Until now, the word ‘holiday’ would bring visuals of sipping a glass of expensive sparkling wine whilst gazing at pristine snow-covered mountains or reveling in the breathtaking sunset at a beach. However, attitudes have changed and the people are re-defining the concept of a ‘holiday’. They, now, want to return feeling healthier, fitter and spiritually richer! “Wellness retreats have seen a huge interest over the last few years. The urban life is getting more and more disconnected from nature, compelling people to take breaks to reconnect with their surroundings. Like children miss play grounds, adults miss having meaningful interactions with nature, animals, organic food and the opportunity to bond as family. At Fazlani Natures Nest, our equine therapy sessions, duck parades and organic food gardens have been immensely popular for the same reasons. With so many good options within drivable distances from Mumbai and Pune, wellness retreats in the region have been doing extremely well,” says Hemant Bagga, CEO, Fazlani Natures Nest.


LET NATURE WORK ON YOUR STRESS


Health holidays are all about spending time in nature and allowing its healing powers to work on your mind and body. A health resort helps you put yourself first. It takes you away from your hectic life and helps you re-connect with yourself, while placing your needs, wants and desires on top of everything else. The idea is to make you fall in love with yourself. After all, ‘you’ as your top priority is not entirely as selfish as it sounds; in fact it is the very need of the hour!” says Nikhil Kapur, founder, Atmantan Retreat, Pune.

Homemaker Shalini Desai recently spent a few days at a health retrest near Lonavala and returned feeling rejuvenated. “I recently visited Fazlani Nature’s Retreat with my family and had a soulful time at the property. Apart from boasting some of the goregous views, the property has experiences that are not only beneficial for your physical health but also your mental health. Equine therapy is a very striking experience. Interacting with the horses as well as learning the art of horse riding was indeed an enjoyable experience. Moreover, there are several peacocks and turkeys around the gorgeous property. These little things that bring you close to nature, thus enhancing your holiday experience,” says Desai.

FOCUS ON WELLNESS
Too much drinking and eating out on a holiday adds to the toxic levels in the body. In such a scenario, a health / weight-loss holidays that focus on feeding you only locally grown, organic food are ideal. “I don’t like the idea of feeling stuffed and bloated post a vacation. So, my husband and I often plan to visit health resorts instead of opting for a glamourous holidays. Many properties in and around Maharastra promote healthy eating. The food served at these resorts is flavourful and appealing, sans any unhealthy ingredients like sugar, maida, table salt etc.,” says marketing professional Jiya Sharma. “Since most people visit a health retreat for complete relaxation, they don’t want to be put on a strict diet or be refused from consuming certain food groups. But at the same time, their aim is to return feeling lighter and in better shape. Hence, the trick is to serve low-calorie, organic and fresh spa food in controlled portions,” says Chef Sandeep Biswas.

Top 5 wellness retreats in Maharashtra

1. Fazlani Natures Nest: Located near Pune, this wellness lake resort and spa offers over 50+ therapies including Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yoga Chinese treatments, Equine Therapy and authentic farm-to-fork dining experience. Residents are also charmed by its daily duck parades that thrill both children and adults alike. Other must-do activities are outdoor picnics, farm tours, rose gardens, pottery workshops, art classes and more.

2. Atmantan: Overlooking the gorgeous Mulshi Lake, Atmantan is perched on top of a unique crystal hill. They offer delicious spa cuisine to go with the wellness routine. The property is also reupted for its top-notch fitness sessions!

3. The Ark Wellness Retreat: Libraries, herbal gardens, pond, pool, bicycles, board games and art decks await you at The Ark! The boutique wellness retreat is located just 45 minutes from Pune and has luxurious ways to unwind in the lap of nature. Their spa offers unique ayurvedic and international therapies.

4. Basho’s Resorts: On the fringes of Mulshi Lake, Basho’s offers a rustic getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. With a supersize pool, open air entertainment area and yoga sessions, Basho’s is budget luxury that helps the mind and body to relax after a long week.

5. Hilton Shillim Estate: Nestled in the lap of the Sahyadris, Hilton Shillim offers personalized Dharana wellness programs to fit every need. Wellness activities like yoga, meditation, conservation walks and cooking school make your time here extremely relaxing and rewarding.

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