Couples retreat at the Kaya Kalp Spa in Agra, India // © ITC Hotels
When I stayed in the Khwab Mahal wing at the ITC Mughal, my suite had its own couple’s massage treatment room complete with a private Jacuzzi and a steam room. I figured that would mean that I had no reason to visit the spa. After having seen the Royal Kaya Kalp, however, I realized I would definitely be missing out. While an in-room massage after a busy day of sightseeing is a great idea, Kaya Kalp is a destination in itself, and it’s the perfect way to complement a visit to the Taj Mahal.
Nothing equals the majestic beauty of the Taj, but the experience at Kaya Kalp is the perfect elixir for the hectic pace of India travel. Kaya Kalp’s opulent decor and its vast selection of treatments and spa experiences can keep guests returning for two or three days — if they so desire.
My own experience was far too short but nonetheless impressive. During my brief stay at the hotel, I had a whirlwind experience in the spa but, to its credit, it stands out in my mind as one of the best treatments I’ve had. The Kaya Kalp Massage, a 60- or 90-minute treatment, is the spa’s signature offering, designed to relax and relieve muscular tension through massage and aromatherapy.
Upon arrival, guests select from three of the spas signature scents for their massage oil: Mysore sandalwood, lime and ginger or eucalyptus and black pepper. The Mysore sandalwood is designed to sooth and relax, providing a calming element to the experience. Lime and ginger scent is designed to uplift, detoxify and renew guests. The blend of eucalyptus and black pepper is ideal for easing aching, tired muscles. Any of these would have been ideal for me; however, I loved the soothing smell of the Mysore sandalwood and its relaxing properties.
This spa’s devotion to Mughal architecture is not only impressive in its design — every corner is impressively thought out — but it also excels in its ability to create a warm, inviting environment. Between the warm attention of the spa attendees as well as the deep red pomegranate tones, dark wood and white marble, the spa obtains a majestic yet homey quality that invites relaxation. It’s easy to see why someone would want to stay for an extended period of time.
In addition to a number of treatment rooms that include couples’ massage rooms, facial stations, an ayurvedic treatment room, a salon and a gym, there is a gorgeous garden with beautiful fountains and lush greenery, perfect for sipping tea or infused water. The hydrotherapy pool is also impressive. It’s large and inviting. Clothing is optional, so be sure to advise clients when they are visiting. This might come as a surprise to those who are used to a modest India experience.