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The Dwarikas Hotel Dhulikhel

The Dwarikas Hotel Dhulikhel

View from Dwarikas Resort of surrounding mountains

Luxury hotels in Nepal

Dwarikas Resort from above by Daniel Scott
Dwarikas Resort from above by Daniel Scott

The Dwarikas Hotel in Dhulikhel, Nepal

It takes about an hour to reach Dwarikas Resort from Kathmandu, and to leave behind the noise and traffic of the Nepalese capital.  Sprawling across a hillside, high above Dulikhel, on the eastern fringes of the Kathmandu Valley, the resort extends over 10 hectares and is instilled with exactly the sort of tranquility you’d hope for in a wellness retreat.

I’m tired when I arrive and feel a bit overwhelmed at the size of the resort, which requires a map and an orientation from lovely receptionist, Ashmita, using a golf cart, to help me get my bearings.  It really is like a small rural town, with reception and the principal hotel restaurants at the foot of the hillside and its important wellness elements like the yoga and meditation halls at the very top of a steep incline.

Poolside daybed at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott
Poolside daybed at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott

In between are all the resort residences and its huge suites, an outdoor infinity pool with poolside restaurant, a heated indoor pool, a spa village, including multiple treatment rooms, and both Himalayan Salt and Crystal houses, spread among extensive gardens.  Up to 15 gardeners are needed to maintain these green surrounds, which also feature a meditation maze, multiple sculptures and inspirational quotes positioned on plaques throughout the grounds.

The Executive Terrace suite in Dwarikas Hotel, Dhulikel

Among these gems I find this one particularly inspiring:

Dwarikas Resort Suite
Dwarikas Resort Suite

“The 3 C’s in life: Choice, Chance, Change. You must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to change.”

With two days at Dwarikas Resort ahead of me, I decide to let go of work stress, open myself up to what’s on offer here and see where it leads.

First, I settle into my Executive Terrace suite, which has views over the valley below and the surrounding hills through floor-to-ceiling windows.  A king-sized bed occupies prime position, with day-bed off to one side and a sitting area beside the panoramic windows, with a selection of fruit and whole walnuts – ready for cracking- there to welcome me.  The ensuite bathroom is enormous, with pavers leading across a floor strewn with off-white pebbles to twin brass sinks on a carved wooden vanity and to a separate toilet, shower, and a sunken tub with a view.

As usual with Dwarikas, the attention to detail in this homely but sumptuous suite is notable, with carved wood bedhead and bedside tables and walls adorned with ornamental artworks – no doubt rescued and restored historical pieces under this hotel group’s inspiring conservation work.  Walls are a soothing light terracotta colour and bedspreads and cushions and pillows are creamy white and patterned or contrasting black.

Suite at Dwarikas Resort
Suite at Dwarikas Resort

The space in this suite does not stop there.  Out through my suite’s entrance way and up a spiral staircase I emerge onto an expansive terrace with fourposter daybed draped with cushions and two seating areas, one undercover, from which to admire the outstanding view, over an evening drink or morning cuppa.    

Massages and spas in Nepal

Sitting up here for just a few minutes, I begin adjusting to the resort’s slower pace, tuning into the bird song and starting to appreciate the space around me, in a very cluttered world.

I also make some decisions, opting to cancel some elements of my stay, including a five hour “spiritual hike” to a monastery organised for the next day, in order to properly explore and take advantage of the resort.

Dwarika's Resort Dhulikhel
A journey of revival The Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel is a holistic lifestyle retreat, drawing on ancient Himalayan knowledge and philosophy of care for nature and for one’s self. Set in magnificent natural surroundings, we offer a place in which to contemplate, to learn and to explore the connectedness between mind, body and earth.

This exploration begins with an hour-long Ayurvedic massage in one of the spa villas, designed to activate “marma” (energy) points in the body with a combination of herbal oils and flowing strokes, and continues with my first yoga session with the almost rubber-limbed teacher, Ganesh, at 5pm.

By dinner, at the resort’s main restaurant, Nature’s Flavours –  a healthy and delicious three courses consisting of mozzarella and tomato salad, buffalo rigatoni and green tea ice cream – I’m already well on my way to losing the ennui I arrived with.

Yoga and breathwork in Nepal

Dwarika's Resort Dhulikhel
A journey of revival The Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel is a holistic lifestyle retreat, drawing on ancient Himalayan knowledge and philosophy of care for nature and for one’s self. Set in magnificent natural surroundings, we offer a place in which to contemplate, to learn and to explore the connectedness between mind, body and earth.

It’s the next day, however, that I fully commit to restoring body – following a demanding 12-day trek in the Himalayas – and mind.

The day begins with yoga at 7am before moving straight onto a Pranayama Breathwork session, again with Ganesh, in which we calm ourselves by taking breaths slowly and deliberately through one nostril and expelling them out of the other.

At lunchtime I am booked into to see the onsite Ayurvedic doctor, Sadu, during which I fill in a questionnaire to determine my body type and am declared a “Pitta” (primarily comprising fire and water elements) with a need to calm strong emotions with cooling exercise, cold showers and a diet that should lean toward green juices and vegetables like asparagus, kale and spinach.

Ganesh at Chakra meditation villa at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott
Ganesh at Chakra meditation villa at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott

Taking the advice to heart, I order a lunch of watermelon and feta salad at the poolside restaurant before heading back up to see Ganesh for a “chakra” meditation in a small enclosed pavilion.  This entails contracting and loosening various energy points in the body while chanting mantras along with Ganesh, as well as envisaging various colours from orange to yellow to light and dark blue and inviting them to wash over me. 

By now I am really beginning to feel relaxed and a singing bowl meditation a bit later almost puts me to sleep as  we lie on a cushioned mats and tune into the high pitched vibrations emanating from the front of the room.  This ancient ritual is believed to remove negative energies, reduce stress and bring our internal organs into harmony and I find it surprisingly powerful.

Buddhist statue at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott
Buddhist statue at Dwarikas Resort by Daniel Scott

A Hindu blessing at the Dwarikas Resort, Dhulikel

My most profound experience at the resort, though, is my early evening blessing by young Hindu priest, Rajesh Padal, at the meditation maze.

First Rajesh takes me through a series of offerings and prayers to the gods Brahma (the creator), Ganesh (the elephant god of wisdom) and Shiva (the supreme god).  Then, as darkness begins to fall,  we process through the maze, me leading Rajesh, carrying some burning material in a bowl, as behind me he blows into a conch, taps a drum and waves a yak’s tail.  This moving ceremony takes me straight back to when I was 18 and travelling the length and breadth of northern India, becoming increasingly captivated by the mysticism of the place.  Following on from all that mediation and yoga, the blessing instills me with a sense of peace that stays with me for the remainder of my stay.

Swimming pools in Nepal

Dwarikas Resort Infinity pool by Daniel Scott
Dwarikas Resort Infinity pool by Daniel Scott

Over dinner of Nepalese momo dumplings, I am nearly in a Zen state and, on my final day, I resolve to keep it that way, with another Ayurvedic massage and a swim and relax beside the infinity pool.

Although a week at Dwarikas Resort would have probably kicked stress into touch for good, these last two days, my last in Nepal after trekking in the Everest region and before flying onto Singapore and then London, from Kathmandu, on a hectic work schedule, have provided much needed balance and restoration. 

In short, I am much changed from when I arrived, thanks to this expansive and soothing property and its warm, mindful practitioners and staff. 

Dwarikas Resort

Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal.

Website: dwarikas-dhulikhel.com

Email: info@dwarikas-dhulikhel.com

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