A short drive away from Dehradun, lies this holistic wellness retreat with a strong focus on Ayurveda, inner work and healing. The accommodation at Ananda is the perfect marriage of classic and contemporary that blends seamlessly with the verdant surroundings. The retreat has a large swimming pool for all residents, a massive state of the art spa and a yoga pavilion.The environment is serene and quiet and allows you to unwind, de-stress and kick back a little. The rooms are small, cozy and overlook either the valley or the palace. The four suites have views facing either the Valley or the Maharaja’s palace. The historic Viceregal Suite with its own private terrace offers spectacular views of surrounding valleys. A lot of the architecture within the palace grounds hasn’t been tampered with since it was first constructed. Each of the 3 private luxury villas have large villa pools which are surrounded by Sal trees and a deck area with comfortable lounge beds. If you are looking to spend a long weekend with your friends, I highly recommend that you splurge and get yourself a villa for a memorable time.
I was invited to Ananda to review the active programme that is geared towards individuals and couples who want to take their fitness up a few notches. My days would begin with outdoor yoga and pranayama, followed by a languid breakfast and vedanta classes that were extremely thought provoking and insightful. I would spend the afternoons reading or doing acro yoga with the visiting master Jivatma Massageur on the grass. The spa has a comprehensive range of treatments and rituals that will leave you feeling centered, relaxed and more at ease. I highly recommend the sports specific massage and the deep tissue massage if you are looking to alleviate some of the soreness from your treks and workouts. The ‘mukh lepa’ is a great facial indulgence for women looking to use natural, organic ingredients. The ‘udwartanam’ is a fantastic ayurvedic spice scrub that exfoliates, targets cellulite, promotes lymphatic drainage and leaves you feeling taut and lithe. I would ask the hotel staff to prepare a signature bath with milk, rose petals and honey in the evenings so you can unwind with a book and some music and watch your stresses melt away.
Photographs courtesy Ananda Spa & Jia Singh