Ever heard of Shillim? Now you should because of its idyllic beauty and the tempting spa at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa. Our review here...
By: Karishma Suri & Akshay Suri.
Posted on: October 17, 2013
Ever heard of Shillim? Now you should because of its idyllic beauty and the tempting spa at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa! Our review here…
How about being welcomed into a haven on this earth with chirping birds, swaying greens and earthy mists carried by strong winds? Yes, I know how it is. Brilliant if you ask me. In the midst of a never ending hectic schedule, a suggestion for a quick escape seems quite welcome, especially if you live in a city like Mumbai, and with good reason. Set in the beautiful wilderness of the Sahyadri Hills, surrounded by panoramic views of unspoiled forests, seasonal lakes, awe-inspiring ravines and plateaus, Shillim is a place that remains unexplored. I could spend some time painting a picture for you to express the breathtaking beauty of this escape that manages to please all senses – but I won’t be able to do justice to it. Bringing a world of paradise to the area of Shillim (now popularised thanks to its namesake by Hilton), by a group that has mastered the art of luxurious hospitality all over the world, this property boasts of many positives - right in the lap of luxurious nature. Offering a sanctuary for the body, mind and spirit, Hilton Shillim Estate features all-villa accommodation and the most comprehensive spa facilities in Asia that encompasses 70 acres and offers sheer bliss with relaxation being the keyword.
Andreas Kraemer, General Manager, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, said, “What makes Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa a perfect wellness haven for tourists is its location and distinctive offerings. With the best spa in the country, and extensive food and beverage and recreational facilities, we provide the best of both the worlds.” And true that is. A holistic wellness experience that integrates extensive facilities, services and customised wellness programmes, it is a perfect getaway for everyone – even the restless workaholics.
With relaxation being the keyword here, a visit to the spa cannot be missed. Ask Dr Rajneesh Kumar, Director of Spa, Hilton Shillim and he cannot undermine the importance of the spa in this retreat. "Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa strives to nurture and heal the inner spirit and elicit lasting change at an energetic level. Inspired by the ancient healing culture of Asia, and incorporating the latest skincare developments, Shillim Spa integrates the three pillars of transformative wellness (physical, emotional and mental) to support guests on their personal journey," he said. The spa, spread over 70 acres, offers more than 50 therapies, including meditation, bodywork, massage, Ayurveda experiences and yoga. With 17 treatment rooms, three consulting rooms and a yoga center located amidst breathtaking nature and a unique meditation cave, there is also an outdoor heated pool at the spa to keep your mind at peace at this property. What else could you ask for?
Dial G for Genie
Driving off the expressway into the middle of nothingness, rice fields and pure nature will greet you as you make your way to the property. Ensure that the virgin beauty of nature does not distract you from locating the main gate, but once inside, feel free to drown your worries into deep valleys that strike a background for the hotel reception. Our check-in was a quick one over a refreshing welcome drink and hot towels along with an introduction to our ‘genie’ (your very own butler during the stay). The spa pool villa is a sure shot winner if you are on a romantic escapade due to its private setting and of course – private pool.
Once we were settled in, a perfect ten minutes later, our genie was there to escort us for a quick bite at the property’s all day dining – Terrazo. Finding the restaurant homely and casual, I was glad to see the menu was diverse with its options ranging from Thai to continental. Tasteful food with a staff that remembers your preferences in an ambience that is refreshing – a perfect lunch, I’d say. Pick the outdoor seating on a good day and your wish to travel to Switzerland will be complete.
Plan out your schedule while at the property. Spa appointments must be made well in advance so as to avoid disappointment – and at a place like that, why take the chance? Your private butler will already be aware about your appointment and will be there on time to escort you to the spa which is located in the midst of lush greenery set against mountains and clear blue skies - a postcard picture. The simple wooden interiors bring a satisfied calm feeling accompanied with the anticipation of tranquility. While a sense of spiritual rejuvenation pervades throughout Hilton Shillim Estate, it is at the Shillim Spa that it is re-affirmed. Founded on principles that conserve and strengthen life, the spa philosophy celebrated the spirit of celebrating life to its fullest through relaxation and realigned focus.
The Journey of Life
The ‘journey’, as they call it, starts at the Spa Reception where the Spa Director aided with the selection of the treatment based on how I was feeling, but not before I was taken through a variety of signature treatments like Vanoshdhi of Shillim, body work and energy balancing, beauty treatment, facial and skin care from Sundari, Ayurveda treatments, in-villa treatments and Yoga amongst others, based on three wellness pillars of Relax, Recover and Revitalise. After being introduced to my therapist, I was led to the changing room where organic robes, disposables and steam facilities awaited me. Walking through a butterfly garden, I nestled into an armchair in the spa relaxation area where I sipped on lemongrass tea as I filled out a health questionnaire to understand what I was expecting out of this treatment.
A quick walk later, I was in the spa treatment room (a cottage like room) which is segregated depending on the treatments opted for. The 'release' therapy is what was recommended for me since my search for rejuvenation has never ended. Based on the Marma point massage, this therapy is said to aid in evolving the marma, helping in balancing the energy in the body, and bringing balance of body and mind. Facing down on the bed (after tuning my eyes to the darkness of the room) and preparing to free my mind, gentle strokes with oil made of neem (leaves from an antibacterial tree native to India) and triphla pushed me to the gates of my dream heaven.
This massage uses techniques inspired by an old Ayurveda tradition of Marma point massage (marma are vital body points which are the energy centre in the body). Activation of marma points induce relaxation, well-being, boost immunity and rejuvenate body and mind. For the inquisitive like me, neem is very soothing and nourishing for the skin while also being an excellent blood purifier. Triphala is made of three main Ayurveda herbs - Amalaki, Haritiki and Bibhitiki - which detoxify and also serve as good antioxidants.
A 60 minute massage later, I was awoken by a soft touch signaling the end of the treatment. Ensure to sip on water once you are dressed as your mouth feels excessively dry. I was advised to use the wet facilities like steam, sauna, Infrared sauna, Jacuzzi to linger on the experience of relaxation, but since I had dinner plans, I left it for another day. If you do have some time on your hands (which you should since you are relaxing, remember?) head to their Tea House where you can sip specialty tea and honey post the treatment.
A return ticket, please
After all this pampering and self indulgence, what awaited me was a brilliant and innovative meal at their spa restaurant – Green Table and a very good night’s sleep on their specialty Hilton beds. A return is guaranteed to this property due to its simple ability to combine modest, contemporary elegance with world-class facilities, dining and recreational options.
Coordinates: Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa is located in Shillim Village, Pawna nagar, Taluka Maval, Pune, India 410406