Drive through the gateway of Dusit Devarana, on the outskirts of New Delhi, and you immediately know that you have found sanctuary from the crowds and noise that make India’s capital so stimulating and so enervating all at once. Behind the high walls of this eight-acre estate, the driveway curves between tall trees and lush shrubs, ending not at a grandiose portico but an understated entrance, serene and elegant in its simplicity. The contemporary architecture is clearly the star here, and yet it never overwhelms.
Designed by Khun Lek Bunnag and inspired by the five elements in Hindu philosophy – air, water, fire, earth and sky – every element of the property, both outdoors and indoors, has been conceived to increase the sense of calm and privacy, a beautiful expression of the meaning of Devarana: “gardens of heaven”. At night, this takes on even greater meaning as the gardens and pools are lit so artfully that you can almost believe yourself transported to another world.
Within this 50-room urban retreat, in a secluded pavilion, lies Devarana Spa. Here, surrounded by pools and trees, is a meditation garden, an outdoor yoga space, a “glass house” fitness and gym room, and four private treatment suites with indoor-outdoor areas. Blending ancient Thai and Indian traditions and updating them with modern knowledge, the spa’s treatment programme is based entirely on natural herbs and flowers, and is designed to calm and reinvigorate mind, body and soul.
The two-hour Tad Si-the, based on traditional Thai medicine, combines herbal compresses and Thai massage; the deeply relaxing Heavenly Nantha Experience delivers the “divine gardens” ethos through a mixture of aromatic plants and natural oils; and the Darjeeling Tea Body Scrub harnesses the healing and detoxifying properties of black tea to the relaxing benefits of grapefruit seed oil. As if this wasn’t enough, every guest has the benefit of 24-hour butler service to ensure their every wish is met.