Love those luxurious tented safari camps in Ranthambore? Adore that vast creamy architecture in Udaipur that just oozes romance? The Oberoi Group has transported the best elements of its uber-luxe ‘Vilas’ properties to the very tip of the 8,000-acre, protected Si swan Forest Range near Chandigarh, creating Sukhvilas, its first destination spa and resort. (It is opening two more resorts in 2017—in Marrakech and Ajman, UAE.)
When the first Vilas property opened in Jaipur, back in 1997, it charted a new course for the Indian hotel chain, propelling it towards global stardom with its unparalleled level of personalised service for affluent international travellers. The newest Vilas property, Udaivilas, is already 14years old, and a hot favourite with Indian travellers.
And now, with the 60-key Sukhvilas, The Oberoi is hoping to replicate and build on these successes with a truly unique new offering. It just might pull it off. The 12,000-ft spa (opening early 2017) is a unique combination of ayurvedic, Eastern and Western therapies and includes hydrotherapy, an infrared sauna, a Turkish hammam and a Roman tepidarium as well as programmes for stress/weight management, detox and rejuvenation, that will be fully customised on-site.
But you needn’t visit Sukhvilas only for wellness; this is equally a getaway for nature-lovers. Go trekking or birdwatching in the lush Siswan forest, situated in the last fold of the outer Himalayas, and full of beautiful Indian mahogany trees (and the occasional leopard).
Return to a feast of authentic Punjabi cuisine, replete with homemade butter and mango pickle. The architecture is signature Vilas, with landscaped courtyards, cusped arches, gorgeous fountains and an outdoor pool that overlooks the forest. Perfect for a family getaway, the 22-acre resort is also set to become another destination wedding favourite: easily accessible, with a scenic backdrop, beautiful rooms, a ballroom that can fit up to 600 people—and, frankly, the best butter chicken I can remember eating anywhere.