Taj Bengal Hotel Spa, Kolkata India: What? Another spa but what a difference Barbara Kingstone June 20, 2011 India, Spas I can hear you saying, spa, schma, yet another one. However, like all things interesting, there’s always something new to add, entice and beckon even jaded spa goers. But this time it isn’t one, it happens to be two creative and stunning spas. So with the curiosity for something news, my first sampling was at Taj Bengal Hotel Spa in Kolkata. Never underestimate the innovative ideas and treatments of these serious treatment centres which eventually show up on this side of the world. In Bhutan, a tiny landlocked country which sits neatly in the valley of the Himalayas, is now vying for tourism after years of a closed door policy, I was surprised to find a contemporary 5 star hotel, Amankouri with a spa of the same caliber. My favourite is the cedar lined tub which was filled with the fresh mountain water from the nearby Haa Mountain range. Watching the tub fill as it ran over blue pine branches and a sachet of healing Kempa plant I was distracted as the mineral laden stones from the near Paro Chhu River were heated over a wood fire. When they were glowing red then dropped into the bath one by one, after amercing myself in the tub, the hot stones are kept at a temperature that suited me. More stones added for extra heat. The stones release their mineral and emit healing, relaxing traditional Bhutanese experience. A bit of history. Hot stone baths are part of the tradition of this stunning mist covered country. You can find these wood or stone tubs through the country. So just lay back, know that the stones are now on the premises and that in an hour or two, you’ll be ready to look at those wonderful mountains and think about climbing them or going for a long hike before heading back to this stunning hotel in this quiet, friendly and still unknown locations.