Vana, Malsi Estate
Author: Julie Earle-Levine
Photography: Courtesy Vana
12:00AM, Apr 11, 2014
Renew and revitalise in the sublime foothills of the Himalayas.
Veer Singh's dream to create the "most iconic wellness retreat in the world" formed during the time he spent farming in Spain in 2006, growing organic herbs and vegetables.
His family, based in New Delhi, bought 8.5 hectares of mango and
lychee orchards surrounded by forest in Dehradun, in the northern
Indian state of Uttarakhand. After nearly five years of
construction and some $170 million later, 31-year-old Singh has
opened Vana, Malsi Estate, in the foothills
of the Himalayas, a one-hour flight from Delhi.
Vana features traditional therapies in a super-stylish setting. Most of the 86 guest suites face the forest, "a view that is healing in itself", says Singh. His design brief to the Spanish architect Esteva i Esteva Arquitectura was to "work with nature and exist in it" and the resulting sleek design is unusual in Indian hotels. The interiors are mid-century modern, in soothing neutral palettes with hardwood floors, custom furniture and organic cotton. Meditation rooms within the suites burn incense from a nearby Tibetan monastery. The spa cuisine is an artful highlight - perhaps fish, green-tea noodles and vegetables in a soy broth - and is mostly sourced from the property's organic garden and local farms.
Indian, Tibetan and Chinese therapies in their purest forms are customised for each guest and overseen by an Ayurvedic doctor. "Spa treatments are not remixes of anything else and are very traditional," says spa manager Melany Martinez Thomas. Not to be missed is the Tibetan healing treatment, called "dhugs", featuring warm poultices of medicinal herbs. Follow with a dip in a pool overlooking the Mussoorie hills, with monkeys swinging in the trees nearby.
Three-day retreats cost from 35,000 rupees (about $630) a night, including daily treatments, all meals and airport transfers. Vana, Malsi Estate, Mussoorie Road, Dehradun, India. +91 135 391 1111.