As my taxi pulled into Atmantan, a destination wellness resort about 130 kilometres from Mumbai off the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, I felt an instant gratification of the non-digital kind sweeping over me. The green expanse of the Sahyadris was broken only by the countless waterfalls (27, I was told at check-in) and the waters of the Mulshi lake that glimmered at the foothills. The mountains seemed to be sulking as monsoon clouds threatened to obscure them with their thick blanket and occasional rain. The setting appeared perfect for a wellness resort.
Located in a lush valley adjoining the Mulshi lake, Atmantan opened in April this year, filling a void of such getaways in the western region (barring the popular ones in the South, the other prominent names are located in the North—Vana in Dehradun and Ananda in Rishikesh). Wellness retreats signify a new trend in the hospitality landscape, spurred by the increasing interest in organic food and alternative therapies, as well as relaxing and healing getaways that offer a holistic experience for the mind and body. Among the largest of its kind in Asia, Atmantan is spread across 42 acres, its 106 rooms strategically positioned to provide an uninterrupted view of the lake. The carefully designed architecture incorporates large vistas and open spaces while the wellness infrastructure includes 23 customised therapy rooms, including a hammam.
I make my way to my own room, one with a lake view, in which floor-to-ceiling windows allow for natural light and offer unhindered views of the surroundings. My day begins with the cleansing rituals of jal neti, eye wash and salt water gargles supervised by a naturo-therapist. As the day progresses, led by wellness consultants, I open doors with handles designed in the shape of frangipani leaves and walk into massage rooms, luxuriating in therapy after therapy. The interiors, by Mint Leaf, Pune, are designed to ‘evoke the zen in you’. Besides the alternative therapies, serious fitness goals can also be met at the hi-tech gymnasium, aerobic studio, spinning studio, yoga studio, a multi-functional pilates and dance studio and an indoor salt pool. “While overseeing the construction, I trekked to the mountain tops regularly, at least thrice a week,” says Nikhil, a triathlete who recently completed his Ironman, a tough endurance race, in Sweden. In fact, it was athletics that got Sharmilee and Nikhil interested in pranic healing, a method that uses energy (prana) to cleanse the auras. Sharmilee recalls how Nikhil had a minor sports injury and pranic healing helped him immensely. After that, he even participated in the Ironman last year. Sharmilee is a pranic healing practitioner too.
Image: Courtesy Atmantan
An indoor salt water pool at the property
The resort’s wellness principles extend to the food as well. “Eat only three-fourths of your normal diet,” says my wellness consultant, as a general rule of the thumb. The restaurant serves really small portions, in line with the philosophy of eating more attentively. The meals served at the Vistara restaurant, one of the three restaurants at the resort, are delicious. From egg white frittatas to grilled coin-sized pita bread with three types of hummus, and green tea soba noodles, the food did make me desperate for more, but my body soon got into the rhythm of moderate consumption and my cravings stopped.
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(This story appears in the Sep-Oct 2016 issue of ForbesLife India. To visit our Archives, click here.)