Atmantan Wellness Resort, Pune, India
Wellness spa in the heart of a luscious valley
Best For: Holistic wellness programmes with a view.
Not For: Hardcore bootcamp-style fitness.
Atmantan is a friendly wellness resort in rural Mulshi near Pune that offers a variety of rejuvenating wellbeing programmes all year round. With a non-judgemental ethos, it welcomes guests who have a variety of wellness needs, from the spiritual to the relaxing, from the rejuvenating to the fitness-focused. There’s delicious inventive food, as well as a view to die for, for it’s set by an exquisite lake surrounded by crystal-imbued mountains.
The epic and jubilant sunrise or sunset hikes. The stunning view of the luscious mountainous valley spread around a sun-dappled lake. The impressive array of holistic wellness programmes and treatments.
On our visit, there was no outdoor pool but a new one is opening early this year.
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Atmantan offers something for everyone, from total novices to fitness buffs, and the variety of their treatments and packages reflect this. Come for a tailored wellness programme dedicated to detoxing, weight loss, wellness or fitness or just book your stay and pick and choose treatments and meals as you wish.
There are a range of customised holistic wellness packages on offer underpinned by medical science and research and each including a before and after health and wellness consultation, body composition analysis and postural assessment. You’ll also have access to group classes and unlimited use of the spa facilities including the steam, sauna and indoor temperature controlled pool. Most packages contain at least a daily massage and a daily holistic treatment although this will vary depending on the individual’s needs and goals. Whichever package you choose, there’s a huge menu of extra treatments on offer, from acupuncture and ayurveda treatments to body wraps and a full range of massages.
Holistic health packages for general de-stressing include: Atmantan Living – for first timers, looking for an introduction to ancient healing practices from all over the world, including Taoist Chi Nei Tsang (tummy massage) and Pranic healing (using breath and visualisation). Spa life – to relax, unwind, and indulge with daily massages, body scrubs, and holistic therapies. Journey Through Yoga – to delve deep into the sacred art of yoga. Holistic Health – for preventive care and natural healing, including yogic techniques and pranic healing, traditional Chinese medicine, cupping and moxibustion, and lymphatic drainage treatments.
Detox and weight loss programmes include the Master Cleanse – for cellular detoxification and its extended benefits. There is a cleanse menu at the restaurant, but for those more practiced Atmantan also accommodates a longer liquid diet. All cleanses are accompanied with detoxification treatments, such as Chi Nei Tseng and Manual Lymphatic Drainage.
You can also choose to do a full Ayurvedic Panchakarma, which combines the healing energies of traditional ayurveda. You begin with a consultation, when your dosha (body type) is determined and the most personally potent therapies are assigned, and you can expect treatments such as traditional Shirodhara, Kativasti, Januvasti, Choorna swedana as well as yoga and herb and steam baths to compliment the purification processes.
The Weight Balance package is designed to help with weight management and lifestyle choices, when fitness options include functional training, vibration training, resistance training, hiking, weights, pilates, cross-training and anti-gravity forms of exercise. Both group classes and personal training are available. Fitness sessions are balanced alongside pampering treatments that also help with weight loss such as body wraps, deep tissue massage and Udwartanam ayurvedic treatment.
There’s a Fitness Challenge package for in depth assessment and challenging exercise regimes. Begin the programme with an in-depth assessment and then enjoy a rigorous mix of intense physical training and relaxing therapies. For those looking for physical postural help, the Restorative Physiotherapy package includes postural assessment, postural integration, and physiotherapy. The Atmantan team are specialists at treating a variety of orthopaedic conditions, from sports injuries to ligament injuries and osteoarthritis.
Whatever package you choose, there are morning and evening yoga sessions in a designated studio next to the indoor pool, with both beginner and intermediate options. Styles of yoga vary, from restorative yoga using props to Iyengar yoga using a rope wall. Twice a day there are also meditation classes that focus on breathing, mantra chanting and visualisation techniques, with one to one teaching options also available.
Kriya yoga is included in all programmes, and there’s a Kriya Yoga Centre, a specially designed chamber filled with a row of sinks for people to come and clean their facial orifices every morning. Guests line up in a row, in front of their own individual sink. They fill up a Neti pot with special medicated water. They then stand in a specific position, with their head tilted to one side, so that the water runs up one nostril, and out the other. Repeat with the other nostril. Afterwards, guests use different vestibules to clean out their eyes, and to clean out their throat using a gargle and spit method.
There’s a range of other group classes available to dip in and out of, from laughter therapy and aqua jam, to paddle board yoga and spinning. The schedule changes weekly, but there are always a mixture of cardio, strength and aquatic classes and classes vary in size and cater for mixed abilities. The most social outdoor activity is the hike, which takes guests to the top of the mountain for sunrise or sunset in the Sahyadhri hills, where the views of valley and lake are exceptional. There is also an outdoor gym with some basic equipment, facing the brilliant view of the lake. And a small Mini Golf Course, for guests that are feeling outdoorsy and playful.
The food at Atmantan is as impressive and exotic as it is varied and healthy and the chefs share their knowledge in a weekly cooking class. Private cooking classes can also be arranged for one-to-ones or small groups. Over a one hour session you might cover how to make a small starter, main course, and desert. The class is administered as a type of performance, with the chef creating the work from one side of the table, and the students sat in chairs the other side of the table. The chef talks through his process, questions are encouraged, and the dishes are voraciously consumed.
Villas: Bedrooms (or villas, as they are called) are all ensuite and lake facing, some with more satisfying views than others. The ground floor villas come with a small garden, but the raised first floor villas have a balcony and a view of the lake. All the rooms are furnished with a comfortable orthopaedic king-size bed, ambient mood lighting and art on the walls. Colours are a mix browns and beiges, with a leather headboard and low hanging light fixtures. The marble cream bathrooms contain both large shower and sunken bath, which is made all the more relaxing with accompanying bath salts.
Other places to be: If you wish to be alone, wander in the grounds and pick a spot to sit and enjoy the view. There are also several terraces, such as outside the indoor pool, where you can sunbathe and chill.
Make sure you request a hike up to the top of the Sahyadhri hills for sunrise or sunset – it is the most epic and jubilant way to truly appreciate the landscape. This is the place to show off your latest gym and yoga gear, rather than your elegant sundresses. The drive from Mumbai airport is a solid 4 to 4.5 hours. If possible consider flying into Pune for a more affordable and shorter commute.
When to Go
It’s particularly recommended you come from November through to March, before it gets too hot or too monsoony.
There are several dining areas, both indoor and outdoor, which can accommodate both communal and private functions. All are situated in the dining centre, which occupies a prime position facing the lake. The Vistara restaurant is the main restaurant and has indoor and outdoor seating, overlooking the lake, with fabulous service.
Food is diverse, healthy and beautifully presented, and a fusion of Indian and international cuisine. Thalis, Buddha Bowls, soups and salads are all on the menu, which also caters for detox and liquid diets. Each menu item is billed alongside its calorie and macro components. Most meals are four courses, but don’t be fooled – this is not a gluttonous affair. The multiple course menu is delicately and thoughtfully assembled with balance and harmony in mind.
For breakfast you might enjoy a fresh juice, smoothie or fruit platter, followed by homemade muesli, porridge, or a cereal basket filled with kefir yoghurt, diced dried fruit, coconut cream and chia seeds. The third course might be zucchini grated omelette, an impressive “very healthy – very English” breakfast with eggs, mushrooms and asparagus, or a paratha filled with cottage cheese.
The lunch and dinner menu is equally as exciting. Buddha bowls range from silken tofu and spiced pomfret to cottage cheese steak in a bed of delicately infused grains. There’s also Moong Dal, with curried sweet potato and pomfret, a delicious citrus infused roasted vegetable salad, aromatic chicken broth soup and homemade fettuccine with pesto. Desserts include brown rice cooked in coconut milk with prunes or Atmantan’s healthy version of a tiramisu.
There’s no red meat, alcohol or caffeine. Juices, teas, and smoothies are available throughout the day. Be sure to try the cardamon infused Atmantan tea.
Atmantan is a Gold LEED-certified project (LEED being the green building certification programme that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices). Most vegetables are grown on Atmantan’s organic farm, 5km from the resort.
Fish and meat are organic and sourced locally. Atmantan has the largest solar hot water installation for a resort in India. Solar energy is the primary source of heating water for almost all water requirements at Atmantan. All the wet kitchen waste is used to create vermicompost, a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner which is used on the site’s plantations.
Mulshi, Pune – 412108, Maharashtra, India
Nearest Airports: Pune and Mumbai
Transfer time: Pune 2 hours; Mumbai 4.5 hours