There are those hotel experiences where the property is as integral to an incentive program as the destination. That is the case at three Oberoi Hotels & Resorts properties in India that have all been ranked among the world’s top 10 hotels, where the highest level of luxury and historically dramatic surroundings catapult the spa experience toward Nirvana.
For example, when you walk across the Burmese teakwood floor to one of the terraces at The Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra, you can see the Taj Mahal two football fields away. The Oberoi hotel’s Persian aesthetic, with its domed ceilings and grand colonnades, reflects the lines of the Taj, so between the two, you’re immediately transported into an atmosphere of Indian royalty.
“The Moorish and Mughal architecture of the hotel accentuates the magnificent vistas of the mausoleum (Taj),” says GM George Kuruvilla. He adds that’s why spa guests repeatedly tell him, “The view of Taj while experiencing the spa therapies was amazing,” especially when it’s from a warm rosewater bath.
Kuruvilla says signature treatments like the Spirit of Ayurveda are the most popular, combining inhalation therapy with rose oils followed by the manipulation of your 3rd eye, 6th chakra and marma touchpoints via dripping oil and massage. Therapists in these parts have been performing the same rituals for over 5,000 years—it’s as “authentic” an Ayurvedic experience as it gets.
A little to the west, the Rajasthan region is India’s most heralded historic travel destination due to the majestic forts, intricately carved temples and old havelis (grand mansions). The Oberoi Rajvilas is nestled here in the city of Jaipur, which completes the “Golden Triangle” with Agra and New Delhi. This residential desert setting is India in its most blissful state, with 54 rooms set around tranquil gardens inside fortress-like walls.
“The Oberoi Spa is housed in a restored 250 year-old Rajasthani havelli with handpainted frescos,” says GM Marc Denton. “The private therapy suites feature a dhroni, a traditional wooden Ayurvedic bed, where the treatments are administered.”
Any group feedback about the treatments?
“One guest said, ‘If heaven doesn’t have this spa package, I ain’t going there,’” says Denton. “Many people have told me, ‘This was the best spa experience I have had.’”
And why do you think that is, Mr. Denton?
“The therapists recommend the appropriate massage and oils to suit each individual guest’s needs and ensure the best authentic Indian spa experience.”
Just down the road toward Mumbai, The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is a restored Rajasthani moated palace with 63 suites with private courtyards leading to the moat. It’s Bollywood glamor to the absolute hilt. Overlooking Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Spa offers the same varied Ayurveda treatments as those above. But we’re feeling strongly about the 3-day Monsoon Yoga program combining spa treatments, dietary education and yoga lessons devised to relax, purify and rejuvenate—in that order.
“The objective is for our guests to experience traditional Indian therapies inspired by the Ayurvedic principles of health and well-being,” says Torsten van Dullemen, GM. “Guests may also choose a personalized wellness program in consultation with the resident Ayurvedic doctor.”