Five Steps To Creating The World’s Best Spa Resort

Christopher Old

Ananda in the Himalayas is a haven of tranquility and luxury in the Indian Himalayas. Voted as CN Traveller’s ‘World’s Best Spa’, we take a look at the five things that make it the world’s best spa resort. 

1. Location

Located in the tranquil Himalayan foothills, close to the mythological cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, surrounded by graceful Sal forests and overlooking the peaceful Ganges as it meanders into the distance.  You’d be forgiven for the assumption that Ananda’s stunning location alone may have earned it the prestigious CN Traveller ‘World’s Best Spa’ award.

Its location is only one part of the story, however. Ananda is the spiritual pathway to the ultimate, discovered through the union of body, mind and soul. With an extensive menu of over 80 body and beauty treatments, Ananda integrate the traditional Indian systems of Ayurveda with the more contemporary Western spa approach.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

2. Prestige

Set in the grounds of a former maharaja’s palace, nearby Rishikesh, the birthplace of Yoga and where The Beatles went to meditate, the royal connection extends to the British Royal Family too – with Prince Charles having recently undergone the unique therapies here. Their revitalising treatments have also been sampled by figures as diverse as Frederick Forsyth, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet and Bill Gates.

The allure of the resort is symbolic of the magical powers of the Himalayas. A venture into the Himalayas is more than a mere journey: it is a yatra, a pilgrimage, to a mountainous terrain said to be charged with the power and energy of the goddess Parvati. The Himalayas are a destination to find a tranquil place of meditation and pureness of body and soul. Staying at Ananda leads to total relaxation while being and reconnection to the soul and natural surroundings.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

3. Treatments

With unique focus on the traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, Ananda in the Himalayas creates a skilful synthesis between age-old therapies and modern spa technology. Personalised programmes, tailored to individual requirements, are designed to meet personal needs and health goals, setting guests on the path to rejuvenation.

The treatments at the resort are based on a simple philosophy: in ancient India, holistic living was a way of life. People inherently understood the balance of nature, the ways of the Universe and how the elements affected not just their physical health, but their mental well-being. It was understood that if they achieved harmony within, they would be at peace with their surroundings.

On the fast track to progress, our world changed as did we; but deep within us we have always understood and upheld the beliefs and principles of our ancestors. To seek harmony, to balance themselves again, to be one with their surroundings, Indians have been known to ‘retreat’ to the peace and quiet of the mountains…to the stillness of the hills and the natural flow of the rivers. This is the very philosophy which brought Ananda in the Himalayas into being.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

4. Service

Every aspect of Ananda in the Himalayas is designed with tranquility in mind. Staff at the resort are unfailingly kind and gentle, lending Ananda a special healing energy.

Daily activities, including meditation, cooking demonstrations, Vedanta classes, Yoga, billiards, golf and cultural programmes, such as the Aarti ceremony of thanks, performed on the banks of the mighty Ganges, take place across the gorgeous grounds, in delightful locations like the Music Pavilion, Maharaja’s Library, Amphitheatre and the stunning Palace.

Ananda believes that each individual is unique. This is why the programmes and experiences they offer are all tailored to personal requirements. Individual needs are assessed prior to the start of the chosen programme, through a personal consultation with Ayurveda and wellness consultants. This is an intrinsic part of assisting the individual on their private journey to understanding the self.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

5. Unadulterated Luxury

Pure, simple luxury permeates Ananda in the Himalayas. Villas on the resort come with a spacious living room, a pantry for the butler, a dressing room and a huge bathroom. They also include private swimming pools, with jacuzzis, and stunning views out across the Himalayas and Ganges. Guests are able to roam the expansive, picturesque grounds and make full use of the top-of-the-range Hydrotherapy facilities: steam, sauna, chill plunge pool, Kneipp hydrotherapy foot bath and heated lap pool.

Dosha-specific menus from the resort’s fine dining restaurant are available. The menu is focused on providing better living, comprising of delicacies from Asian and western platters. Meals are enriched with the vivid flavour of organic vegetables and herbs. The restaurant is built in a grove of old Sal trees, overlooking the valley of Rishikesh, the light warmth of the early morning sun or the evening stars adding to the rejuvenation cuisine.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

Below we take a look at some of Ananda’s finest treatment packages:

Ananda Yoga Revitalisation

Yoga at Ananda is completely pure and traditional in form, stemming from the roots of Hatha yoga and adapted to suit individual needs. It is a disciplined science encompassing all aspects of life in different ways and levels to balance the mind, body and spirit. This helps to restore perfect health and leads us from consciousness to super consciousness, resulting ultimately in eternal bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, which is the aim of Yoga.

Ananda’s experienced Yoga teachers are trained to understand your personal objectives and goals during your stay at Ananda and beyond. A specific Yoga and meditation programme will be designed for guests to assist on the journey of life, balancing their being and assisting them to achieve health and well being.

Ananda practises and teaches the techniques of the Bihar School of Yoga, also known as Satyananda Yoga. This technique is a union of many personal development approaches based on traditional yogic teachings in conjunction with modern physical and mental health sciences.

Take the path to super consciousness. Find out more about Ananda’s Yoga Revitalisation.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

Ananda Detox Retreat

The Ananda Detox programme has been carefully designed not only to detox the body but also the mind. This personalised programme includes stimulating and purifying dosha specific Ayurvedic therapies, yoga, meditation and a dosha-specific Ayurvedic diet to help detox, reduce stress and improve health. The healing process involves herbal medication, massage and periodic liberation of toxins through two Sneha Vastis, enemas with medicated oils.

With a unique focus on the traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, the Ananda Detox will use a skillful synthesis between age-old therapies and modern spa technology. The personalised therapy and activities programmes are designed to meet individual needs and health goals, through de-stressing, detoxification and cleansing, deep relaxation, anti-ageing and weight and inch loss, while also offering guidance in the areas of nutrition and exercise.

The detox diet on this retreat will include two salt free, non spicy diet days to enable the body to remove water retention. A cleansing diet, with light fruit, vegetable and juice inclusions will help clean the body of toxins. After a few days digestion will feel lighter, with an increase of energy levels and improved mental attention.

Purify and stimulate mind, body and soul. Find out more about Ananda’s Detox Retreat.

Ananda: World's Best Spa

Ananda Ayurvedic Rejuvenation

The Ayurvedic consultation on this luxury spa retreat focuses on balancing the three bio energetic forces in the human body, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, the universe is made of five primordial elements: earth, air, fire, water and ether.

While the elements themselves are inanimate, in combination they give rise to the three aforementioned forces. The Ananda Rejuvenation includes stimulating and purifying therapies, daily Yoga and Meditation and a dosha specific Ayurvedic diet to help reduce stress, improve health and address common ailments or simply delay the ageing process.

Rebalance your being. Find out more about Ananda’s Ayurvedic Rejuvenation.


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  • Steve Caldwell

    My wife and I went here in 2011 and we were just blown away. From the minute we got there to the time we left the service was impeccable. The high teas were a highlight, the SPA treatments special and our meals in the restaurant a delight.

  • Gina

    I’ve heard a lot about Ananda and this makes me want to there even more! Looks like an amazing place of tranquility.

  • Gracie

    Great article. This is really interesting.