Luxury spa: Aura, The Park, New Delhi

Luxury spa: Aura, The Park, New Delhi
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Located in the heart of bustling New Delhi, Aura, the spa at The Park, offers a wide range of specialised massages besides other treatments

Anita Roy
September 23 , 2014
03 Min Read

Spas are fictional. A spa treatment works like a story: it has a beginning, middle and end, but most importantly, it maintains the fiction. You are alone in a sylvan glade attended to by smiling woodnymphs; a crystal stream gently bubbles along over smooth grey pebbles; birds twitter, leaves rustle. It is warm, but not too warm; cool, but not chilly. This is nature declawed, tamed — minus insects and irritants, perverse weather and jagged edges; a goddess showing only her benevolent aspect. Leave your everyday work-harried mind at the door, and embrace the fiction.

Aura, at The Park, is situated in the heart of bustling, honking, traffic-snarled Delhi, so it has to work extra-hard at maintaining the suspension of disbelief. To cater to the largely corporate and business clientele, Aura goes for a slightly ‘smarter’ version of the traditional wood-and-stone Zen garden décor of other spas in the city. The setting is sharpened here and there with the glint of brushed steel; the walls are not natural slate or granite, but studded with a geometric grid of white marble circles. The overall effect is not back-to-your-roots in an earthy embrace of nature; but up to the sky in a civilisational leap into the future. “Our clients are around 60/40 male to female,” explained spa manager, Sudeshna Pal. Perhaps that explains the slightly more functional and futuristic aura of Aura.

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I opted for a sea-salt scrub, followed by Aura’s signature massage. Never having been ‘scrubbed’ — except unavoidably at the seaside — I wondered what lay in store. I lay face down while the masseuse, Melody, applied an oily gritty substance to my naked limbs. I felt like a wooden statue being sandpapered smooth: a surprisingly pleasant sensation. It was a good start to the story, and already I could feel myself buying into the fiction: an hour and a half of plotline, where I was the heroine.


Swathed in a towelling robe, I went to take a shower in preparation for the next chapter. I had to work a bit too hard to maintain the sense of dissociation at this point: the shower was cold-to-tepid, and the real world came a-knocking. But before reality could bite too hard, I was whisked back into the womb-like treatment room and offered a selection of oils. I plumped for ‘freedom’ over ‘happiness’ more for existential than olfactory reasons; they both smelled equally good.

The obligatory pan-pipes and glockenspiel background music conspired with Melody to relax my every muscle and nerve. But the computer had taken its toll — the knots in my shoulders tested even her thumbs of steel. I remembered my mother taking a tray of ice cubes, wrapping them in a tea-towel and crushing them with a rolling pin. Now I know how the ice cubes felt.


The after-massage sauna was the perfect end to the story: the clean, piney smell of the sauna room: the feeling you could be in Scandinavia; the warm steam that seems to percolate deep into every pore and orifice. Bliss.

But every good story has to come to an end. The covers close. The electronic glass doors swoosh considerately behind you. And I was back on the street, battling with an auto driver, the cellphone bleeping, life reclaiming me back. The little bubble of unreality burst. But it was good while it lasted.


The information


Treatments  Ayurveda treatments, Hawaiian massage, Balinese massage, Esalen massage, Classic Swedish massage, siddha marma massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, body polishes, body wraps, body packs, and facials
Treatment Rates Rs 1,200-3,000
Treatment Packages  Rs 4,000 (Mughal Experience; 2hr15min)
Room Tariff  Rs 14,000-50,000
Contact  011-23743000
,
www.theparkhotels.com
Recommended:
Aura Massage, a 90min massage employing skin softening oils and using the entire palm to release toxins. Rs 3,000. Also, Aura’s Soul Balancing
Face Massage (60min), a combination of face and head massages to relieve the body of negative energy. Rs 2,000


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