Retreats For Rejuvenation

Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
The exteriors are unpretentious, blending with the landscape and the lush, carefully tended gardens. Inside, an almost tangible sense of peace and the faint aroma of scented oils and candles pervade. From the delicately patterned muslin drapes to the vibrant murals on the walls, fresh flowers and fruit in bowls, the sound of water, fishes playing hide and seek among lotus leaves in a small pond, the senses are fulfilled. Here is a place where you can leave your cares at the door, even if just for a few hours. This is the world of The Oberoi Spa by Banyan Tree, now a special feature of each Oberoi resort.
Massage is over, madam, whispered a petal soft voice in my ear. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that I had indeed dozed off while Nuis hands (they felt more like feathers, light and soft) worked their magic on my tired body. I shuffled light-headedly into the proffered towelling robe and was led into a cool room with soft white drapes overlooking the swimming pool where I sank into a comfortable wicker armchair, feeling a delicious sense of languor and well-being. It was wonderfully serene and quiet, and the azure waters outside shimmered as they caught the last rays of the sun. Nui floated into the room with a cup of fragrant peppermint tea, accentuated by a sprig of peach blossom on the tray. She left the room as silently as she had entered it and I was left alone with my thoughts and the faint strains of soothing music in the background. The next day, a steam and sauna session was followed by a dip in the invigorating plunge pool, then a special facial treatment from petal-fingered Ying. There was cool, fresh yoghurt to moisturise, watermelon juice to refresh and balance the skin. Cucumber juice and honey for their softening and anti-bacterial properties. Brown sugar and pure sesame oil gently tickled to exfoliate and smoothen and then the massage to restore elasticitythis was how the queens of yesteryear must have felt, I thought, drifting along on clouds of comfort, relaxed enough to feel that I could take on the world. The Oberoi groups alliance with Banyan Tree, one of Asias best-regarded spa management companies, has lent a new dimension to the high standards of hospitality and luxury that the Oberoi resorts are already well known for. The Oberoi Spa promises a unique experience, where the combination of hand picked, rigorously trained staff, fabulous environs, holistic treatments with the finest natural ingredients, special spa menus, plunge pools, saunas and Jacuzzis provide an experience that rejuvenates, refreshes and relaxes both body and mind. These world-class spas in Indonesia, Mauritius and India offer a wide range of non-clinical programmes, incorporating Ayurveda and aromatherapy, some of which can be customised to suit individual needs. Using a blend of aromatic oils and specialised massage techniques (both European and Asian), the deft hands of the masseuse work on the body with firm, yet gentle strokes, to induce relaxation and create a sense of well-being. Tensions fade away in the beautiful environs of the specially designed spa suites that reflect the architecture and landscape of the destination. So you could renew yourself in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, or with a view of the deep cedar forests of the Himalayas, or in private suites overlooking beaches and legendary lakes. The experience is worth savouring.