Ananda–In the Himalayas
|Ananda - In the Himalayas|
|Location||Narendra Nagar, Uttarakhand, India|
|Owner||IHHR Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.|
Set in a 100-acre (40 ha) Himalayan mountain estate set amidst sal forests, overlooking the river Ganges, close to the towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar, it was established in 2000, and was India's first destination spa. Ananda focusses on Yoga and Ayurvedic practices, combined with international spa therapies. The property includes the royal palace of Narendra Nagar, of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal (an Indian princely state), and the restored Viceregal Palace which was added to the palace in 1910–11 by the Maharaja for an expected visit of the Viceroy of India. Though the visit never materialized, the edifice remains, and went to accommodate the likes of Lord Mountbatten of Burma, a later Viceroy of India.
Some years ago, given the impetus on health and rejuvenation in the world and after an exhaustive search located a site for a destination spa, Ashok Khanna, discovered the Palace of the Maharaja at Narendra Nagar, Tehri-Garwhal. It was decided that the property was to be called "Ananda – in the Himalayas", a name that embodies the spirit and ethos of what Khanna wanted to offer to his guests.
Soon the former Viceregal Palace close to the Royal palace of the Shah family, of the erstwhile princely state of Tehri Garhwal originally built in 1910–11, was restored. Narendra Nagar was the summer capital and the Palace, where the present vice regal suite of Ananda in the Himalayas is situated, is the official residence.
Traditional Indian practices of yoga, meditation, ayurveda and vedanta are offered at the spa. Treatments include Ayurvedic spa treatments, Tibetan treatments and international therapies such as massage, body wraps and facials
Ananda has been frequented by many famous guests, including Chris Froome and his wife Michelle Cound, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Hall, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, Kate Winslet, Frederick Forsyth, Deepak Chopra, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Piven, Ricky Martin, Macklemore, Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
In 2005, Condé Nast Traveler rated this spa as the 'Best Overseas Spa Retreat' with a score rating of 99.62 and the Readers choice world's Number 1 destination spa (2005, 2006, 2007, 2012) It is also the only spa in India to be awarded the 5 wave certificate by BISA (British International Spa Association). Highly recommended by many other travel journals such as the New York Times, Travel and Leisure, While its judged as 'Top Spa in India' by Spa Finder, Inc. According to a reviewer of The Telegraph, Ananda "..mixes the healing principles of the East with the pampering needs of the West.".
Ashok Khanna, the Managing Director of the company, is the grandson of legendary hotelier Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi. Khanna is a graduate from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and has over three decades of experience in hospitality.
IHHR hospitality also founded a chain of luxury business hotels known as Ista Hotels. These hotels located in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Amritsar and Pune are now managed under the brand name "Hyatt".
The Ananda spa institute, located adjacent to the Ista hotel in Hyderabad, admitted its pilot group of students in the summer of 2008. This educational institution is the only one of its kind in the world that provides yoga, Ayurveda and international therapies under one roof. Realizing the importance of international certification, the institute has got the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC), Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTEC) to prescribe the curriculum for the courses on international treatments and give the required certification. The curriculum for the Yoga and Ayurveda courses will be framed and certified by the institute itself. The institute plans to lead spa education in South East Asia and maintain high standards throughout the region with international cooperation. Josephine Wackett has been appointed Principal. She was earlier with the world-famous Steiner School in London, where she was principal of the Steiner Beauty School for the last 30 years. Josephine is also the CIDESCO International Board member for Education
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