In Pune, the onset of the monsoon is something to look forward to. The rolling, ochre hills in the not-so-far distance turn resplendent green. Milky-white waterfalls emerge overnight, tumbling energetically down the hillsides, quite oblivious of their own ephemeral quality. It’s quite the sight for sore eyes.

The rain comes in spells: brisk showers, misty sprays and clear, sun-spangled mornings can all happen in a single day. If anybody thinks its time to rejoice, the sentiment couldn’t be more accurate.

So when one gets an invitation from the Arogya Spa & Fitness Centre at Pune’s upmarket Hyatt Regency hotel to experience a special, new treatment that celebrates the rains, can there be any excuse to decline?

Treatments on offer

Inside the cavernous foyer at the hotel, an escalator takes you towards the Spa on the first floor. The spacious lounge is bathed in soft light and redolent with the fragrance of fresh roses. The soothing hues of the colour beige for sure set the tone for the impending, mid-morning treat. The welcome drink is a refreshing, freshly made blend of green apple, cucumber and mint with a dash of honey.

A casual glance at the Spa menu indicates that Hyatt has opted for Sanskrit nomenclature. Signature Hyatt treatments on offer are Vishudha, described as a spice scrub wrap followed by an aromatherapy massage. Ajana, the other Signature treatment, is a sandalwood and aloe vera wrap followed by a relaxing massage. Both are of 120 minute duration and promise to do away all manners of muscular tension. The latter is particularly effective in the hot summer months, Dr Darshana Sawale, Assistant Manager at Arogya explains.

The one I find the most alluring is Nari-shiinta, listed under `Body polish and Wraps’. The 60-minute affair is described as a moisturising treatment that uses a blend of coconut powder and rice flour in water to polish and soften the skin.

Monsoon special

The menu lists more of such exotic treatments, but my monsoon treat is waiting. This turns out to be a 120-minute, two-part special. The first hour is devoted to an ex-foliation scrub called the Exotic Indian Herbal Scrub and, true to its name, is produced by combining 22 exotic, pulverized Indian herbs and clay into a paste. The aroma of this paste is meant to remind one of the inviting fragrance of wet earth after a rain shower, Dr Darshana tells me.

Part II comprises an hour-long massage; my only contribution towards the proceedings is getting to choose the pressure the therapist should apply: soft (rasa) or deep tissue (samarth).The combination package is a special monsoon offer, I learn.

A therapist guides me through the spa passage, into one of six treatment rooms - three of which are individual rooms, two are `couple’ rooms and one is an Ayurveda room. Equipped with the quintessential wooden bed, this is where Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara (where a stream of warm medicated herbal oil is poured onto the forehead and believed to cure insomnia) and abhyanga which is supposed to help manage blood pressure, are done.

My destination is a pleasantly furbished room with a high bed. A diffuser is dispensing the aroma of roses through it while a lighted candle adds to the comforting ambience. The only sounds in the room are of the soft twitter of birds and water flowing - special effects courtesy the piped music, which I learn is selected at Hyatt's Chicago headquarters.

The therapist begins her work, and I submit to the pleasant, tingling sensation of herbal scrub meeting skin. One hour on, that’s done and over, and after a quick shower, it is time for the second part of the proceedings. I opt for the soft pressure massage.

My muscles begin to relax under the therapist’s magic fingers and the saucer full of flowers under the annular headrest begins to recede out of focus as I slip into a slumber. Nothing can be a better testimonial to the efficacy of the procedure!

It is well over two hours before I return to the Spa Lounge. Waiting invitingly on the coffee table is a steaming pot of camomile tea and a small jar of honey, the customary ritual that serves multiple roles: it re-hydrates, rejuvenates, says goodbye and invites you to come again.

Nari-shiinta, I'll be there again soon.

What: A monsoon special spa treatment

Where: Arogya Spa & Fitness Centre, Hyatt Regency Pune

How much: Rs 4,500 (for the two hour Monsoon Special package)

(This article was published on July 17, 2012)
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