As I take a sip of my carrot-and-orange juice, I feel utterly spoilt and deprived at the same time. Organic and cold-pressed, the concoction is delicious but it is also the sum total of my breakfast this morning. The morning started at five with an hour-long brisk walk followed by a one-hour yoga session, which have left me ravenous by 8 a.m.
Slow-sipping the scarlet liquid and trying to make the flavour last on my tongue—and in my memory, for lunch isn’t until noon—I’m amazed at the feeling of time stretching ahead of me. Here, time is a cosy space, not a tyrant ordering me back to the inbox.
It’s my second morning at BayPark by Pema Wellness, a gorgeous get-away that opened in April 2017 and overlooks the Bay of Bengal from its Eastern Ghat location in Healing Hill, Vishakhapatnam. On arrival, after a body analysis and an exhaustive consultation with resident Naturopath Dr. Sarath Kumar, meal plans were designed to balance my energies while the masseurs and masseuses in the therapy rooms created a regime that is easing out years-old pains and draining the toxins out of my pores.
But nirvana doesn’t come easy, so there’s plenty to do between meals and therapies. I must start my day with a walk. It is while walking along a promenade overlooking a beach dotted with tide pools and mudflats, that I catch my first sunrise on the Eastern Ghats—beautiful and dramatic as the sun steals out of nimbus clouds, causing the sky to change colour every second. This is followed by a group yoga session in a sunlit room overlooking an infinity pool. In the evenings, there’s aqua Zumba at the infinity pool for the athletically inclined, followed by customised yoga lessons. I choose to learn Angamardana with Isha Yoga practitioner Subodh, whose own practice is assured, and serene manner nearly hypnotic.
Of course, the routine has taken a day of getting used to—an enema the previous day having nearly ruined the Swedish massage that followed—and the busyness is unexpected but proving surprisingly useful in decluttering the mind. By design, the environs are spartan with just a touch of luxury—grey walls with a hand-crafted leaf motif in gold, a vast reception area with a joyful koi pond and Balinese carved-stone lampshades—and the ambience encourages you to loosen up and let go. It works.
At BayPark, indulgence comes in the form of amenities and food: from the infinity pool overlooking the Bay of Bengal (top left), and a whirlpool in the hydrotherapy area (bottom left) to the spacious suites (bottom right), and delicate flavours like those in the baked beet tagliatta and little millet salad (top right). Photo courtesy: BayPark by Pema Wellness
In the spacious, turquoise-and-white dining room, guests exchange experiences and tips as they gather around with their customised meals. “Don’t miss the sand massage!” “Have you tried the new all-plant salt?” “How do the waiters remember who should get which meal?”
Chef Rajeev Bali uses mostly organic ingredients to create a multi-cuisine menu suited to different body types and wellness goals—detoxification, weight loss or de-stressing. He expertly conjures up flavourful dishes with minimal use of spices and salt, keeping my meals under 350 calories. In between the delicious but sparse victuals, guests are encouraged to sip water infused with spices, herbs and fruits—apple-cinnamon, anyone?—to keep hunger pangs at bay.
The 20,000-square-foot Healing Hublocated on a level below the main reception area has multiple rooms and is the venue for the panoply of massages and treatments—deep tissue, hot stone, sand, salt, oil, hydro-based, even acupuncture. The rooftop infinity pool is perfect for a soak afterwards. My therapist has an uncanny ability to anticipate what I need and a congenial manner that instantly puts me at ease.
As I leave the therapy hub after a sand massage, I feel I could live here forever. Even if I have to subsist on a glass of juice for breakfast every day.
BayPark by Pema Wellness is 22 km/45 min by road from the Vishakhapatnam airport. Stay packages are recommended by the resident naturopath on the basis of an application form filled out during reservations (pemawellness.co; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 91290 02268 for enquiries and reservations; seven-night packages from Rs1,68,000 for single occupancy in luxury rooms).
is currently a correspondent with Bloomberg BNA, a contributing editor with IndiaSpend, and a writer/editor with the World Economic Forum. She was Time magazine's India reporter from 2006-2009. She is a full-time mum and a part-time army wife.
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