“Breathe in, stretch up. Breathe out, palms on the ground.” Rajneesh is taking me through morning yoga by the mirror-like 50-meter pool that stretches out along the ground level of the incomparably beautiful Aman New Delhi.
Billed as a ‘city retreat’, it is serene and peaceful – when the nearby workmen hacking up the roads in the name of the Commonwealth Games are stopping for a chai break.
This is luxe on tap. Only 40 suites, each one has its own plunge pool and 24-hour butler service. When I ring to book a wake-up call, the operator asks: would you like tea delivered at that time? And the freshest, most pure Earl Grey in fine bone china cups is carried to my door.
The spa offers India’s own Auryvedic treatments, tuned to your dosha, or personality. But over coffee, the spa’s high-energy Californian manager dug a thumb into my shoulder and another above my elbow, grabbed the phone and ordered 90 minutes in the hamman to scrub my grotty aura back to pure white and another hour-and-a-half on the massage table to experience the resort’s signature spa with Tensing, his “new Tibetan”.
The gym is staffed by a ranked tennis pro and a rugby player who has represented India, there is a hair spa that caters for media magnates and rock stars’ wives, private yoga in the nearby historical gardens and even a tapas bar tucked away.
Guests pootle around town in a beautiful silver Ambassador, India’s quaint, English-style cars that are a common sight as yellow-and-black taxis, not so common when polished to a sheen and nosing through the narrow streets of the backpacker enclaves, where I was the other day. We had to hit the horn to get all the cheesecloth-clad hippies from blocking our path. Elitist? You bet. But oh, so comfortable.