TRANSFORM YOUR ATMA-MAN-TAN

buddhaMy husband and I are packing our bags for a four-day break at a newly-opened health retreat near Mulshi Lake, Pune. We are thinking of packing swimwear, laptop for checking office e-mails and kindle so that we can read some e-books by the pool to pass the time. However, we don’t end up reading a single page of any e-book and completely forget about our emails or text messages, or you can say “work”. We both are super busy, but in a very healthy and fulfilling manner. As enthusiastic newcomers to the world of luxury wellness retreats, we happily devote ourselves to the course planned for us, as per expert advice.

IMG_20160602_070611 (2)When I utter the word “luxury”, I don’t mean you’re assigned a chauffeur with a Lamborghini to pick you up from your residence or served with rich, ghee-laden Indian food in plates of silver. Here, opulence is associated with being trained by a highly-skilled fitness expert, treated to authentic massages by master masseurs and offered food that’s loaded with healthy, farm-fresh ingredients. To sum it up, before you head to Atmantan, you must be mentally prepared for a kind of a lifestyle makeover!

PACKED WITH BRILLIANT ACTIVITIES
Nestled in the lap of the majestic Sahyadri Range and spread over more than 40 acres of lush serenity, Atmantan which is the union of words “atma (soul)”, “man (mind)” and “tan (body)” is all about the wellbeing journey – an educational experience where you learn about the relationship between sound nourishment and functioning of the body, thus returning feeling a lot more healthier and happier than when you arrive.

resize1It all begins with creating our own daily program with a health and wellness advisor. While Atmantan has limited time (it offers 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14+ night retreats) to make a meaningful health impact, even the most basic packages include many activities and extras. It’s up to you how you make use of the facilities, advice and time in the day. When it comes to us, we don’t want to let any opportunity pass, and hence we make the most of all health and posture consultations, make in time for the pampering therapies and attend even the optional activity classes without fail. Whether it’s the Ashtanga yoga session at dawn, TRX, bootcamp and circuit training sessions with our trainer Hannes or African dance session in the evening, we enjoy these sessions thoroughly. And it is as much fun as it is tiring!

What’s more? Atmantan packs things in your package such that you don’t have to shell out even a single penny post arrival.

SPA CUISINE AT ITS BEST
For meals and tit bits, guests gather at Vistara – the main dining area with both indoor and outdoor seating or Chantara – the lounge that serves delicious grills and encourages interaction.

IMG_20160602_185507 (2)Our favourite is the Vistara outdoor area that overlooks the glittering green-blue Mulshi Lake and is shaded by a wide variety of flora. Evenings spent here are truly surreal.

The word “vacation” often brings to your mind the idea of indulging in your favourite food and it can be anything from pizzas to burgers to ice-creams. But your holiday at Atmantan will change your perspective toward food forever. Here, you get to savour spa food made out of freshest, nutrient-rich produce sourced from chef’s very own garden. Choose from a variety of cuisines – macrobiotic to Ayurveda, Mediterranean to Asian.

The trick to eating right lies in the words “controlled portion size”. Chefs and servers at Atmantan don’t tell you how much you can eat here, but the serves are small to make sure you don’t overeat; if you’re starving, you can simply order more without hesitation.

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If you’re a foodie, order Chef Sandeep’s special “thali” with a healthy twist. Comprising of a variety of textures, flavours ans colours, it makes for a complete meal. And surprisingly, your tummy still feels light!

THE HOME-STYLE SERVICE
What makes the place truly unique is its smiling wellness team. While Atmantan doesn’t spoil you with in-your-face luxuries, it has it’s own way of pampering you with a lot of love and care. Each and every staff member at this health retreat takes care of your diet as well as your health routine just like a doting mother. If you seem tempted to eat that extra dessert or skip a session at the gym, you’re subtly reminded of your fitness goals. Now, doesn’t it feel like home?

WHAT I LIKED
 Atmantan believes in giving you a hearty helping of “health”. It doesn’t leave you on your own after giving you some complicated gyaan on “how to stay fit”. Instead, it tells you why you should and guides you through the process, holding your hand throughout. For example, through the posture consultation session, you become aware of the little mistakes you unconsciously make on a daily basis, which lead to developing a faulty posture in the long run.

Chef Sandeep Biswas at Vistara suggests simple, nutritious and yummy alternatives to unhealthy food items you can consume on a daily basis. Thus Atmantan focuses not only on what you do during your stay at the retreat, but what you take back with you when your leaving the”health haven”.

BUDGET CHECK

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A three-night package (the minimum stay) on twin sharing basis in the Asoka room, starts from about Rs 75,000 per person. It includes all meals, daily treatments (as per your package) and tons of interesting activity classes.

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In the mood to splurge? Book the 1,500 sq ft Mango Tree Villa – the warm presidential one bedroom suite villa complete with a private infinity pool, a personal gymnasium, an indulgent couple spa, sauna and steam facilities, butler’s pantry and a gorgeous sun-kissed garden. Perfect for a romantic health holiday topped with utmost privacy!

GETTING THERE
Atmantan near Mulshi Lake, Pune is around three-and-a-half hour drive from Mumbai. Atmantan offers a pick-up service from your desired location for an additional cost.

TOP TIP

resize4.jpgDon’t miss the yoga and meditation sessions held at the beautifully-located Prana – the meditation pavilion. Even a 30-minute session here is reviving and peaceful, courtesy the splendid views it offers.

NOTE FOR THE GADGET ADDICT
Be ready to ditch your cellphone and laptop for a low-tech, healthy living at Atmantan as the resort strongly discourages the use of mobile phones in public areas. While you rely on technology all the time, you may feel disjointed for a bit. But soon, you’ll start to appreciate the endless solitude that comes with staying away from any kind of disturbance or chatter.

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