Issue 48 / The Transformation Experts At Atmantan Wellness Resort in Pune

The Transformation Experts At Atmantan Wellness Resort in Pune

May 07, 2016

Bringing the promises of taut bodies, glowing complexions and satiated souls, an 8-year-old labour of love and passion set in the Sahyadris mountains has just launched as the go-to destination for the discerning wellness traveller.

Picture this. It’s 6:30 in the morning on the first day of the 41st year of your life, and you’re perfecting a kapotasana on a thatched-roof, slate-tiled gazebo looking out at the Mulshi Lake and the mighty Sahyadri range, while birds chirp encouragingly. The intense summers have shrunk the lake, but in a month or so, its view will be flush with over 20 waterfalls.

                                                     The expansive terrace of the Wellness Facilities at Atmantan.

Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

The decision to bring in my birthday at this new wellness resort, Atmantan, came from a need kick start life back into the eat right-workout hard mode, which I’d slipped out of after a couple of years of back-to-back travel. With a promise to transform its guests holistically — an osmosis of  Aatma (soul) Man (mind) and Tan (body) — the 40-acre lush property seemed ideal. After driving in for an hour from Pune (the drive from Mumbai is 3.5 hours) I met up with Atmantan’s general manager, Athena Salim, who took me around the property which included rooms staggered across multiple levels, a stunning 50,000 square feet wellness pavillion, and the presidential mango Tree Villa, fitted with its own massage, steam and sauna rooms and an infinity pool.

The Reception lobby with Atmanatan's crisp Om inspired logo.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

From Atmantan’s eight packages — including Journey Through Yoga, Spa Life, Detox, Weight Loss and master Cleanse — I was advised the Atmantan Wellness package (the resort requires you to stay for a minimum of three nights) with an itinerary that packed in daily massages, fitness sessions ranging from Yoga to Bollywood Dance, body composition and body posture analysis. Before launching into the program, I caught up with Atmantan’s founders Sharmilee and Nikhil Kapur over fresh watermelon juices at Té-Jus, the juice bar. The bright, cheery bistro vibe with stylishly mismatched furniture is part of Sharmilee’s creative vision. She’s a Pranic Healer and Nikhil is an Ironman tri-athlete, the brain behind Atmantan’s kickass fitness facilities and impressive eco credentials. They’re young, enthusiastic and genuinely passionate about wellness (Nikhil is known to rally the staff for impromptu treks up the mountains every now and then) and it’s an attitude that percolates down from the top.  

Sharmilee and Nikhil Kapur.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

Modish interiors at the Te-Jus Juice Bar.

Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

Atmantan’s staff is one of its strongest assets; a young, good looking, smiling bunch from across the country —  from Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Himachal to Kerala and Bengal, with solid hospitality backgrounds. On the top of that totem pole is Chef Sandeep Biswas. With 17 years of experience working with the best wellness resorts in India and abroad, including the award-winning Ananda, he’s a pioneer in microbiotic, Ayurveda, spa and detoxification cuisines. After the F&B team surprises me with a delicious dense cocoa-coconut-jaggery birthday cake (the size of a katori and with its calorie count neatly displayed just in case I thought it was a real celebration)  I chatted with him for a long time on every foodie encounter imaginable —from the perfect way to cook a bhetki and Orissa’s gastronomic treasures  to the French love for butter and seafood bounty in Maldives. While the chef was super genial and at was at hand to answer all my doubts and questions, he also kept a strict eye over my food intake.


 The fitness enthusiast's dream birthday cake.           
                                     Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar                                               
Perfect proportions —an apple and goat's cheese salad.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

The cuisine at Atmantan relies on locally grown or sourced produce and places great importance on portion control and pretty plating. I almost laughed when I saw the size of my multigrain dosa for breakfast the next day. After lunch and dinner, the staff would come around to gently ask whether I’d like the stewed fruit again instead of the corn-jaggery cake. There was no tea or coffee and the 'nutrition bar’ in the room had green tea packets, muesli bars and wholegrain biscotti. If I didn’t have time to ruminate over this strict food protocol, it was because of the clever line-up of massages, fitness classes and doctor visits planned through the day, and housekeeping popping by with a luxe bath menu between it all.
The dining pavilion.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar
Chantara, the Lounge is the ideal setting for barbecues, while meals are had at Vistara.
There's also The Soulfood Spoon where Chef Biswas takes cooking classes.

Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

I didn’t know when I hit the bed in my cozy room at the Arjuna Grove each night, but I wasn’t crying out for food and slept like a baby, before waking up for the 6 a.m. Kriya. Other in-between time was spent staring out at the lake by the Divine Buddha, one of the most beatific spots on the property, taking a quick dip in the indoor salt water pool, and fiddling around with the high-tech fitness machines.
The Hammam Room is amongst Atmantan's 21 exclusive treatment rooms; no two rooms are the same.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar
The romantic Couple's Spa Suite.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar
The Arjuna Grove.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar
The Divine Buddha.
Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

The communication between departments is paramount at Atmantan. Before you move from the doctor’s appointment to lunch, they’ll know what your allergies are. All I had to do was mention my 10-day old sunburn, and housekeeping routinely stocked my room fridge with fresh aloe vera and coconut milk. Before I left, they’d kept bottles of lime juice in the car, knowing that I suffered from a bit of motion sickness.

God, they know, lives in the details. And it's the perfect three-night kick to getting your fitness goals back on track again.

Main Image Photo Credit: Aparna Pednekar

Aparna Pednekar


 Aparna is an India - based travel writer for leading lifestyle and fashion publications. She's also a gemologist and jewelry designer. New cities, new food, cats, dogs, snakes, hours of walking and driving fuel her incurable ADD.


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