Come December, we are all going to be slipping into the holiday mood—ready to dive into festivities and unwind with a relaxing vacation. And what better way to ensure that than a retreat to a good spa where you can spend your days on the massage bed, sweat out toxins in the sauna, and seal your new found glow in the steam room before indulging in joyous food spreads and even meditation sessions.
Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? And to make it just that little bit easier for you, we bring you a list of five hotels and resorts that offer the ultimate spa experience.
For: A perfect blend of peace and party
This one from the Marriott family, nestled amidst the green landscape of Vagator Beach and a stone’s throw away from the beach, might we add, sounds perfect as it is, but add to it the AWAY Spa—an escape from the everyday hustle with its 14,000 square feet design inspired by the great baths of Pompeii that is laid out in a labyrinth of corridors leading to rooms that offer best mix of traditional and modern treatments, a vitality pool, a steam room, and a sauna—and you’d be left wondering why you haven’t visited it yet. And, if you are looking to go from relaxation to celebration, the AWAY Spa also has a salon that provides expert services and can have you glammed up and ready to party.
Address: Vagator Beach, Bardez, Goa
Raas Devigarh, Delwara
For: A royal experience
You are in Rajputana haven within the white walls of Raas Devigarh—an 18th-century marble palace-turned-hotel in the Aravalli Hills—with splashes of silver, gold, peacock green and saffron yellow colouring you in luxury as soon as you enter. And their spa (that uses only ILA products) sets you for an altogether royal experience. Drawing on ancient wisdom and holistic practices—yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and a dosha-led food menu—any treatment here promises to help you achieve harmony and balance. A little time in their Himalayan salt cave sauna, and you may not be able to recognise yourself when you leave from there.
Address: NH8, Near Eklingji Temple, Delwara, Udaipur
Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh
For: Holistic recovery
Considered as the birth town of yoga and Ayurveda, can there be a more fitting place for one of the first luxury wellness spa resorts in India than Rishikesh? Started two decades ago in a maharaja’s palace estate overlooking the Ganges, Ananda in the Himalayas offers tailor-made programmes that aim at long lasting wellness—stress management, healthy ageing, improved digestion, and the newest addition, Post-Covid Rejuvenation. Though what we cannot get enough of is their changing spa-cuisine. And for those looking for a more charged vacation, they have Ananda Active, a wellness boot camp that includes outdoor treks, a core abs workout, hydrotherapy jets, massages and more.
Address: The Palace Estate, Narendra Nagar Tehri–Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Niraamaya Retreats, Kovalam
For: A complete Ayurvedic experience
A stay in a traditional tharavadu (meaning ancestral home in Malayalam) perched on a cliff, flanked by secluded beaches and with a rock-cut infinity pool—could there be a better start to a spa vacay? And then there are the three-tier rejuvenation plans—yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic treatments that draw on ancient remedies such as herbal steam baths, warm oil drip on the forehead, and natural ingredients to cleanse the body and mind. This may be a no-frills place, but it is the slow-down-and-recover vacation your overworked mind could be looking for.
Address: South of Chowara, Kovalam, Kerala
The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Gulmarg
For: A complete vacation
Spend your mornings in Khyber’s indoor heated pool while soaking in the view of the Pir Panjal range, your days out skiing in the snowy slopes of the Affarwat peaks, and your evenings immersed in the L’Occitane spa for some extra luxurious pampering. They have a variety of treatments to choose from—from Swedish and Hawaiian, to Lomi Lomi, Balinese, and Shiatsu—that mix specialised products with local floral produce. Another specialty to add to your retreat are their facials, which promise to leave you with a natural glow that is sure to light up any party this festive season.
Address: Hotel Khyber Rd, Forest Block, Jammu and Kashmir
Feature image: The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg
Feature square: W Hotel, Goa