Kaya Kalp Spa in India Provides a Diva’s Pamper Fantasy

Kaya Kalp Spa sounds so swank, so salubrius, so right for a Diva–yet so far away.  Set on 35 acres of lush gardens not too farfrom India’s Taj Mahal–yet many air hours away  from America–visiting this 90,000 square foot royal pamper palace is no easy chore. 

But from the looks of it, it just might be worth grabbing a  $4, 445 Business Class ticket on Emirates Airline (www.emirates.com) –which of course is the Diva’s preferred mode of transportation.

Anyhow this place rocks . Set in a  ITC Mughal Hotel  where  42 outrageously opulent suites house an upscale clientele, the spa speaks of nature, ancient rituals, penultimate indulgence.

And if you can get there, they’re offering quite a deal:  

The Luxury Spa Getaway

A Visit to Kaya Kalp may be considered a journey through a world of regal luxury and pampering. 

 *1 fifty minutes Spa Treatment *Continental breakfast per person *Welcome Wellness Basket in the room. Includes protein Bars, nuts, sparkling beverages, bottle of water, seasonal fruit *4 PM  late check for  $335.00 a night, with a two night minimum stay.

This Spa experience, spread across more than 99,000 square feet, offers guests traditional therapies based on ancient customs in regal surroundings. This is where Mughal opulence comes together with meaningful experiences for the soul. This magnificent oasis of tranquility follows Mughal tradition in its extensive use of greenery and water, both important elements in gardens laid out by the Mughal Dynasty.  It was Babar, the first Mughal Emperor, who brought into India his concept of gardens. With running water channels, fountains, fragrant flowers and fruit bearing trees, these were areas meant to be lived in – lulled by the soothing sound of running water, the fragrance of blossoming fruit trees and birdsong – often referred to as the ‘Gardens of Paradise’

At the Kaya Kalp, all these aspects have come together in a close synthesis between indoor and outer spaces. Many traditional influences of Mughal landscaping and architecture can be seen here – running water, fountains and outdoor rain water showers, courts full of greenery open to the skies and interiors embellished with stone latticework, mother of pearl, inlay and mirror work.


The Pomegranate Theme


In honor of Mughal Emperor Babar, the pomegranate fruit has been adapted as the theme (liet motif) of this very regal spa. It is widely believed that Babar, was responsible for bringing in a wide variety of fruit including the ‘pomegranate’ to India, across the Himalayas from his home land, Ferghana.

At Kaya Kalp, a ruby red pomegranate trellis is dramatically used along the wall and the ceiling. The same motif is repeated in the white terrazzo flooring inlaid with red engineered stone – stretching diagonally across the floor in a dramatic design concept.


The Therapy


A visit to the spa may be considered a journey through a world of luxury and pampering – the fabled India that travelers from across the seas, wrote about in their memoirs. In this regal lifestyle, Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa captures the spiritual and medicinal legacies of the Mughal Dynasty. For instance, Babar’s legacy of fruit is highlighted through a luxurious ‘Pomegranate Aromasoul Massage’, which serves to detoxify, revitalize and elevate the senses. The ‘Pomegranate Ritual Scrub’, followed by the ‘Pomegranate Infusion Bath’, may be considered the ultimate in relaxation therapies – within a private garden atmosphere while sipping a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate elixir.


Therapists at the Spa are trained to reach out through their expert hands, to bring guests the healing qualities of some of the world’s most precious stones and metals. These include the exotic ‘Illuminating Pearl and Gem Stone Facial’ and the ‘Chakra Balancing Gem Stone Massage’. Eight exquisitely designed luxury treatment suites, offer well-known therapies from across the world. ‘The Royal Mughal Hamam’, is the first luxury hamam in India and recreates the mood of the royal hamams of the Mughal Dynasty.

Other known spa therapies include the popular ‘Thai Massage’, the ‘Monticelli Mud Wrap’ and the ‘Mung Bean Soap Massage’. There is also a special suite set aside for India’s very own ‘Ayurvedic ‘ therapies, which include guidance in yoga, Shirodhara, Abhyanga and the famous hot Herbal Poultice Massage. 

The Hair and Nail Spa, is a world of pampered luxury, equipped with the latest state of the art treatments, while the Water Therapy Room offers the essentials of all spas – steam, whirlpool and sauna. 

The Mughal mood is heightened at the open-air 25 – metre lap pool, surrounded by relaxation areas. Set within a garden of fruit-bearing trees, lush green lawns and flowers, this is where specialty poolside treatments are offered.  Refreshments and snacks are also served here, through a special menu consisting of unique recipes in keeping with the mood of the spa. n

India was one of only 12 countries worldwide to win the first Aga Khan Award, instituted in 1980. ITC Mughal was singled out for the award for “successfully achieving consistency with historical context.” The award’s committee described the hotel as “an expression of the culture and rich architectural tradition of the region with an entirely contemporary vocabulary of forms.”

With the addition of the Spa, a whole new dimension has been added to the hotel’s architecture, which was inspired by the use of space in Mughal Architecture, as seen at ‘Fatehpur Sikri’, the abandoned city built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. In keeping with the hotel’s ambience the new spa, adds to the Mughal mood, through close attention to detailing while maintaining its contemporary idiom.   

 Links: www.starwoodhotels.com— got to Agra Hotels  luxury collection; for air check out deals at:  www.emerates.com.

Truckit Fest at Union Station stars Cheeseball Wagon, Vesuviola and Auntie’s Frybread


Foodies rev your engines, the next Truckit Fest is heading to LA’s Union Station on April 3, grab your knife and fork and dig in…

The your eyes are bigger than our tummy event lured  an estimated 5000 local foodies when it debuted March 6 and lots more are expected at this one where vendors such as Cheeseball Wagon, Vesuviola and Auntie’s Frybread will cook up a storm.

The historic train station provides a picturesque setting for e monthly event, which costs just $5 for general admission and $25 for a VIP pass which allows access to the Truck Stop Lounge in the Fred Harvey Room– with a live DJ and table service. Start the day at the Wine Bar. e located in the restaurant’s moody art deco bar where Liquid Assets will provide a selection of Chardonnay, Merlot and Shiraz, and the menu of Craft Beers includes Stone IPA, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Fat Tire, Newcastle, Corona, Blue Moon, and Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA.

New trucks participating in April include Meet ‘n Potatoes, Piaggio, Jody Maroni, Happy Cup, Auntie’s Frybread, The Cheeseball Wagon, Macho Nacho, The Yummy One, Louks To Go, Wrap Me Silly, Ludo Truck, and VesuvioLA. There’s also a shopping section filled with homemade art and accessories is now open to the public (no entrance fee needed), and now includes antiques, vintage and collectable items. TruckIt Fest, Sunday April 3rd, from 11 AM-5 PM at Union Station, 800 North Alameda Street. General admission is $5, V.I.P. is $25, and kids under 12 are free. Valet parking costs $15 and self-parking in the Metro Water District Building is $10.

 Arrive by who Metro and show your valid Metro pass, Metro Rail ticket or Destinations Discounts card train ticket get $1 off admission. Tickets are available online or at the event. For more information visit http://www.truckitfest.com or call 866.966.9495.

The Diva Didn’t Have to Go Far to Find Her Spa

Le Posh Spa

Holly had me. She took me for all I was worth. My body collapased, I began to doze.  Her melodic movements put me in a trance.  It was a Diva’s dream come true–a facial that only improved my looks but relaxed me to a plutocratic pulp.

The Divaonthe go tried a new spa aptly called Le Posh Salon. I booked the signature facial and lucked out with Holly–although I’m sure the entire staff of this 4 week old LA day spa is as able bodied.

Located on Sunset Boulevard, just shie  of the heart of Hollywood, the  highly stylized spa  seems a bit out of place among the funky shops and eateries that line the area.  But that’s part of the charm.

When you walk in the door you can feel the vibe, hip, young, engergetic–possibly induced by the free espresso/cappucino bar or the complimentary Vieuve Cliquot champagne (one of my favorites) or the long WiFi bar where you can plop your laptop and go to work or email or whatever you do, but of course why would you  want to when the spa’s intent is  to relax and induce nirvana.

I love the phyiscal place–but it was the facial that sold me. Now if you read my blogs and/or Examiner.com pieces you know that I’ve had lots of beauty treatments all over the world. So I do not  compliment lightly. The Diva takes her facials seriously especially at today’s high prices.

Le Posh uses one of the best products on the market f or their facials: Biologique Recherche, that combined with Holly’s holy hands,  made for a marriage made in facial heaven.  The products really work. My face felt taut and looked younger after the 90 minute treatment, that also included a barely legal scalp massage (it was that rewarding), and hand, foot and shoulder massage s.

Let’s face it, what else is there in life.

Le Posh Salon is located at 7551 Sunset Blvd., LA, 323-851-5559, www.salonleposh.com.

WiFi Bar is free to hook up, drink bubbly or coffee

The Diva and the Dirty Martini

Richard's Martini from the well, Martini Bar ($9.50 plus 18% tip)

Acapulco ftom the Diva’s verandah on Oceania’s MarinaArriving in Los Cabos on Oceania Cruises’ MarinaMS Marina in Chiapas, Mexico

Heading through the Panama Canal

Free Bloody Mary's on the Marina during crossing of Panama Canal

Marina makes maiden voyage through Panama Canal
The Diva looking out to Cabo on the Marina

Salmon tartar served on the Marina, like all the food it was exceptional

Diva’s favorite bar stool in the Casino Bar on the Marina

Information: www.oceaniacruises.com,     photography by Richard and Patti Pietschmann