Vana Malsi Estate Review by Michelle Jana Chan20/09/2017, Michelle Jana Chan
We recently sent Tatler travel journalist Michelle Jana Chan to the world-renowned Vana Malsi Estate wellness centre in India where she managed to find a place of calm in an otherwise cluttered mind.
1.How would you describe your experience at Vana?
It felt safe, I immediately felt at home and comfortable, with so much going on in the world and the hysteria in the media, Vana felt like a refuge from the outside chaos. Life has definitely had its ups and downs recently but entering such a welcoming and serene environment can really bring you back down to earth and helped me to put my life into perspective. I would never have thought that a week away could have such a profound effect on my current approach to life.
2. What do you think makes Vana so special?
Each element of my week was so cohesive; Vana was special to me because it was perfect just how it was. The whole design was flawless, the soft colours and wooden furnishings throughout really accentuate the connection to nature within Vana. The entire programme just flowed perfectly together with treatments I had never experienced before and knowledgeable therapists who taught me so much about my body; it was an extremely insightful and special experience.
3. What was your favourite treatment (with details)?
The Kunye treatment with therapist Ngawang was by far my favourite, this ancient treatment dates back over 5000 years and is a traditional Tibetan therapy. One of the best parts of the treatment was its authenticity and the effort that went into it, the ambience was set as it began with Tibetan chanting as Ngawang selected essential oils to suit my body typology. The Kunye felt like several treatments in one as it turned from a sensual smooth massage to a more intense experience as Ngawang used acupressure to work out the subtle aches and pains I had felt before arriving, leaving me feeling light and nimble. As the treatment began to wind down hot stones and salt were used to draw out any further pain and bad energy. Afterwards, it was as though a weight had been lifted; I felt at ease and spent the rest of the day smiling.
4. Who was your favourite therapist and why?
It would be impossible to pick just one, the staff at Vana all had a warm and welcoming aura, even those who I would not see regularly would always have a smile on their face and greet you kindly. Ngawang was one of the standout members of staff, during my Kunye treatment with him he had a lovely manner but was also very confident in what he was doing and rightfully so. I had a particular rapport with Dolma who worked in the spa; she was very sweet and had a great nature about her.
5. What were your first impressions of Vana?
From the outside, it’s, a very bold design, yet understated with its neutral colour and beautiful lush greenery. The Yoga Temple was one of the first things I noticed, it’s a very striking design and refelects the level of effort that went into Vana, instead of just an exercise studio like so many other retreats use, they took it to a new level of luxury and built a temple!
6. Outside of your room, where was your favourite place to spend time?
The hotel as a whole was great, you can often go to international spas on a programme and feel like you’re merely there to detox or just get a few treatments, however, Vana really felt like a holiday. From the rooftop pool to the beautiful greenery and grounds surrounding to walk around in, I felt like I was on a vacation and had so much to do, to fill my free time when I wasn’t receiving a relaxing treatment.
7. Who would you recommend Vana to?
I think anyone who is willing and able to disconnect from the outside world and truly immerse themselves in the experience. I may generally suggest it for a slightly older audience however if anyone younger was willing to have a quiet week to decompress too then I would suggest it to those of most ages. From my personal experience, I think it was a great place to experience alone and would suggest that others experience it solo, I found being alone I was able to be more vulnerable and spend more time in my own company, and in turn, learn more about myself.
8. Any insider tips?
Don’t miss the tucked-away Tibetan meditation rooms, reflecting pool, shrines and library down the hall from where the treatments happen.
Make sure you experience the Raag therapies — live traditional music — ‘under the Bodhi tree’, which is in a room with a sensational metal sculpture of a tree.
Don’t feel uncomfortable ordering more dishes than you might at home e.g. two desserts…The food is so delicious it always leaves you wanting more!
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