Wellness: Five holidays for good health
No matter where life takes you, take wellness with you. That has always been my belief and it has only been emphasised in these last two pandemic-affected years.
When the World Travel Association conducted a study across 48 countries, it found that an astounding 78 per cent of its respondents maintained that wellness travel would be numero uno on their itinerary once travel restrictions are lifted.
Clearly, wellness travel, with its healing powers, has gained a new dimension. Here are some of the best healing experiences I have experienced over the years.
Holistic Haven Carnoustie Ayurveda Wellness Resort,Kerala
I visited Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort for a 14-day detox plan in pre-pandemic times, as my back had been reporting niggling aches and pains.
Carnoustie unfolded as an idyllic beach resort 1.5 hours from Kochi airport. Hollywood star Halle Berry professed her love for this wellness retreat a few years back on her trip to India. It is an absolute holistic haven, with a few trimmings allowed in terms of alcohol and non-vegetarian food for those who crave them.
Choosing from a menu of detox, rejuvenation, healing, anti-ageing, weight loss and diabetic management programmes and specialised sports medicine for related injuries, I selected a combination of detox and pain management. I loved the special diet I was put on to nourish my healthy gut flora, including the marvellous detox tea to reduce acidity and lower blood sugar.
My treat day included an unforgettable trip on a luxury houseboat where I devoured roast chicken and Malabar paratha while cruising the Kerala backwaters. I returned to Delhi a new human being, recharged for my hectic life.
Nourish the soul
Pema at BayPark, Visakhapatnam
Located atop Visakhapatnam’s Healing Hills, Pema Wellness is paradise. Overlooking the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Eastern Ghats on the other, the property comes alive across 28 lush acres in 136 lavish rooms and four suites designed by leading architect Popo Danes from Bali.
The healing zone unfurls across 100,000 sq ft, with 20,000 sq ft of therapy rooms, a spacious restaurant overlooking the sea, a 7,000 sq ft fitness centre and a therapeutic yoga studio. My healing journey began with an appointment with the father of naturopathy, Dr Murthy, and soon my personalised wellness programme brought a synergy between my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental zones.
The philosophy at Pema is that your diet is your medicine. A morning walk, yoga session on the beach, aromatic massage, mud packs, foot reflexology all added up to a surreal experience while I gazed at the mountains. For me the environment has always been a key factor for any kind of wellness break and this place really ticks all the boxes. Acupuncture sessions took care of my back, aqua zumba at the infinity pool set the momentum, followed by customised yoga lessons. Immaculate service staff made this even more memorable.
In between the delicious, controlled meals, we were encouraged to sip water infused with spices, herbs and fruits that took care of hunger pangs healthily.
Nature and nurture
Naad Wellness Resort, Kundli
A 60-minute drive from humdrum Delhi brought me to a green oasis. I visited Naad with my girl gang. A break with six like-minded girls can be rejuvenating at any point in time and anywhere, but when it’s at a wellness resort like Naad Wellness, there can be nothing more perfect.
Walls lined with bamboo hug the cosy, boutique property designed by ace architect Vasant Kamath. Laced with 39 rooms, the area has a profusion of plants, aromatic candles all over the corridors, with soft chants filling the air to infuse a warm, relaxed feeling. Three days of complete detox (read, no caffeine) meant paradise. We wore fresh white kurta pyjamas every day, so we didn’t bother unpacking throughout our stay.
Ayurvedic doctors configured a vegetarian meal composed of delicious, home-style Indian cooking. Coconut milk, ginger and pineapple smoothie, green moong dal chilla topped with shredded beetroot and carrots and a tangy tomato chutney, ragi dosas and halwa filled the menu.
I loved the Turkish hammam. Not only was the room so beautiful and blue tiled like the bottom of a swimming pool, but the feeling of relaxation here was unparalleled. Three days was a reboot and we wished we could have stayed longer.
Glow in health
Soukya Holistic Health Centre, Bengaluru
I’ve been to Soukya several times and every time I’ve come back totally recharged. Dr Mathai’s internationally acclaimed health centre attracts the likes of Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, not to mention actor Emma Thompson, for its menu of traditional Indian therapies to “restore the natural balance of the mind, body and spirit”.
Procedures at the 30-acre property run from massage, yoga and mud baths to a three-week-long transformative Ayurvedic detox based on your body type and individual needs. All oils, concoctions and herbs used in the treatments are grown in the organic gardens at the resort. Smoking and alcohol are a strict no. You are also not allowed to leave the resort for the duration of the treatment because they believe that you are there for a purpose and you must get the desired results.
There are only 21 deluxe rooms and four luxury suites with private gardens and open-air showers. The greenery, the treatments and the farm-to-table Ayurvedic meals take centre stage.
I found Soukya a healing grove, with cures for lifestyle-related issues as well as simple detox and weight management.
Vim and vigour
Atmantan Wellness Resort, Mulshi
Four hours from Mumbai lies a world class resort perched on a unique crystal hill, with a sweeping view of the majestic Sahyadri range and a fabulous view of the pristine Mulshi lake. It was raining when I arrived, and Atmantan looked even more lush, beautiful and serene than it does in the pictures.
The wellness resort is the brainchild of Nikhil Kapur and his wife Sharmilee, who are personally also steeped in wellness.
The resort has 106 rooms. I stayed at the Mango Tree villa – the single bedroom presidential suite, with a personalised gym, sauna, a gazebo and infinity pool overlooking the hills. The doctor prescribed a wellness plan based on my lifestyle and concerns. My day began with a jalneti which is a naturopathy-based cleansing ritual, an eye wash and salt water gargles which are naturopathy’s basics of starting the day.
I enjoyed the aromatic ayurveda massage called Chi Nei Tsange to eliminate toxins from the body. This was followed with an appointment with the physiotherapist for posture management.
The food is fresh, light, and organic. They do serve fish, albeit in exceedingly small potions. After two days, when I had severe food cravings and was feeling famished, I simply wanted to run away! But I realised the third day that this was actually good for my system. The fact is that the key to a good diet is not abstaining from any food, but being able to exercise portion-control. They believe that you should only eat ¾ of your normal diet as a rule of thumb.
Fitness enjoys emphasis here, and the high tech gymnasium, aerobic studio, spinning studio, yoga studio, and a multifunctional Pilates and dance studio all make you want to get fit pronto. I loved the private waterfall inside the property.
Long walks in my free time helped me commune with nature and complete my digital detox of only using my phone for 90 minutes a day. I left Atmantan with a list of “general rules for health and longevity”.
Parineeta Sethi is the publisher-chief editor at Pinnacle Content and writes on wellness and luxury
From HT Brunch, July 11, 2021
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