There’s nothing quite like good old nature to heal the soul. The sight of a canopy of trees stretching out into infinity, the ocean joining the setting sun to form a fusion of blue, red and orange, or majestic mountains rising to form snow-covered peaks and swooping down towards colourful valleys can fix a broken heart and cheer up a melancholic soul. It’s not just nature’s sights that heal; her offerings, too, can do a world of good. So if nature and natural products are wrapped in one, wouldn’t the complete rejuvenation of the mind, body and soul be guaranteed? We went on a trek of some top spas and found that while the treatments, varying from massages, scrubs and wraps to reflexology, all use natural products and do a world of good, even the landscape that unravels beyond these spas is just as therapeutic.
The Khyber Spa by L’Occitane Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Take the wellness quotient to its peak at 8,825 ft above sea level. The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa in Gulmarg unravels over seven acres, tucked in a thicket of pine trees, while the Affarwat Peak towers above. The landscape around wouldn’t look out of place in the Chronicles of Narnia!
We began our sensual journey at the Khyber Spa by L’Occitane, gazing, as we entered, at the winter wonderland that lay beyond. It’s exquisite even inspring and summer, when wild flowers blossom till the horizon. We were welcomed with hot and cold towels infused with lavender and offered a detoxifying drink of ginger, lime, honey and mint that traced a warm path down our gullets. In the tranquil treatment room, our pillows, too, were soaked in the goodness of nature—sprayed with a mist enriched with lavender, geranium and tea tree perfume. The spa offers French-inspired therapies like the Revitalising Aromachologie Massage for which Swedish, Lomi Lomi and Balinese techniques are used. A special oil, enriched with a blend of mint, pine and rosemary, was caressed on to our skin. Soon we began to feel like scented blossoms nodding in the forest! The spa’s Almond Detoxifying Balance is said to be ideal for people undergoing stress or jet-lag, while the Verdon Vivifying Balance is a facial that combines spring water from Provence with organic plant extracts. The heated waters of the glass-enclosed swimming pool serve as a great relaxation post treatment. For more information, visit www.khyberhotels.com
The Omã Spa Bandipur, Karnataka
The Omã Spa is snuggled in The Serai Bandipur, a luxury resort on the fringes of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Encased in a blur of forested green, with the misty Nilgiris rising like a rumpled wall of granite, nature is the supreme therapist here, with its delicate brush strokes further enhancing the spa’s wellness quotient. A skylight to stream in the sun rays, timber floors underfoot and the woodsy green and brown colours in the decor add to the natural appeal. At the spa, we found that nothing comes out of a bottle and all the ingredients are directly slathered on. We opted for the Omã Signature Massage and found ourselves floating in a fragrant cloud of coffee extracts blended with the fugitive scent of nourishing oil. On another occasion, we relaxed with an oats, citrus and honey scrub, which was energising after a dusty, tiring game drive. The freshly created scrub emitted a fragrance that was as potent as the therapy itself! Oats and almond serve as cleansers, wild ginger and sesame make for a scrub, while hot volcanic stones do a tango on your backs... and a bracing fennel tea at the end serves as a pick-me-up. All this while, the forest passes on its healing vibes. For more information, visit www.theserai.in
Sujan Spa Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
The stark, ever-encroaching desert embraces this spa created by Raison d’Etre. Enclosed in a walled garden at The Serai Jaisalmer, with the imposing Thar Desert surrounding it, beyond the iconic Jaisalmer Fort, this Relais & Chateaux tented property has been inspired by the royal caravan sites of Rajputana and occupies just 20 acres of the 100- acre private wilderness Swish tented suites with private spas, an infinity swimming pool, and luxurious lounge-and-dining tents notwithstanding, one can hear and feel the primeval desert as it whispers to itself, the sands shifting and rippling in a hushed sonata. The spa has four treatment rooms under a canvas. Luxurious touches like wood floors and artefacts give this oasis of wellness an Arabian Nights feel. This spa uses organic Ayurvedic products sourced from the Thar which are mixed with herbs. During the Sand Scrub and Sujan Massage, for instance, a blend of red sand, organic beeswax, tea leaves, chamomile, ginger and essential oils softly exfoliate the skin. This is followed by an indulgent Sujan massage. If you opt for the Sand Scrub and Wrap, after your body has been thoroughly cleaned, you will be wrapped in a mixture of rose petals.