During my enchanting time at Gili Lankanfushi, I began most days with early-morning yoga with on-site specialist Devendra Pokhriyal, sometimes in the spa, sometimes in the outdoor yoga pavilion near the beach, where you can feel the sea breeze and hear the birds call in the trees. Devendra was very gentle and encouraging, even when my tree pose was more like the shape of a shrub. As well as early-morning yoga (every day except Sunday), you can also try afternoon meditation three times a week; Devendra also carries out traditional ayurvedic therapies such as abhyangha in the spa. On full-moon nights, you can book full-moon yoga, too.
Most treatments in Meera Spa begin with a foot ritual including a salt scrub and scented essences to soften and soothe your barefoot limbs: excellent if you have fully embraced the resort’s “no news, no shoes” approach, as your feet do get rather dusty from all that white sand.
My introductory experience was the champissage massage — which I chose because it focuses on the areas where I love massage most: back, neck, shoulders, scalp. What could be better than a massage you love? A massage you love with a view of tropical fish. Glass panels in the floor underneath the treatment tables allow you, when you are lying face-down, to gaze at the brightly coloured marine life just below you in the impossibly transparent sea-water. Baby sharks, rays and parrot fish don’t feature too often in a UK spa menu.
My therapist, Eka, had a good touch — not too firm to be painful but strong enough to untie knots. I chose the Meera oil for my massage, which contained sweet-smelling basil. Afterwards, I sipped ginger tea and nibbled almonds and apricots on the tranquil upstairs verandah, watching the flying fish.
I also enjoyed the Meera signature massage treatment in the “Senses” outdoor spa area by the beach, under the coconut trees. I asked for the music to be switched off so I could listen to the waves. My therapist (Eka, again) combined lomi lomi strokes with Thai stretching, and shiatsu pressure point therapy. She paid lots of attention to my shoulders and scalp, smoothing her hands over my skin with virgin coconut oil, and virtually demanding the tension to depart. I could feel myself unwind in the cool breeze.
My final spa experience was a Voya seaweed wrap from the Voya Ocean Therapy range. Your therapist slathers you with a seaweed scrub, which you wash off in the shower (with Voya “squeaky clean” wash — a pleasurable experience in itself). You return to have actual warm hand-harvested seaweed applied to your skin. First, across your back as you sit upright on the treatment table, then you lie down to have the thick bladderwrack seaweed strands wound around your limbs and across your stomach and shoulders. While the seaweed was fairly leaching minerals into my epidermis, my therapist gave me a strong head and scalp massage, applying a hair mask as she went. Bliss. Afterwards, my skin would have won prizes in a Smooth Skin competition.
Other treatments on offer at Meera Spa include Sodashi facials and body treatments, a variety of massages (including a Tibetan Singing Bowl massage), soothing and healing complementary therapies, as well as a steam room and sauna. There are treatments specifically for men, for mums-to-be, detox journeys and couples’ rituals. The new spa manager, Sophon O-in, may introduce new delights. We’ll keep you posted.