Amin Jaffer
September 18, 2014

A trailblazing retreat at the foot of the Himalayas is reinventing the spa experience.

Set on 21 acres of lychee and mango orchards in the forests of India’s Uttarakhand state, 150 miles north of New Delhi, Vana Malsi Estate is the opposite of a tough-love boot camp. It’s a luxury ashram with an East-meets-West treatment menu, a farm-to-table ethos, and a sleek Modernist design, softened by the sounds of birds, rhesus monkeys, and melodious flute players.

Since it opened last spring, international jet-setters have been using Vana as a one-stop rejuvenation shop. After an initial consultation with a holistic doctor, guests receive a custom-tailored program that includes sessions across various disciplines. Therapists might draw on an ancient healing practice called Sowa Rigpa, from the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute; a Chinese-medicine doctor may read your tongue and face to pinpoint ailments. Flute vibrations elevate meditation classes, held in outdoor pavilions, and days end in a private Watsu pool at the spa.

The 82 rooms, scattered among fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, are done in a latte-hued palette, with floors of sustainably harvested bamboo, organic linens, and artwork by Indian painter Siraj Saxena.

The two restaurants use ingredients grown on site and at nearby cooperatives for vibrant seasonal dishes: virescent pea soup; golden fish moilee with coconut; fiery red curries.

Before leaving, all visitors receive a regimen to apply to their daily lives—keep your citrus intake down; consume daily threads of saffron to boost immunity. The philosophy: getting well is more than a once-a-year system shock. It’s an eternal process. Five nights from $1,925 per person, all-inclusive.

Europe-bound? Three wellness retreats to book now:

Greece: The “om” crowd has been booking up Silver Island Yoga (open April–October), sought after for its off-the-grid location on a private isle north of Athens and eco-conscious sensibility (showers use filtered rainwater).

Switzerland: In the Alps, Lonhea Alpine Clinic is becoming a favorite among professional athletes for its high-tech tools: NASA-developed headgear to improve motor skills; Suunto exercise watches; heart-rate monitoring while you sleep.

Germany: Coming soon: Villa Stéphanie, a refurbished maison at the legendary Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, in Baden-Baden. Its ultra-luxe touches include 15 elegantly styled rooms, private sunken gardens, and a cutting-edge medical center.

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