Two hideaway resorts on magical islands host Jiva Spas offering an authentic Indian experience. Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef is chic, comfortable and affordable on Hembadhu island in the Maldives, just a short boat ride from Malé international airport.
Recently redesigned and refurbished, it not only has the obligatory soft white sand, warm blue water and swaying palm trees but also boasts some of the best diving in the area within its own reef and shipwreck. Not far across the ocean, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, lies sister property Vivanta by Taj at Bentota,on the beach of the same name. Sitting between the ocean and the palms, this elegant hotel has a choice of three restaurants and bars, children’s facilities including a pool, a freeform swimming pool and a fitness centre. There’s also a nearby lagoon, which is used for watersports — and of course a Jiva Spa. In fact, this is everything that is needed for a true beach holiday. It also gives easy access to Bentota village and to local historical sites.
Both resorts are ideal for couples, honeymooners and young families from Europe, or expats from the Gulf and local Indian and Sri Lankan groups of friends.
In Sri Lanka, high season is when the weather is at its driest, from December to March, while April to September is still warm and not so crowded, and prices drop a little. The rainy season is from May to August, while in the Maldives the dry season lasts from November to April.
Enjoy one of the all-natural treatments in one of Coral Reef ‘s spacious spa treatment rooms. Tucked away in the heart of the island, each one has its own private soak tub, and while there is a selection of Indian holistic therapies, opt for one of the Jiva signature treatments which offer a combination of balance, detoxification and relaxation — try the deep tissue Indian massage Pehlwan Maalish or the amazing Champi head massage, which will re-energise every bit of you.
At the Jiva Spa in Bentota, which is on its own golden strip of beach where each treatment room has its own private garden and outdoor Jacuzzi, opt for the Trupti, a deeply relaxing head-to-toe massage which is terrific for jet-lag as it will help ease any sleep worries, or try the Pada Mardana, an Indian foot massage which soothes and stimulates the body’s energy levels.
Try to visit the local village in Sri Lanka or take a tour of a nearby island in the Maldives to meet the locals and get to understand the local culture. Near Bentota, visit temples and the local market, and of course take a tea trail.
In either of the Jiva spas, the Masala Spice Body Scrub is invigorating as well as cleansing, while being great for boosting your circulation.