors who practice natural medicine like Ayurveda).
6. ITC Grand Bharat, Gurgaon
The only property in the list which is a major hotel chain based luxury spa, ITC Grand Bharat is a luxury collection retreat located in Gurgaon. An hour and a half drive from Delhi, ITC Grand Bharat is an enormous, extraordinary, and to be honest sometimes an overwhelming retreat. It’s a palace built for those who truly understand the nuances of Luxury. It’s spa, Kaya Kalp Royal Spa is part of the ‘Unhurried Luxury’ and is nothing short of a marvel on its own. Every inch of the space has been meticulously designed to enhance the luxury experience. Spread across nearly 2000 meters, the retreat has a Hamam, nine therapy suites and an exhaustive list of treatments from Ayurvedic and western traditions.
7. Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra
The Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra resort is located in Kovalam Kerala on a dramatic cliff-edge with secluded beaches and serene natural surroundings. A Relais & Châteaux property, the luxury boutique spa resort is dotted with traditional cottages with spectacular views of the Arabian Sea at one of South India’s most pristine locations.
The multiple award-winning Niraamaya spa has been recognised as one of the Best Ayurveda Resorts in India. Guests can indulge in long walks, or take a dip in the rock-cut infinity pool. The spa offers a wide range of natural therapies including Ayurveda, yoga, reflexology, European healing practices and Chinese and Thai treatments. All therapies are personalised to individual preferences and requirements and are carried out under the supervision of the Spa Doctor.
With a stronger than every Indian economy, rising disposable incomes and the travel subculture that is taking shape in India, Indian luxury wellness industry is at a pivotal point in history. As the millennial generation comes of age, seeking out new experiences is in trend. This combined with a larger influx of tourists from around the world is driving growth for luxury retreats and spa properties. So if you are looking to splurge on some novel experiences, head on over to any of these top 7 luxury boutique spas for a wholesome holistic wellness & mindfulness experience.