Sitting in a nondescript parlor in sunny Varkala, waiting my turn for an Abhyanga massage, my mind takes me back to the last spa I visited, its trimmings anything but ‘nondescript’. Even in the land of yoga retreats and Ayurveda, it is hard not to miss Six Senses spa. With unparalleled attention to detail, not to mention, meditation dome and the coolest looking gymnasium we’ve ever seen, its makers have broken all stereotypical ‘spa’ molds in India.
While Six Senses spas have been sprouting in some of the most exotic locales world over, their first property in India has been integrated with the Greater Noida Jaypee Greens resort popular for its weekend-getaway quality and golf course. A 50-minute drive from south Delhi on a weekend afternoon, the suburban retreat is basically 90,000 sq. ft. of eco-cool; the interiors have been done up almost entirely in wood and look out to aromatic and herbal plantations.
Atmosphere and facilities
The Spa’s turquoise-lime-sunset yellow color palette is a sight for sore eyes. The property has been designed to resemble an earthy mountain retreat, all the while suiting the tastes of the well travelled. And needs too – offering wellness and yogic programs, they’re also one of the few with a Moroccan hammam and Watsu pool. We love them for their comfortable changing rooms and for their quirky room signage that indicates whether the space is free or taken.
We love their gymnasium, the wonderfully woody place where a communal style snack bar (health, we’re guessing) meets state-of-the-art equipment. But most importantly, we love them for the private spaces, that depending on the size of the party, can be booked for anything from naps to back rubs, foot massages and make up. We call ourselves aspiring members and our daylong initiation included a metabolism boosting fruit plate, yoga, two treatments and meditation.
Of fruit, yoga and two invigorating treatments
While most people follow the massage-jacuzzi-swimming pool ritual for a relaxing weekend, at Six Senses they will have you embrace overall wellbeing. We were quick to catch on, eat our exotic fruit, change into the comfy set of yoga clothes given and stretch those sore muscles in a 50-minute yoga session. The private Yoga Wellness Class with Shubhum Barthwal was perfect for a first timer and not in the least bit intimidating as some might think.
Having worked up a bit of an appetite, I got myself a quick hit of spa cuisine – a grilled Mediterranean sandwich served with a side of salad leaves. This was followed by some pre-therapy piping hot ginger tea and dried apricots after which I was made to change out of the comfy yoga gear, into an even comfier robe. The next bit has been somewhat unforgettable – being bathed, shot at with water jets and scrubbed, with steam room intervals.
There is nothing commonplace about lying on a slab of cool marble and being slathered with everything from mint to cocoa bean and shea butter.
Whether your skin is tired from the winter-getting-into-summer routine or you’re simply in the mood for pampering and some mild exfoliation, you’re going to love the Hammam Treatment.
And make sure you ask for Tsomo, my therapist and also goddess in disguise, who made being shot at with jets seem indulgent.
After 80 minutes of playing steam-soap-scrub-mask-moisturizer and steam again in the ‘hammam’ or ‘royal bath’, I took a quick shower and headed to another treatment room for a classic Swedish massage.
Going from cool marble clad confines to serene candle-lit therapy rooms can be quite therapeutic on its own.
After what was a perfect time in a perfectly spacious room, it was time to get changed for a 30-minute meditation session.
Floor cushions in soothing colors and incense dot the meditation dome that has been designed to invoke a state of submission to the inner self. Here you’ll be advised to sit comfortably, briefed about what you’re about to experience and when you’re ready, taken on a journey of finding your center. For someone like me who has not once been successful at meditating, the combination of relaxing therapies and the transcendent setting seemed to be helping.
I find nothing nicer than the prospect of fleeing the Delhi summer for a do-over. At this point, I must mention that one doesn’t have to opt for both treatments and that if you had to pick one, the Cocoa Bean and Shea Butter Hammam Therapy has my stamp. That said, I would advise you to follow it up with a light to medium intensity massage not unlike the Swedish if you want to feel absolutely blissful.
Speaking of advise, checking yourself in to the host resort that boasts fine dining, Jacuzzi and Forest Essentials kitted rooms, and mounds of green for as far as the eye can see, can’t be such a bad idea. From there, one can nip down to the spa in golf buggies whenever. And if you want to take home more than just a healthy glow, do not leave here without checking out the to-go products on offer. I was sent off with a bottle of Moroccan hair serum and I thank them after every application.
The Royal Hammam with Cocoa Beans and Shea Butter /1 hour 40 minutes
Single 6,200 INR plus tax / Couple 10,000 INR plus tax
Packages start at 41,000 INR for two and include buffet breakfast, select treatments and deluxe accommodation
Six-month Spa Membership starts at 95,000 INR per person.