Past remedies and present luxuries unite

A Shirodhara treatment at the Divya Spa in The Leela Kovalam

Mithu Basu, group head of corporate communication and Dinesh Madhavan, regional director, sales and marketing, talk about Leela Palaces, Hotels  & Resorts.

Why in general have spas become so popular?
The spa today is the perfect place to unwind and rediscover your health. With multi tasking and stress becoming the constant companions in our fast paced lives, the spa today has become synonymous with a holistic lifestyle. Increasing awareness about personal care and wellbeing and high disposable income has further accelerated this trend.

What is the USP of The Leela Spa?
The Leela has always focused on encapsulating the best of contemporary India along with its rich tradition. Continuing in the same vein, the spas offer the remedies of the past in luxurious contemporary settings. Our Ayurveda practices are gleaned from one of the oldest schools ‘Sayadri’. These authentic age old solutions to wellbeing doctored in a contemporary Indian settings are our USP.

Who are your major source markets and what new markets are you targeting?
For our business hotels in Mumbai and Bangalore, the major source market consists of local expats, Indian nationals and hotel guests. Most of our expat community consists of Americans, English, Australian and Asians.
For our resorts in Goa and Kovalam, the major source markets are Europe, UK and Russia, as Ayurveda and yoga are popular in these regions, and we focus on the domestic market during the months from April to September.

What percentage of revenue is driven by spas?
The Spas at the Leela enable its guests to have the best of Ayurveda and other therapies along with world class facilities. As of now the spas drive approximately two to four per cent of our total revenue; the phased refurbishment plans are sure to add on to this figure in the near future. 

What are the current spa trends? And what can we expect to see in the years ahead?
Today, Ayurveda is the buzzword the world over. Thai and Swedish massages, which are trendy and cosmetic in nature, are also quite popular. However, in the years to come, we are of the opinion that Ayurveda for cures and wellbeing will be the frontrunner.

Investments for the future?
The Leela is looking at enhancing and expanding its spa in all the hotels, and they definitely will be a prominent inclusion in our future projects also. Our spa at The Leela Kovalam has recently been refurbished to include new massage rooms and other amenities. As a part of its refurbishment plan, The Spa at The Leela, Kempinski Mumbai too is being renovated to offer world class spa facilities to our corporate clientele.

Any plans for the Middle East?
As of now, we are focused on consolidating our pan India presence with our upcoming properties in Udaipur and Gurgaon Delhi NCR (both 2008), Chennai (2009); New Delhi (2010); Hyderabad and Pune (both 2010).