So back in August, I had a trip-of-a-lifetime to Ananda in the Himalayas, a spa retreat that has for two decades been synonymous with super-luxe ayurvedic wellness.
What’s Ananda in the Himalayas like?
My visit was a real eye-opener. The location is exceptionally beautiful, with the spa’s headquarters based in the former maharajah’s palace perched 3,000 feet up in the foothills of the Himalayas overlooking the city of Rishikesh. The grounds, the rooms and the buildings are all immaculately maintained.
The spa covers 26,000 square feet, with an astonishing range of treatments, from ancient rituals where you’re doused in herbal oils and pounded with cloth bundles filled with oil-soaked rice, via gentle beautifying facials, to precise modern physiotherapy to analyse, say, postural issues, and Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture and cupping, and emotional healing support.
Go for as long as you can
There’s a strong emphasis on meditation and yoga (not the fast-paced ‘vinyasa flow’ classes so popular in the UK but basic joint mobility which somehow seemed every bit as exhausting).
There’s only so much you can learn, change and absorb in a week. If you get the chance to go there, indulge yourself by going for longer than you were planning (when I visited, in August, several guests were there for a month, and if you’re aiming at one of their Ayurvedic detox programmes, they’d like you to have a week’s preparation in situ, before you start, and then some time to let everything settle afterwards. It’s not a quick fix. The benefits come with small changes, lifestyle adjustments continued over time, but yes after a week, I felt amazing.
Read the full review
Prices: expensive, from £805 per night, but like I said at the start, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.