Friday, October 30, 2009

The uninhibited spa: Goa, India


Ayurvedic massage, decadent body oils and exotic aromas.
By Carly Milne

The Spa at The Leela Kempinski hotel, Goa, India, theleela.com/hotel-goa.html.
Situated on 75 acres of land, The Spa at the Leela Kempinski Goa is the perfect seaside getaway. With an open-air lobby, a carved stone embellishment and a majestic statue of Shiva at the end of a seemingly endless hallway, the spa exudes tranquility. On the grounds, there are fruit plantations and a spice farm, and daily yoga and meditation classes promote health and wellness. While the spa offers typical Western services in its eight treatment rooms, it specializes in traditional Indian treatments. After stripping down for my Ayurvedic massage, I don my cloth robe and select a soundtrack of serene chanting. As the massage begins, warm oil is poured onto my head and then slathered all over my naked torso—which is not covered by a towel or sheet. This is not a treatment for the bashful spa-goer. Putting my inhibitions aside, I get into the zone and let go. It’s well worth it—the end result is soft, supple, glowing skin. In your own backyard:
Vida Spa, The Sutton Place Hotel, 845 Burrard St., Vancouver, 604-682-8410, vidawellness.com. For Vida’s 90-minute Ayurvedic Shirodhara treatment ($190), custom-blended oil is heated and poured over your naked body from head to toe (albeit under a sheet), following an all-over body massage. —Adriana Ermter
Find out how to get this spa experience at home.

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