If you were raised in the Indian way, you’ve definitely had a childhood maalish wali—a woman adept in the art of tough massage to help babies build muscle tone. Some of us, as adults, go on to retain on-call maalish men or women, who are happy to rough us up (in a good way). But for some gentler pampering, there are more than enough spas in New Delhi to help you bliss out. The city’s best spa retreats (many of which are set in luxury hotels) dole out sumptuous extras—like fluffy towels and lemon-infused teas—along with some of the best health and beauty techniques from around the world. The massage styles at these places can range from Swedish to Thai to our very own Kerala Ayurvedic, whose effectiveness no Indian dreams to question. And many combine traditional healing practices with modern medical science and divine-smelling products. Whether you’re in for some ritualistic girlie bonding or much-needed alone time, here are the best spa experiences that Delhi has to offer.
Devarana Spa at Dusit Devarana
Of all the things I love about this spa, what I appreciate most is the natural light. Treatment rooms here are smartly constructed to offer an al fresco kind of feeling—while still offering the kind of privacy that MI5 couldn’t break through. The contemporary haven is a soothing place to indulge in traditional therapies, including Ayurvedic massage.
Kaya Kalp at ITC Maurya
In Sanskrit, kaya kalp means rejuvenation—and this salon stays true to its name with Indian rituals of wellness. The Ayurvedic treatments are created to heal not just with touch, but also to affect all other senses. The Passage to India Spa Journey might be the best way to introduce yourself to the city.
Blossom Kochhar, Hauz Khas Village
Let’s face it, you’ll need some calming down after swimming through the sea of people at Hauz Khas Village. Blossom Kochhar is an old hand at natural beauty products, and the trained hands at this vertical sprawl of a spa know what they’re doing. The massage therapy room is on the top floor, which means nobody can see in, but you get a postcard pretty view of the deer park.
Amaltas Spa by L’Occitane, Anya Hotel
Located within the spanking-new hotel in Gurgaon, this spa is the only one in the city to exclusively use L’Occitane products. We’ve all had at least one brush with the brand’s famous hand creams—or tried product testers at their duty-free stations when in transit—so this spa provides the perfect opportunity to get an a more in-depth experience.
The Lodhi Spa at The Lodhi
The staffers at this spa spoil you not just with treatments, but also with choices. The menu of options is extensive; you can take your pick from Swedish deep-tissue massage or a traditional Hammam treatment, Thai massage or an Ayurvedic session to balance your chakras. Whatever you choose, it’s bound to feel great. Hey, patchouli by any name would smell as sweet!