Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Four Fountains

What can make you walk out with a spring your step with only distant memories of the long and busy week that just ended? Why, a relaxing massage at a spa of course!

Day-spas are finally beginning to make an appearance in India. Unfortunately, in spite of our history of Ayurveda and maalish, it has taken us long to embrace something that ought to have commonplace here. Four Fountains Spa now brings the spa experience to Pune in an elegant and soothing ambiance that is attractively priced. Almost all full-body treatments are under Rs. 1000.

Picture of flowers courtesy: Badr Nassem.

Until now, even five-star hotels in Pune did not have good spas; in any case, they operate at a different price-point (almost thrice that of the Four Fountains). As for the low-end options, you can never quite figure out which ones are legal and not a front for other (illegal) kinds of pampering!

Four Fountains Spa PuneI chose the 60 minute Aromatherapy treatment with a blend of eucalyptus and aniseed oils, which promised to recharge the mind. Four Fountains, like most Indian spas, has a policy of same-gender therapists. My therapist today was a young man from Manipur who was friendly and well trained. He explained the process clearly and periodically checked to see if I was comfortable with the pressure and the temperature in the room. I asked him how he found Pune; he said he was very happy here because there is a severe shortage of jobs in Manipur. He also spoke about his concern on the insurgency in that region - his parents still live there.

Four Fountains Spa Pune
Four Fountains Spa PuneAs the masseur expertly kneaded my muscles, working on pressure points, and soon the aroma of the oil and the continued pampering sent me into a state of blissful langour. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and I relectantly got up. A quick shower, and I was ready to face the world - even one where we apparently have been falling off cliffs!

Four Fountains is the brainchild of three friends from IIM-A. They have three spa outlets right now in Pune: in Koregaon Park, Aundh and Magarpatta City. The one in Aundh also has a Salon run by Javed Habib. The spa offers a multitude of treatments: massages, facials, body polishing and body wraps. They have discounts during week days and even gift coupons that you can buy off their website.

As for the spa itself, I was quite impressed with the experience. The locker and shower are built into the therapy room, which speeds up the process considerably. While I have been to many excellent upscale spas, they have almost always been in spa resorts or five star hotels (link). The spa resorts are, of course, a different experience altogether - mostly in terms of ambiance, decor, music, fragrance and other small touches that spell luxury. However, they are far more expensive and not available within Pune. For now, if you are looking to pamper yourself and don't have the time to venture out of the city, Four Fountains is a great option!

Four Fountains provides a wonderful little booklet for Indian spa-virgins. If you are a newbie, are intrigued but don't know what to expect in a spa, you may want to check this one out. A spa - like wine - can be intimidating for a newcomer. Please note, this booklet is tailored for India. I can think of at least two things quite different if you visit a spa outside India: one, the therapist almost always is of the other sex (ie., female therapist for a male guest and vice versa) and two, you disrobe completely, even though some spas do provide (optional) disposable undergarments.
Note: This therapy session was offered complimentary to me because of my blog (that's how they located me). Let me know about your experiences in India spas, especially the Four Fountains, if you have one to share.


Ashish said...

I was the first paying customer of the Aundh branch way back in early 2008 when they started off !

I think Four Fountain spa is the best value for money you can get for a spa session at Pune.

The best thing about them (apart from their prices ie)is that their premises are so clean. Its the first place I go to usually after a business trip or a particularly long week.

Deepti said...

Was waiting for this post .. seems like a nice place to try .. :)

GMG said...

Hi Shantanu! Sorry for the absence! It has been hard to get some free time... ;)
Definitely a place to enjoy!!
Loved to see the view from Leopold...

Now, «The Masterpiece» waits you and your comments at Blogtrotter. You shouldn’t miss it, believe me... ;). Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Ravi said...

The wife and I have been to spas a few times in the US (where we currently live), and like you said, the first time can be a bit intimidating. Especially, when, after a relaxing luxurious massage, your brain struggles to calculate the amount that you are expected to tip. Is the annoying tipping culture as prevalent in India as it is in the US? (I know you don't tip cabbies and barbers in India)

Shantanu said...

@Ashish: First paying customer, really? They must have garlanded you and given you special treatment. :)

@Deepti: Yes, an alternative to eating out when all you want is to just relax.

@GMG: I have been a little irregular around here too.

@Ravi: Some tip is expected here. About 10% is normal.

Kalz said...

Yet another awesome Post. I am a big fan of the four fountain spa.The best thing is the entire team is very professional.Recently i got the opportunity to learn the aromatherapy massage here. I totally enjoyed it. They are very soon introducing regular workshops on such therapies.

Shantanu said...

@kalz: Thanks for sharing.

Lakshmi said...

I need one right now..wonderful post

mohit said...

HI, i experienced the Mahanirvan Spa at Nagar Road recently. Its a recent development in Pune. But believe me its the best. 40 therapies,yoga,meditation,Cafe and more

Anonymous said...

do they offer happy endings?

Shantanu said...

@Anon: Don't think so!

Anonymous said...

which spa in pune can offer me happy endings ?

Shantanu said...

@Anon: None of the ones reviewed on this blog. For that, you have to look carefully at the classified section of the local Times of India.

Shantanu said...

@Anon: None of the ones reviewed on this blog. For that, you have to look carefully at the classified section of the local Times of India.