FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Kerala, India, Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Divya Ayurveda Wellness Spa

Dec 1, 2007
2007 / December 2007

As the birthplace of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian spa tradition, India’s Kerala region is known to spa-goers across the globe as a haven for tranquility and relaxation. So when I arrived at the Divya Ayurveda Wellness Spa at the Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Kerala, I knew I was in for a treat.

The ancient practice of Ayurveda is intended to prevent disease and help the body maintain a balanced state of well-being. Regular courses of treatments — usually lasting about 40 days — are believed to ward off infections and illness, and to create physical and mental balance that ensure a long life.

Since I did not have 40 days, I made the most of my time by experiencing two unique treatments during my stay at the resort.

I had my first treatment the night I arrived in Kovalam. Between jet lag and the constant travel and full schedule of the previous few days, I was exhausted and eager to kick back and relax. So I made an early evening appointment for a 90-minute Shirodhara therapy session.

A smiling attendant greeted me, led me to a comfortable chair and offered me a drink of fresh coconut water directly from the shell. (Coconuts are an important agricultural product in Kerala.) While I sipped, my shoes were exchanged for spa sandals, and when I finished my drink I had a brief consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor to assess my health and to note if I had any allergies or medical conditions.

Inside the treatment rooms, the wooden furnishings were sparse and simple. The ambience was dark, yet warm. The centerpiece of the room was a large wooden massage table. (I must admit, upon first glance, it looked very uncomfortable.) Every room is equipped with a shower with two massaging showerheads. Before my treatment, the therapist asked me to choose a type of music from a menu of about 10 selections, each aimed toward a specific type of relaxation.

The Shirodhara massage begins with a head, neck and shoulder massage using the medicinal herbal oils unique to Ayurveda. After the massage, I was laid on my back and a large wooden structure was wheeled over me. Attached to the structure was an urn of the herbal oils, which were warmed, and then slowly dripped over my forehead for about 40 minutes, all followed by a gentle scalp massage.

This massage is designed to fight insomnia, stress, anger and headaches. It certainly was different from any spa treatment I had ever experienced, but it was truly relaxing. As the warm oil dripped over my head, I quickly drifted off into a blissful state, somewhere between sleep and reality. And I experienced a deep sense of disappointment when I realized the massage was over.

When I returned to my room after the treatment I had the best night of rest that I experienced during my entire trip — even though it took a number of shampoos and some scrubbing to remove all the oil from my hair!

On my third and final day in Kovalam, I returned to the spa for the pathra podala swedam treatment. It began with a full body massage, once again using the medicinal oils. After the massage, the therapist applied warm bags of medicinal herbs, leaves and powders (cooked together) all over my body, patting them up and down. While not as relaxing as Shirodhara, this treatment was therapeutic in its own manner. The heat from the herbs felt wonderful as the pouches went up and down my body, although the medicinal oils and herbs used during the treatment are not known for their pleasant fragrance.

The spa offers a wide variety of treatments and therapies. Among the selections are eye therapies that include washing the eye; the kalari massage, performed by two therapists using only their feet (this particular massage is only offered to male patrons); and other massages tailored specifically to treat certain body ailments such as muscle pain, asthma complications, jet lag and cataracts, among others. The typical treatment lasts 60 minutes and all treatments are performed by a therapist of the same gender as the client.

I must issue a warning to the more modest readers (I consider myself a part of this group): The Ayurveda massages are characterized by long strokes, up and down the body. Some patrons may be uncomfortable with this spa’s no-limits approach to all areas of the anatomy. Most of the treatments are performed entirely in the buff. I was quite taken aback at first, but I eased into the treatments as December as I realized that I needed to embrace cultural differences in order to truly enjoy and benefit from the therapeutic qualities of an Ayurvedic spa experience.

Not only does Divya relax and calm patrons, but the beautiful and tranquil location of the Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach enhances the experience. Without a doubt, one of the most relaxing moments of my life was the Shirodhara massage, followed by falling asleep to the sounds of the Arabian Sea’s waves crashing onto the cliffs outside my room. Divya and the Leela resort, much like Ayurveda, are designed to relax, rejuvenate and purify the mind, body and soul.


LEELA KEMPINSKI KOVALAM BEACH, KERALA
Kerala 695 627, India
tel 91 471 248 0101
http://www.kempinski-kovalam.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Dec 2, 2022

AKA West Palm Beach Opens in Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida, recently welcomed AKA West Palm, a hotel residence offering long-stay accommodations. As AKA’s second South Florida property, AKA West Palm features 215 hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom spaces, and Penthouse suites. The five-story hotel blends modern luxuries with comfort and simplicity, with sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces. Room furnishings contrast with a backdrop of stone, metal and wood to create simple, clean lines with minimal contrast.

6,000 Reasons and More to Celebrate!

IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.

Daily
Dec 2, 2022

Heart of the South

Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the city in the English Midlands that kept the fires burning, warmed the homes and made much of the steel for the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution. Decades later, the American city also made steel, so much of it, in fact, it became known as the “Magic City” for steel production, and the moniker stuck. But today’s Magic City makes more than steel, taking the raw product a few more steps to become a major center for automobile parts manufacturing and more, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and U.S. Steel. Thanks to local leadership and long-term planning, the magic still works for Birmingham, as evidenced by its role hosting The World Games 2022 last summer.

Daily
Dec 2, 2022

El Museo Del Barrio

As New York City’s leading Latino cultural institution, El Museo del Barrio welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions represent these cultures’ richness, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and educational programs. Ranging from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art, the permanent collection totals more than 8,000 objects.

Alaskan Wild Wonders by Celebrity Cruises

Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.

Daily
Dec 2, 2022

Fairmont Gold Reopens at Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown

Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown recently reopened its Fairmont Gold, introducing amenities, a contemporary new style in the Fairmont Gold Lounge and dedicated concierges. The 48-room, three-suite Fairmont Gold, positioned as an urban oasis, takes over the entire ninth floor of the hotel and delivers exceptional service to meet guests’ needs.

Press Releases
Dec 1, 2022

Global Traveler Announces 19th Annual GT Tested Reader Survey Awards

The results are in! For the 19th consecutive year, Global Traveler conducted its GT Tested Reader Survey, asking frequent luxury travelers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories. More than 22,000 people responded. Global Traveler’s inaugural awards were celebrated in 2004.

Discover Egypt in Total Luxury with World’s Most Eminent Archaeologists

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED

December 2022
Dec 1, 2022

Rich in History: Explore Gilded Age Mansions and More in Newport, Rhode Island

Originally a thriving Colonial seaport, Newport became the summer playground for the Gilded Age’s elite in the late 1880s. Today their mansions dot the coast of Aquidneck Island, and their favorite pastimes — sailing and tennis — still dominate the city’s recreational offerings. In fact, Newport hosted the first U.S. Open tennis championship in 1881 and golf tourna- ment in 1895 and hosted the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1983. You can experience most of Newport on your own, including the mansions, but don’t rule out a guided tour or two when you visit.