Just back from Atmantan – my first time to a Wellness Resort… well what’s it really like?
The greatest wealth we can possess really is good health…..the Roman poet Virgil was right centuries ago and never more so than today. Compared to previous generations, our incomes have gone up, our choices have increased, we can travel more, we have information highways to keep us informed of the latest fashions, the newest gadgets, the best restaurants and so on and of course we have become very discerning in what we like or don’t like.
But hold on a minute; what choices are we really making when it comes to eating and drinking, and how we choose to spend our leisure time? Your reporter isn’t overweight, she works out in the gym, does a bit of yoga and tries to make healthy choices when it comes to food and drink. And yet my 3-day retreat at Atmantan near Pune in India left me fitter, healthier and happier than I had been for a while. Here’s why you should give it a try.
What is Atmantan?
Atmantan is a luxurious, well being resort located in a rural setting where you can do as little or as much as you like. There are 138 villa type rooms dotted around the beautifully landscaped 42 acre property that is bordered by the Mulshi dam on one side and the Sahadri Mountains on the other. It felt a bit like Colorado to me at times and the views were a bit like Bali!
Muslhi where Atmantan is located is 2200 feet above sea level.
Atmantan is made up of three words, Mind, Body and Soul and you can participate in activities that focus on just 1 of these aspects or on those that integrate all 3. Try Salsa dancing or Neti yoga, have one of the many massages on offer, go on a trek up a mountain, do a breathing class, have a swim or do nothing and just indulge in the perfectly balanced and tasty meals lingering over the lake views. It’s really up to you;
Atmantan isn’t about piling on more pressure.
Where is Atmantan located?
Atmantan is 1.5 hours drive away from Pune airport in India. There are direct flights to Pune on Spice Jet and Air India Express from Dubai and via Jet airways from Abu Dhabi. It’s a short flight of around 2. 5 hours. You could fly in to Mumbai, that’s a 4 hour drive away.
The drive from Pune is easy and the resort comes to pick you up from the airport. There is a small stretch of road that’s quite pot holed and rough just before you come to the resort, but it’s a matter of a few minutes on this stretch.
Accommodation at Atmantan
All the rooms at Atmantan are very well appointed and sleep 2 people. Many have peaceful, balcony views and a big scenic window in the bathroom. There is one large suite, the Mango Tree villa that has it’s own pool and private massage beds within the rooms. They are currently constructing a 2-bedroom villa on the property.
Having a good night’s sleep is paramount to having a good day and it’s worth noting that Atmantan is the only resort in India at the moment (as at March 2018) to have the Eclipse branded mattresses that have been approved by the American Association of Chiropractors. Your reporter can guarantee you a supreme sleep at Atmantan and would go so far as to invest in these mattresses for home use.
Food at Atmantan
All meals will be included in your package at Atmantan and you can expect to eat well three times a day. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all served in a very scenic location at the resort’s Vistara restaurant. The wellness philosophy certainly applies to the food at Atmantan where organic produce is the norm. Recipes are carefully thought out by the chef and include a whole array of different cuisines, although one of my favourites was the lunchtime thali.
But being healthy doesn’t mean no meat or fish options! Each meal is perfectly balanced and you can see precisely the nutritional information connected to each dish from the number of grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat as well as the number of calories. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get desserts or food that looks very insta worthy! We loved the Heaven Tart…
Some guests are given specific dietary plans to follow based on their health profile, while others have little things incorporated that would help certain conditions. So expect a very strong tasting shot made of bitter gourd juice for the pre diabetics for example!
I loved the breakfast in a glass course made with kefir, nuts and fruit. But then I also loved the dosas made with sweet potato filling too. Do you see how innovative healthy food can be?
Activities at Atmantan
Before you arrive at the resort you will be asked to complete a confidential questionnaire related to your health and general well being. You can also highlight any particular issues you’d like the health staff to be aware of at this time. Your responses form the basis of a wellness consultation that you have on arrival.
A few appropriate activities will be suggested and a potential timetable drawn up for you for the duration of your stay. Nothing is compulsory, but I undertook and was very happy with everything that was suggested for me.
They have 24 massage rooms at the Atmantan, so while you do have to book your treatments, it’s always likely you’ll get a slot with a good therapist. There are many Ayurvedic massages – Ayur means health – and your reporter was impressed with the quality of the oils used for treatments. Try the Vedic Spice massage for general well being administered using red thyme and cardamom oil.
The most unique massage treatment on offer and well worth having is the Chi Nei Tsang massage that is administered using mainly but not exclusively the elbows of a very experienced therapist. The aim of the treatment is to try and literally renew the blood in each major organ. Your abdomen will be a little sore for a couple of days after this massage, but this was the one that was most in demand. Apparently my organs are filled with positive energy! This treatment focuses on strengthening the immune system and releasing any energy blocks in the body.
Most of the massages and specialized treatments are chargeable, but some may be included in your package. However there is a whole timetable of free activities you can participate in from yoga, to meditation, to mindful walks and even Ayurvedic cooking classes. So the dilemma you will have is what to choose in just 3 days! It is perhaps for this reason there is an offer that entitles you to stay for 5 days but only pay for 3. Take it if you can!
We also completed an early morning trek that left at 6.30am. This was an amazing experience but the route up the mountain is quite steep and you must have proper shoes to attempt this. But rest assured, you are with a very experienced and supportive guide all the way.
Room for Improvement at Atmantan
- Overall Atmantan is a great choice for a high quality, luxurious wellness break. The location and setting are both scenic and convenient. The choice of activities both chargeable and free is also very comprehensive. You won’t be hungry, but you may like me, crave coffee or sometimes want an extra dosa. Don’t worry you can get both if you really want.
- However I think the experience could be improved perhaps if the resort spent a little time informing everyone of the importance of eating more slowly and chewing their food. That may be obvious to some people, but not to many it seems. That way a slower meal will leave you fuller for longer and of course digestion would be enhanced if you thoroughly chewed each mouthful.
- I would also prefer it if they referred to the “doctors” at the resort who deal with physiotherapy, Ayurveda and holistic treatments as health professionals in their field. The term doctor can be a little misleading.
- And lastly as it’s quiet at the resort after dinner, perhaps a little early evening mock tail and snack session to introduce people to each other and then some communal tables would be an effective way to keeping everyone smiling! We met some lovely people at Atmantan who’d travelled there from all over the world. That just added to our experience. Go try for yourself and stay well.