When housed in a ‘palace’, you expect a wellness experience that is nothing less than stunning. As the tall double doors of The Leela Palace’s new spa open, I find myself in a space that keeps that promise. Warm smiles, a cool lemonade and a hot towel welcome me as I am ushered into the 16,000-square-foot spa designed by Jeffrey Wilkes, of Kuala Lumpur’s DesignWilkes, and Madhu Nair, of The Leela. “After Delhi and Udaipur, the opening of world-renowned UK brand, Espa, here carries forward the intrinsic Leela spa experience that exudes luxury and the best in wellness,” says Nair, director, Design and Operations, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
With cream walls and dark teak wood floors, the spa has 12 rooms, including a couple’s suite overlooking its own private garden. Adding to the plush interiors: Rajasthan’s thikri (glass mosaic) work on the walls, along with collectible art pieces by artists like Chameli Ramachandran and Alex Davies. “At Espa, we have also brought in concepts like thermal suites and a spa journey—where a personal attendant guides you every step of the way, before leaving you in the capable hands of our therapists,” explains Anuj Singh, the spa manager.
Inspired by the philosophy of ‘senus per aquam’ (healing through water), the thermal suites house vitality pools with body jets, oak-wood saunas, mosaic-lined steam rooms and stimulating rain showers. “The vitality pool is a new concept. With four different features (including a chair and a bed with body jets), it will relax your muscles and prepare you for the spa treatment to follow,” says Singh, adding that there are separate suites for men and women. And the suite lives up to the pitch—especially the pool, where nearly 20 minutes of ‘jet action’ leaves me blissful.
In the spa room—with private lifestyle showers, mood lighting and a curated music menu—the skilled therapist (who tells me she underwent seven months of training with Espa and Leela trainers) helps me choose the aromatherapy oils to be used, before starting the Essence of Leela spa treatment, which practically puts me to sleep.
Two hours later, as I sit refreshed, sipping on honeyed mint tea, Singh tells me the spa wants to tap the day spa market. “Besides offering packages that will combine our gym, yoga and spa facilities, we will also craft a menu (inclusive of a healthy meal) that will let you spend more than just a few hours here,” he signs off, but not before adding that I can buy all the Espa products—from moisturisers to masks—at the spa.Products and treatments fromRs.2,000 onwards. Timing: 7 am to 10 pm. Details: 30958190
Most popular: Deep muscle massage (Rs.3,900)
Pressed for time: Jet Lag Recovery (Rs.2,800)
Going local: Sample their dosha-based Abhyanga treatment (Rs.3,900)
Our favourite: Couple’s suite with private steam and sauna, and two treatments each (from Rs.11,700)
—Surya Praphulla Kumar