Luxury spa: Oberoi Spa, Udaivilas, Udaipur

Luxury spa: Oberoi Spa, Udaivilas, Udaipur

Try the luxurious 'Magic of Mewar' treatment at the Oberoi Spa in Udaivilas, Udaipur

Nayantara Patel
September 23 , 2014
04 Min Read

Udaivilas is one of those very few hotels that, in its ability to make life extremely pleasurable for its guests, sets itself incredibly high standards. No amount of lyrical description really does justice to the place — it’s a classic case of to-be-seen-to-be-believed. Those lucky enough to have seen will remember for a long, long time their first sight of the hotel: a vast creamy structure whose each new space holds fresh visual delights, both in rich detail and for sheer scale. I visited it last month, five years after it opened (after 12 years of planning and building), since when it has won every conceivable international award — for service, location, rooms, facilities, suites... Last year, it was ranked the No 1 hotel in the world (Condé Nast Traveler)!

Trade insiders attribute the secret of its success to Oberoi Hotels’ obsession with ‘detailing’. What this means for the guest is stuff like this: being received by a dignified chauffeur and a charming local lad and being escorted at a stately pace along congested streets to the fabulous hotel. A genuinely warm welcome, which masks a discreet but quickly efficient check-in process. It means a beautiful, indeed splendid, room that you can spend an hour examining: the lounger set in a jharokha, the striking rugs, the bathroom that’s itself a study in superfine marble, the luscious Kama toiletries, and “best of all”, as the girl said, as she threw open another door, the little courtyard with a wooden gate that opens out onto a ‘semi-private’ pool. This last is one of those architectural coups that bear endless discussion: 19 of the 82 rooms open onto a moat-like water-body, which doubles up as the resort’s third pool. Beyond is Lake Pichola.


Magnificent, but what finally broke me was the hotel’s unexpected charm: the vast cream domes have been softened by the rain and sun, its cracking plaster now nostalgic as well as impressive; the bougainvillea climbing the courtyard walls gently conveying into the water a green leaf here and a pink blossom there; the homey comfort of the jharokha bed in a magnificently appointed room...

By the time I get around to hiking down the long open corridors to the spa, I have been well primed to receive more grace and pleasure. The spa is superb but that’s hardly a surprise. Built on split levels, the upper floor houses the reception area, eight treatment rooms, doctor’s clinic and post-treatment relaxation area; the lower level has the steam/sauna/changing rooms, the salon and the gym. The whole looks out onto the large ‘spa pool’.

I had chosen to have a Shiro Abhyanga — I like head massages and, yes, I didn’t think it would necessitate a full disrobing. But, somehow, it did. and except for a false start, with an uncomfortable near-naked perching at the edge of a treatment table (thankfully, later converted to a lie-down position), it was all luxury and professionalism.

The spas at Oberoi properties have thus far been managed by the Thai company, Banyan Tree, but there’s change afoot: very soon all will be rebranded as Oberoi Spas, fully managed and staffed in-house. My visit coincides with a crucial moment in the life of this spa, a moment glimpsed most clearly through its people. Intelligent-eyed, Kottackal Ayurveda Sala-trained Dr Yogesh P.P. is properly solicitous in the manner of all good spa docs, but gets truly enthusiastic only when we start chatting about the greater possibilities for Ayurveda in the new dispensation. Lovely Nidhi from Dungarpur is currently a salon assistant (“Rajasthan topper in beautician’s course, madam,” she had told me shyly but proudly) but will no doubt get much more responsibility once the Oberoi Spa reclaims its own space. And once all of this happens, the Oberoi Spa will no doubt be ready to claim another accolade— that of the No 1 spa in the world.

The information

Treatments Eight kinds of full body massage (including hot stone, aromatic, Balinese, Thai and Hawaiian), six kinds of body scrubs, a range of Ayurvedic treatments (including Abhyangam, Pizhichil, Dhara, Vasthi, Navarakizhi, facial treatments). Also offer salon services.
Treatment Rates  Rs 2,200-7,000 (45-90 minutes)
Treatment Packages  Rs 5,400-12,000 (2-3hr)
Room Tariff  Rs 18,500-1,06,500
Contact  0294-2433300
It’s appro
priate, while staying in a modern-day palace in Rajasthan’s Mewar region, to try the Magic of Mewar spa programme: a body scrub, body massage, Ayurvedic face massage and flower bath. You get to choose the body cleanser and massage from the spa menu. Rs 7,500 for the 2hr30min session.

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