Five Fabulous Destination Spas That Will Set Your Year-End R&R Goals
If there’s anything better than a detoxifying massage or oxygen-boosting facial to help feel rejuvenated, it is luxuriating in these treatments at a sumptuous location, far away from the maddening crowd. Pack your bags and tired bodies as the year draws to a close, as we take tips from the world’s sexiest stars on their favourite destination spas and wellness havens across the globe.
ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS, UTTARAKHAND
The name — ananda means happiness in Sanskrit — says it all. This retreat, at the tranquil Himalayan foothills in beatific Uttarakhand, has been sweeping up international awards for 17 years now and shows no sign of slowing down. Sprawled over 100 acres amidst elegant sal forests, the property includes the resplendent palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal. A stay at one of its 70 rooms and suites — expect private pools and terraces looking out over the Ganges — begins with a doctor and nutritionist’s assessment of your health and due prescription of yoga, Ayurvedic treatments, Vedanta philosophy and healthy, gourmet spa cuisine. High society soirée stars return regularly to partake of their signature Reiki healing, amethyst rejuvenation therapy and Indian beauty treatments like Mukh Lepa.
Star Power: From Hollywood beauties like Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman to A-listers Bill and Melinda Gates, Ricky Martin and Oprah Winfrey, the balmy whitewashed and marble interiors of Ananda have seen them all come seeking peace and glowing complexions. The latest local lovebirds to join the illuminati are Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, who spent a week rejuvenating mind and body at this Himalayan retreat some months ago.
Koh Samui has no shortage of surf and turf devotees, but Kamalaya — which occupies the most envious spot on the island — elevates your ‘unwind experience’ to a luxuriously sublime level. Built around a cave temple formerly used by Buddhist monks and surrounded by lush jungles, the 59-room wellness sanctuary boasts of a private beach. The ambience offers up everything you could possibly want from a rejuvenating retreat, but the real magic lies in their wellness formula. After an in-depth consultation, guests are assigned five-star detox, weight loss and de-stress packages that include Tai Chi sessions, Chinese acupuncture treatments, hydrotherapy, infra-red saunas and yoga practice; fuelled by top-notch cuisine. Check into a Beachfront Pool Villa at this stunning spa-resort to elevate the experience even further.
Star Power: The go-to destination for celebrities dealing with enormous stress and jet-setting lifestyles, Kamalaya is favoured by Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Hollywood heavyweight Oliver Stone.
THE OBEROI RAJVILAS SPA, JAIPUR
A royal Rajputana getaway, The Oberoi Rajvilas is a breath-taking resort set on a 32-acre oasis of beautifully landscaped gardens, on the outskirts of Pink City. Their multi-award-winning spa, located in a restored 18th century haveli, offers a luscious bouquet of treatments designed to relax, refresh and rejuvenate you. From Balinese massages, thermal infusions, Hungarian body wraps, chakra balancing and contouring body therapies, to their signature pampering services, this haven of R&R is the real deal. One of our favourites is the 2.5 hour Magic of Mewar treatment, which involves an exfoliating body scrub, body massage and facial topped with a calming flower bath.
Star Power: Bollywood’s most resplendent star, Kareena Kapoor Khan, is a fan of the spa’s Maharani Mystique ritual — a languid hour-long lemon and yoghurt body massage that the begum admits has her royally dozing off during the pampering process.
A minimalist structure with clean lines overlooking Lake Altaussee, this health centre holds the secret to the toned bodies, glowing faces and rejuvenated minds of the world’s leading models, actors and overwrought oligarchs. The famed (rather ‘notorious’) Mayr Cure has guests embarking on a life-changing week in the very strict and wildly-successful programme that has them consuming around 600 gluten-free calories a day, loading up on Epsom salts, water and goat’s cheese. Those in the know will tell you that despite the über-luxe environment, the experience isn’t easy to endure (especially the chewing lessons and endless blood tests), but when one emerges from VIVAMAYR glittering anew, it is entirely worth it.
Star Power: With Karan Johar, Rani Mukerji and Aditya Chopra emerging from VIVAMAYR in trim and glowing avatars, their experience opened the floodgates for Bollywood’s young brigade. From Alia Bhatt and Parineeti Chopra to Arjun and Sonam Kapoor, there’s been a litany of stars lining up for the clinic’s life and body-changing magic. When Anil Kapoor visited VIVAMAYR earlier this year, we told you all about it. If you missed that post, click here.
ANANTARA KIHAVAH, MALDIVES
Set on the island of Kihavah Huravalhi in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, this acclaimed resort offers much more than unbridled luxury in the Indian Ocean, with sightings of manta rays and dolphins in the crystal clear turquoise waters (check out the Bollywood bombshell who encountered a shark on a recent vacation). The six over-water treatment cabanas at the Anantara Spa offer lavish therapies using lush indigenous ingredients and local flora. A mani-pedi salon, Jacuzzi and cold pools, steam room and a massive relaxation deck complete the soothing picture. Of their sumptuous signature therapies, the Slumber Guru is a treat for overwrought bodies and minds. Beginning with an ylang-ylang essential oil massage, it leads to a luxuriant essential oil bath (surrounded by candles and a spread of warm, herbal tea, hot chocolate and cookies to nibble on), ending with a blissful night’s sleep, wearing a silk lavender eye mask. If it sounds divine, that’s because it is!
Star Power: R&B musician John Legend proposed to his supermodel girlfriend Chrissy Teigen here — followed by blissed-out sessions at the spa, we’re sure — while soccer stud Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis champion Roger Federer, and British bombshell Jenny Frost continue to be fans.
Image Credits: Instagram; anandaspa; kamalaya; zimbio; oberoihotels; wikimedia; travelmodus; hollywoodlife