To some people, a massage is a massage is a massage – if you've had one, you've had them all. You lie down, you're slathered in oil, pounded with hot stones, kneaded and/or twisted into a pretzel, then left to recover, all in the name of "relaxation". If you're already a fairly laidback person, it's understandable why that might not sound like a lot of fun, but if, like me, you spend your days hunched over a computer screen and your biggest daily stretch involves reaching for a book on the top shelf, then an effective massage is about as good as it gets.
The Trident Nariman Point
So, if you happen to be in Mumbai, as one occasionally does, and your muscles aren't as limber as you'd like, consider stopping into the spa at the Trident, the five-star property perched on the edge of the sea at Nariman Point, adjoining the iconic Oberoi Hotel. Better yet, book a room at the Trident and then you'll be able to enjoy its sweeping ocean views, fancy restaurants and high-end shopping all-day long – it's more reasonably priced than the other schmancy hotels in the area and you won't find a better location. But if you're just focused on visiting the spa, then spring for the Spirit of Ayurveda treatment. In the name of journalism, I've experienced my fair share of different kinds of massage, but this treatment is uniquely enjoyable, especially if you're into a holistic approach.
The Lobby at the Trident
A Spa Suite
At 2.5 hours long, it begins with a consultation to figure out where your trouble areas are and what you'd like to have special attention paid to. The therapist starts with an Indian head massage, combined with essential oil inhalation therapy to calm the mind and clear your sinuses. A full body exfoliation follows, using spices mixed with cardamom and gotu kola, which has a warming effect on the skin. Then comes the intense, pretzel-y part – the therapist applies heated herbal pouches to your body, kneading your muscles and achieving what is, in effect, a deep-tissue massage with the added benefit of therapeutic herbs. Next up is a marma point facial massage (akin to acupressure points) that brings you deeper into a state of relaxation and then the treatment concludes with a bathing ritual, in warm fragrant water scattered with rose petals. It's pretty much impossible to avoid becoming a puddle of relaxation by the end, but if you're in the mood for more, then rinse off with a cool shower inside the suite before heading out into the Bombay heat.