Far more than just a stunning place to call home for a week or two, the Hotel Engel Ayurpura, opened in November, is a refuge for those in search of a respite from a busy world and an authentic Ayurvedic experience amidst the majestic mountain scenery of the Dolomites. Hop on a prop plane from London Stansed Airport and fly to Italy for an immersive experience in Ayurveda at a sanctuary dedicated to this Indian medical science.
Our wellness writer indulged in a seven-day programme and takes us inside the hotel and the experience.
Hotel Engel Ayurpura Boutique Hotel
With a total of just 15 rooms, the intimate boutique hotel is design forward with chic and stylish decor in natural tones reflective of its ethos of balance and calm. Each room has an oversized terrace where guests can gaze at the undulating valleys and the changing moods of nature, as well as soak up the fresh air and pervasive silence that invites deep relaxation. Meanwhile, its south-facing aspect pulls light in all day through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The interior and external design are right at home amidst the exceptional Dolomites, while the hotel’s stand-out angular roof line echoes the craggy peaks of the celebrated Rosengarten massif. Encircled by views that take your breath away at an altitude of 1200 metres, Hotel Engel Ayurpura is family-owned and nurtured by a caring and professional team..
Founded in 1830 as a farm, the estate was extended by the Kohler family in 1862. Today, more than a century later, the family continues its tradition of hospitality at the new Hotel Engel Ayurpura.
An Ayurveda Dosha Overview
Do you know your Dosha? Now you don’t have to travel as far as India to find out. This sanctuary is the place to discover your dosha type, which is believed to be responsible for our physiological, mental, and emotional health. Named as vata, kapha, and pitta, we all have a unique ratio of these three elements, which defines our Ayurvedic constitution.
Our doshas are usually out of sync and it is here, amidst the Dolomites, that you can find your path to balance and harmony.
Those with the vata dosha are usually described as slim, energetic, and creative. They’re known for thinking outside the box but can become easily distracted. Their mood is highly dependent on the weather, the people around them and foods they eat According to Ayurveda, for optimal health, a vata-dominant person should follow a regular daily routine, manage stress through meditation and other calming activities, and maintain a warm body temperature by avoiding cold weather and consuming warm foods and drinks
People with the kapha dosha are described as strong and caring. They’re known for keeping things together and being supportive of others. Kapha-dominant people rarely get upset, think before acting, and go through life in a slow, deliberate manner For optimal health, a kapha-dominant person should focus on regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintain a warm body temperature (use of saunas or eating warm food), and establish a regular sleep routine
People with pitta dosha are said to usually have a muscular build, athletic, and are strong leaders. They’re highly motivated, goal-oriented, and competitive. However, their aggressive and tenacious nature can be off-putting to some people, which can lead to conflict. Those with a pitta-dominant dosha should focus on work-life balance.
Welcome to Wellness
The Wellness Concierge greeted me with the warmth and calmness one would expect of this new wellness hideaway. The first personal appointment is with Dr Vaidya Swami Nath Mishra, one of the most respected pulse diagnosticians in India and Italy’s only Ayurveda physician, who has been practising at the hotel since 2018.
He provided me with a general introduction to Ayurveda and then compiled a personal nutrition plan and a treatment schedule from his pulse assessment. (Additional supplements are charged extra). From here, my Ayurvedic cure commenced based on my dosha balance, or shall I say, my imbalance.
Later consultations were scheduled to check progress and to make adjustments during my stay. This follows a pre-visit online consultation where the programme was explained, and prepared me for my visit.
Cure programmes range from a 4-day Approaching Ayurvedic, 5 or 7-day Rasayana Fountain of Youth and 7, 14 or 21-day Panchakarma cures. I chose the 7-day Rasayana programme, which included 6 cure days with 12 treatments aimed to slow down the aging process and strengthen my immune system. It was supplemented by yoga in the mornings and meditation in the evening.
Also included in my programme:
7 nights and 6 cure days with 12 treatments
Ayurvedic full board
Consultation & pulse diagnosis
Treatments according to anamnesis
2 Abhyanga – Ayurvedic full body oil massages
1 Vishesh – energy massage
1 Udvartana – special abdominal massage
1 Mukabhyanga – Ayurvedic head & face massage
2 Padabhyanga – ayurvedic foot massage (25 min)
1 Shirodhara – forehead oil pouring
1 Pristabhyangam – back massage Udvartana – herbal powder massage
1 Marmabhyangam (energy points massage)
2 herbal stamp massages
Yoga & Meditation as per weekly programme
Access to the SPA and swimming pool
“I will take care of you, you’re in good hands,” were the heart-warming words of my assigned therapist, Mouro. And he did.
Spiritual as well as professional, his master techniques and massages fell in tune with my body’s needs, pinpointing those knots and niggly pains. And it was hot water bottle junction, all cozy, warm and relaxed. Warm conditions are part of the Ayurveda philosophy – warm, inside and out.
Medley of Massages
There’s a kaleidoscope of massage styles to complement and support your prescribed treatment plan, from head to foot and the belly button in between.
Abhyanga is the supreme discipline among Ayurvedic massages, meant to restore balance of the three doshas and bring body and mind back into harmony.
Synchronous Abhyanga is performed by two therapists.
With a reputation for it relaxing effects, Shirodhara is top of my list. This involves an even stream of warm oil poured on the forehead from a height of 10cm.
Food is Medicine
Food here is medicine, paired to the rebalance of your dosha prescription. Ayurveda consommé with herbs, organic Ermes rice (red rice) with pumpkin seed cream and cinnamon, courgette mille feuilles with basil pesto and tomato sauce. Creative, colourful and nutritious, gluten and lactose free, dishes are mainly vegetarian using seasonal cooked, digestible vegetables. Breakfast is an array of porridge options, stewed fruit and broths.
Lunch is the main meal and starts with a fasting soup made with algae extract, while dinner is light to ensure sleep.
Herbal tea and water are recommended at 30 minutes on either side of a meal to assist the digestion process, with a cup of detox tea taken first in the morning.
The airy restaurant looks out over spectacular views. Tables are assigned or there’s a designated social area to join others. And sshh…. there’s a “silent flower” badge you can wear if you want your own company and thoughts.
All food is served hot, and warm water is available around the hotel to help you reach your two-litre daily requirement.
Ayurveda is all about relaxing and places to do this are around every corner. Looking out to the heated outdoor pool and the bio-sauna is a spacious relaxation room where the mountain falls to eye-level vision. On the top floor this repeats with the addition of infrared chairs and an elevated view of the valleys from lounge beds with cuddly blankets. Bliss! An atelier offers crafts to promote mindfulness while gentle walks in the fresh air and swimming are encouraged. There is a cooking class and an evening talk on Ayurveda.
The concept is the inspiration of Carmen Kohler who is an advocate of Ayurveda after overcoming her own health problems. Modelling the benefits of this medicinal cure, she believes we all have the strength and positive attitude to prevent diseases. “It is my personal mission to pass on to others the value of this precious traditional science, especially here in in this place of beauty, surrounded by nature and its healing qualities.”
Location! Location! Location!
Nova Levanti in South Tyrol is a picturesque region punctuated by the legendary Rosengarten mountain range, which performs its alpenglow opus as the sun descends behind the horizon each evening. Amidst this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, dotted with mountain huts, relaxation embraces you and invites you to harness the nature-nurture effect.
The hotel provides a bus pass to explore the local area during your stay.
Get There With SkyAlps
Small, modern with a high level of service, SkyAlps provides the unique experience to fly on a prop plane in sight of the mountain peaks rather than the vast expanse of sky and cloud.
Since SkyAlps launched in 2021, sustainability has been part of the company’s genetic makeup. Studies have shown that contrails formed above 26,000 feet significantly impact the climate in a negative way but these planes never exceed this altitude. The entire fleet consists of modern and highly efficient turboprop aircrafts.
This small regional airline serving South Tyrol is the only airline offering direct connections between Bolzano and over 10 European cities and produce up to 50 percent less emissions than other regional jets with a consumption of just 2.3 litres per passenger per 100-kilometres.
From the great Himalayas to South Tyrol, this oldest known natural medicine is now more accessible. Tried and tested over centuries, Ayurveda is enjoying a revival and is widely used today. Combining physical, psychological, and spiritual health, it focuses on whole-body healing and sees a person’s dosha as the dynamic principle that determines their personality and health. From take-off to touch down, a stay at the Hotel Engels and travelling with Skyalps delivers sustainable wellness in our modern world.
Book your cure at Hotel Engels Ayurpura
BeSeeingYou In: South Tyrol, Italy
Good to Know: There’s no bad time to go and every season has its rewards.
WOW! Factor: Fly directly to your bliss on Skyalps from London Stansted Airport to Bolzano twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesday.
Tip:: The outdoor infinity pool is great for a swim as the sun rises above the mountains followed by the bio-sauna with close up views of nature.
Author bio: Jane Wilson, The Wellness Traveler
Read more Wellness stories at BeSeeingYou
Photos courtesy of Hotel Engel Ayurpura and ©Tiberio-Sorvillo except where noted