India is home to some of the world’s best health and detox retreats, from luxury Ayurvedic wellness hotels, to five-star resorts with award-winning spas. Here are some of the best, bookable on Culture Trip.
When it comes to healthy holidays and detox retreats, India tops the list of destinations. As the birthplace of Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, it has a long tradition of mindfulness and meditation, and celebrates an antioxidant-rich, vegetarian diet – not to mention awe-inspiring landscapes that set the scene for serious relaxation. If you’re looking to reset or unwind, read on to discover the top detox destinations in India.
This luxe wellness retreat in Goa is all about finding a holistic balance that combines therapies from both modern and ancient sciences to help you heal – and each treatment plan is individually tailored for each guest. Choose from a menu of signature Wellness, Lifestyle or Relaxation detox retreats, which range from a raw food detox to a stress-buster retreat. Each programme includes daily yoga and guided meditation, as well as a full menu of nutritionally balanced meals. There’s also a variety of optional activities, ranging from aura readings to guided tours of Goa and the surrounding towns.
Travel back to the time of the Mughal Dynasty at this Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, near the Taj Mahal in Agra. The lushly landscaped resort gardens feature water channels, shaded walkways, fruit trees and flowers that pay tribute to the Mughal builders of the past – and the resort itself is just as impressive. There are 233 rooms and suites, banqueting rooms and five fine-dining restaurants. If you’re after a detox, however, head to the award-winning Kaya Kalp – the Royal Spa. Here, you’ll find signature treatments such as the Exotic Pomegranate, which uses a combination of pomegranate, lime and brown sugar to exfoliate the body.
Perched at the tip of Willingdon Island in Kochi, this five-star resort is all about relaxing experiences on the water: think luxury yachts, backwater cruises and an authentic dinner on board a rice boat. Following a day on the water, unwind at the Jiva Spa. The signature experiences include the indulgent Shudhikara, which involves a lymphatic drainage massage, a cleansing scrub and plantain leaf wrap – or enjoy a traditional Pada Madarna foot massage. For something more unusual, opt for the Masala body scrub, which uses a traditional mixture of Indian spices.
Combine a wellness retreat with a business trip at this five-star hotel and spa in the heart of New Delhi. While it’s conveniently located near most of the corporate and financial centres and embassies of the city, it feels like a secluded urban oasis thanks to the lushly landscaped gardens, and thoughtfully designed rooms and suites. The NeoVeda Spa is based around the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, and offers treatments using aromatherapy and essential oils that enhance the connection between body and mind. If you want to take the experience home, pick up some souvenirs from the Craft House shop, which stocks Ayurveda-inspired beauty products and aromatherapy oils.
Escape to the backwaters of Kerala at this luxurious resort on the shores of the pristine Vembanad Lake. Let the gently swaying coconut palms and lapping waters set the scene for the ultimate relaxing getaway, and complete the experience with a treatment at the Maya Spa. Here, you’ll discover a wide-ranging treatment menu that combines the traditional Ayurvedic treatments that Kerala is known for with Western and Oriental therapies. For the ultimate indulgence, book a seven-, 14- or 21-night Ayurvedic Package, which includes personal consultations, massages and yoga classes.
Courtesy of Heritage Village Resort and Spa Manesar / Expedia
Looking for a family-friendly wellness retreat? The Heritage Village Resort & Spa in Manesar is not only home to a deluxe spa with a range of curated treatments and a pristine pool, but also a kids’ club. The restaurants, however, are the real highlight – there are six to choose from, offering everything from lavish buffets to fine dining. Try contemporary Indian cuisine at Surya Mahal, experience the rural way of dining at Baruhandi or enjoy tea and snacks at the Pappu Tea Stall. Kids will also love discovering where some of the food is grown, and learning about organic ingredients, on the organic garden tour.
Set in the high-altitude Himalayan resort town of Manali, in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh state, this contemporary luxury resort celebrates the traditions of the local area. Think locally crafted design details throughout the interior, rooms with spectacular views over the snow-capped Himalayan mountains and a specialty Indian restaurant that features hand-ground spices in traditional dishes. For an authentic experience at the TVA Spa, choose from the Indian selection of treatments, which includes traditional treatments such as Shirodhara – an Ayurvedic massage therapy that involves a consistent flow of warm oil over the forehead.
In the midst of the Aravali Hills, Pushkar in Rajasthan is one of the most ancient cities in India, and is known for its beautiful roses and sacred lakes. This five-star resort is set on a sprawling 4.4-hectare (11-acre) site surrounded by lush greenery, and features 52 cottages and 21 rooms – alongside 15 fully furnished tents and tent suites. The spa has a wide range of treatments, but the most unusual are its bath treatments. The Ananda Snan (Milk Bath) rejuvenates the skin, while the Madira Snan (Beer Bath) uses alcohol to improve circulation.
Set in a forest high in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, 2,690m (8,825 feet) above sea level, this 85-room resort offers an escape from the everyday. In summer and spring, you can picnic in the forest and surrounding meadows, or play a round on the world’s highest golf course – and in winter you can ski on world-class slopes. Alternately, relax at the resort’s Khyber Spa by L’Occitane, which offers signature treatments that allow guests to choose from homegrown herbs and flowers, which are then mixed with L’Occitane products – including shea from Burkina Faso and immortelle from Corsica – and fresh Himalayan water to create fusion recipes.
Known as the Scotland of India, Coorg is a coffee-producing hill station celebrated for its opulent resorts and spectacular scenery – and the IBNII Spa Resort is one of the most opulent resorts in the region. Ideally located for a weekend getaway from Bangalore, the resort is set on a 51-hectare (125-acre) former coffee estate, dotted with lakes and blanketed in forest. If you just want to sit back and relax, book one of the wellness packages, which include a customised meal plan, wellness activities such as hiking, cooking and gardening, and a programme of yoga, meditation and pranayama that promises to help you master the art of doing nothing.