Be kind, unwind: 6 of India’s most luxurious spas

With holistic programmes that combine the best of traditional Indian and modern treatments, picturesque locations that embrace nature, and top-notch experts to take care of your every need, here’s a list of India’s best spas to retreat to when you’re in need of a well-deserved break.

The Khyber Spa by L’Occitane

The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa in Gulmarg is a luxurious haven perched 8,825 feet above sea level in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. There’s nothing like magnificent views of meadows and snow-capped peaks to melt away all your stress. The spa will pamper you from top to toe with a range of therapies, inspired by French techniques, from rejuvenating facials to foot reflexology and treatments targeted at different parts of the body. You can also soothe your muscles with a Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Balinese or Shiatsu massage after a day spent hitting the ski slopes nearby. 

Insider tip: Guests can choose a custom blend of seasonal flora and award-winning L’Occitane products for their treatments.

For more information, visit https://khyberhotels.com/index.php

The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

If you’re in the need of a quick pick-me-up in the midst of a busy schedule, this spa will hit the spot. The menu features an array of treatments that combine traditional Indian therapies and modern techniques. The Lodhi Experience will bring your body into balance through a gentle massage. The Kashmiri Nargis exfoliation treatment will give your skin an instant refresh with a combination of sugarcane and essential oils. The four Ayurvedic treatments on offer will help detox, stimulate blood circulation and ease pain and stiffness.

Insider tip: When you’re done relaxing, head to the Turkish hammam bath to, well, relax some more!

For more information, visit www.thelodhi.com/the-lodhi-spa/

Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh

Set on 100 acres of lush grounds, once home to the Maharajah of Tehri Garhwal, this tranquil resort in the hills seeks to balance the body and the mind through a combination of Ayurveda, Vedanta, yoga and New Age therapies. If you’re searching for a quick fix, this isn’t it-most programmes require you to commit to at least five nights. During your stay, you’ll have a team of qualified doctors, therapists, nutritionists, fitness specialists and chefs at your disposal to help you achieve your goal, whether it’s to detox, improve your fitness levels, manage stress, boost immunity or nourish your soul. The spa also offers custom therapeutic programmes to address chronic issues such as PCOD, auto-immune diseases, heart disease and respiratory disorders. 

Insider tip: Ananda often has visiting therapists, who specialise in alternative healing modalities. You can sign up for a workshop or personal session with them, so remember to check their calendar when booking your stay.

For more information, visit www.anandaspa.com

Atmantan, Mulshi

The 40-acre property spa retreat sits on a hilly spot with a 180-degree view of the Mulshi lake—the best time to enjoy the views is in the monsoon. To say that the retreat is well-equipped would be an understatement. Facilities include private treatment rooms, yoga pavilions, UV light chambers, a large gym, spinning studio, colonic room, hammam, a Vichy shower room, cafe, juice bar and barbecue lounge. Each programme combines Ayurveda, naturopathy, alternative healing therapies, yoga and fitness. Founder Nikhil Kapur and his wife Sharmilee Agrawal Kapur have worked to make Atmantan eco-friendly by employing a minimalistic architectural style to make the most of natural light, utilising solar energy and installing an on-site sewage treatment plant, so your mind and body can really be at ease.

Insider tip: Atmantan’s Yuva Edition is a special lifestyle programme for younger guests, aged 16-25.

For more information, visit www.atmantan.com

The Oberoi Spa, Amarvilas, Agra

With old-world wooden interiors inspired by Mughal architecture, this spa will make you feel like royalty. At the centre sits a marble steam room with a domed roof, a nod to the greatest tribute to love, the Taj Mahal, which sits just metres away from the property. The spa menu is extensive, from body and facial treatments that use natural ingredients such as red mud and sandalwood and indulgent massages to energy balancing treatments with hot stones and Himalayan singing bowls. 

Insider tip: Make a trip here with your sweetheart and book the Taj Romance Amarvilas treatment that’s designed for couples. The experience is luxurious, but the cherry on top is the uninterrupted view of the Taj Mahal from the private treatment rooms on the fourth floor.

For more information, visit www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-agra-amarvilas-resort/spa-fitness/

Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond, Kerala

Set on the banks of Kerala’s Vembanad lake, this retreat is as much a destination as it is a spa resort. Its 27 luxurious villas are flanked by swaying palms and tropical foliage and promise complete privacy. You can opt for traditional Ayurvedic oil and body massages and therapies for specific requirements such as soothing rheumatism, easing muscle tension and lower back problems. They also have a selection of treatments for glowing skin and healthy hair, such as the Hydrating Sea Salt Crystal Rose Scrub and Champaka Wrap. Niraamaya also offers longer wellness programmes for between 5 and 28 days, which include spa treatments, consultations with wellness experts and a customised diet.

Insider tip: Make time for a placid houseboat ride across Vembanad Lake and a visit to the Kumarakom bird sanctuary nearby.

For more information, visit www.niraamaya.com/backwaters-and-beyond-kumarakom-resort