Describing itself as a ‘holistic ashram of the contemporary world’, Vana Retreat in India is a luxurious integrated lifestyle sanctuary that aims to nourish guests physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Concealed within 21-acres of rural landscapes and surrounded by reserve sal forest and exotic fruit orchards, Vana Retreat is based in Dehradun, India. With the hills of Mussoorie to the north and the small town of Dehradun to the east, the retreat is located approximately one hour’s drive from Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport. Vana offers complimentary airport assistance and transfers.
Vana’s unique architecture and striking aesthetic is one of its standout features. There are 66 spacious bedroom suites and 16 shared wellness living spaces on the estate, all of which flaunt the avant-garde design concept and innovative style touches. The retreat’s design philosophy is based on contemporary shapes, natural and sustainable materials (including bamboo flooring and FSC certified wood), thoughtful lighting and a neutral colour palette to evoke a sense of comfort, harmony and wellbeing. These values are artfully expressed at each and every turn. All of the bedroom suites have forest-facing balconies or terraces and many of them also have fireplaces, meditation areas and private spa treatment rooms.
Along with the impressive accommodation facilities, the retreat also has an outdoor pool, an indoor heated pool, a watsu (water shiatsu) pool, a state-of-the-art gymnasium with kinesis machines, two yoga studios, a group fitness studio and two tennis courts.
Like everything at Vana, the dining menu has been carefully curated to please the taste buds of the fussiest health-conscious traveller. Vana believes a nutritious culinary experience is a vital aspect of the healing journey and serves up a variety of non-vegetarian, vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as a tasty collection of classic Indian dishes prepared according to Ayurvedic cooking principles. Nutritional information can be found on all menus to help guests make informed choices.
However, Vana is not prescriptive about a guest’s diet unless it is essential for their retreat objective. The retreat uses local, seasonal, fresh and organic produce as much as possible, and sources indigenous varieties where possible. Tofu, soya milk and freshly-made cheese are sourced locally and seasonal vegetables supplied by a local organic cooperative. Vana does not use air-freight to import food, and refined sugars, grains and oils are not used in the retreat’s kitchen.
Providing a ‘refuge of wellbeing’ for its guests, Vana’s all-encompassing wellness programme covers all bases. Harmony, nourishment and vitality are top priorities and subsequently, the retreat crafts a personalised wellness itinerary for each guest, based on retreat objectives outlined by each individual, upon arrival. Each treatment, consultation and private spa and wellness session has a value in ‘wellness weights’ (usually between one and two). Each retreat includes two wellness weights per guest, per night. All retreats are personalised and flexible, and additional wellness weights can be added à la carte if necessary.
Led by a team of specialists, practitioners and experts, holistic wellness activities include yoga, Tibetan meditation, Tai Chi, aqua therapy, nutritional cuisine lessons, mindful tea classes and Sufi singing sessions. Special spiritual and seasonal retreats are also offered, along with a ‘Retreat Residency’ programme, in which emerging and established artists, musicians, academics and spiritual gurus share their knowledge and skills with guests. To ensure retreats are effective, Vana has a strict seven-night minimum stay policy.
Expect to feel…like you have spent a week in the Rolls Royce of retreats.
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