The Adaaran theme of Luxury Boutique Wellness Resorts is epitomised by a pioneering concept in the Maldives, the Adaaran Ayurveda Village on Meedhupparu Island, the only resort in the northern Raa Atoll, 130km (40 minutes by seaplane) from Male’ International Airport.
Twenty-four cottages in a five-acre garden of tropical foliage by the beach and lagoon are dedicated to guests enjoying customised Ayurveda programmes during their holiday. The Ayurveda Village has become so popular in its five years of existence that it is frequently fully booked and many guests are repeaters, some visiting as much as twice a year. Its success has led to other resorts incorporating Ayurveda therapy for their guests but none can match the experience and dedication of the Adaaran Ayurveda Village.
The brochure for the Ayurveda Village that is sent to prospective guests describes Ayurveda as “a philosophy of the way to enjoy a healthy and long life.” The word Ayurveda is a combination of two Sanskrit words: Ayur meaning Life and Veda being Science. The brochure states reassuringly that: “Ayurveda gives more life to the years, and more years to the life.”
The chief Ayurveda consultant, who visits the village once a week from his practice in Sri Lanka, is Dr G A B Alwattegama. He is the seventh descendant of the prestigious Digampitiya generation of Ayurveda doctors. He makes a personal assessment and diagnosis of every participant in the Ayurveda programmes and recommends a holistic holiday regime especially designed for the individual. He is assisted by an experienced resident physician, Dr Samaratunga, a Sri Lankan who has previously practiced in Germany, and who supervises the treatments. Therapy sessions are conducted by trained and caring practitioners also from Sri Lanka.
Consultations take place in the tranquility of a pavilion where water tumbles down a faux rock wall, creating an ambiance ideal for blissful relaxation.
The first consultation results in a regime of diet and treatments being devised for the guest. The guest is advised what foods to eat in the dedicated Ayurveda restaurant and is guided to mix and match dishes from the daily buffets by a colour code according to their body type.
Traditional treatments of oil, steam and herbal baths and massages are carried out in the privacy of the main pavilion, where there are 10 therapy cabins, or in the treatment centre in the landscaped garden overlooking the white sand beach and the lagoon. There is also a yoga hut and places for meditation in the village complex. A butler is on hand to serve Ayurveda beverages and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. In addition the centre has therapists for Reflexology, Chinese treatments and Acupuncture, and there is a sauna, steam room and a gymnasium, as well as a hair and beauty salon, in the same complex.
The doctors emphasise that the Ayurveda Village is a wellness resort for encouraging good heath. The main treatment regimes are Rupika for beauty and vitality; Shantha for sleep enhancement; Sahana for weight loss; Arogya for general wellness; Kanya for beauty and wellness; Rupasri for beauty; and Mahaguna 12 & 18-day intensive programmes.
Most of the guests are German speaking and 75 percent of them are women, many afflicted by stress-related symptoms. They value the ecologically-balanced location of the village which guarantees no disturbance since it is far from the holiday hubbub of the Adaaran Select resort, yet the accommodation shares the luxury of the Select Resort rooms with wooden floors and cane furniture, garden terrace deck and sumptuous bathroom. Guests like to keep to themselves in the lushness of the Village’s surroundings to meditate in total tranquility and to benefit from the pure Ayurveda dimension of their holiday.
While guests at the Ayurveda Village are not confined to one part of the natural parkland that is Meedhupparu Island and can visit the island’s restaurants and bars, only Ayurveda Village guests can dine in the Ayurveda restaurant. This is an open-sided, thatch-roofed pavilion where all meals are served as buffets prepared by chefs trained in the formalities of Ayurveda cuisine.
At least one guest has stayed 15 times in the Ayurveda Village and she prefers it to similar retreats in India and Sri Lanka because of its peaceful location on a faraway island in a lagoon in an unspoilt part of the Indian Ocean. Guests stay on pre-paid packages with treatment, soft drinks and Ayurveda meals included. Many leave with medicines especially prepared by the Village’s Ayurveda dispenser, giving them a souvenir of an Adaaran holiday that allows the wellness factor to continue long after they return home – until they find time to return.
2009 – Ace Magazine Issue I