Home Beauty & Wellness ESPA at the Leela Palace: Offering Quality is the Key

ESPA at the Leela Palace: Offering Quality is the Key


Salon India talks to Tania Bardhan, Spa Manager at ESPA spa at The Leela Palace, New Delhi to understand the philosophy, strategy and present status of Indian Spa Industry.

Please tell us about your professional background and current designation.

My journey with the spa industry started with working for wellness spas right after graduating in homeopathic medicine and acupuncture. In the 12 years of my career so far, I have enjoyed the opportunities to work with spas with diverse offerings and target market segments. This has included working with a wellness resort offering ayurvedic treatments, acupuncture, western naturopathy, yoga, homeopathy and spa treatments, spas in leisure resorts, spas in city hotels and also setting up and looking after multi spa operations as part of a spa management group.

What’s your view on India’s spa and wellness segment?

India has always had an advantage as well as great potential to develop the spa and wellness segment because of Ayurveda. To an extent, the Indian spa and wellness industry to date is generally synonymous with ‘Ayurvedic’ treatments. I see a lot of possibilities in integrating this profound system of medicine with other systems of holistic healing and offer them with conventional diagnostics and medicine under a single facility in India.

Who as per you are the top players in the Indian spa industry?

Ofcourse, The Leela spas being partnered with ESPA, UK are a leader in the spa market today. Ananda in the Himalayas continues to lead in terms of Wellness/Holistic offerings. The Oberoi hotel spas and The Taj spas are strong players to reckon with. With the entry of more international brands like Six senses and Spatality into the market, the Indian spa industry is poised for very exciting development ahead.

According to you, what makes a spa- ‘The Spa’?

What really makes a spa ‘the spa’ is vision. Excellence in spas cannot be achieved by throwing in together the best designer, menu consultant, products, training etc piecemeal. All of these are essential but come together to create a complete spa only when led by a strong sense of vision of what the guest will experience.
Only when this vision is clear and strong from the very beginning, do the rest of the ingredients fall together to create a seamlessly luxurious spa journey for the guests.

What is the USP and philosophy of your Spa?

The Spa by ESPA at The Leela Palace New Delhi is set in luxury, offering the best in western spa technology along with ancient Ayurvedic techniques. Our spa is about detail in every sphere whether visual or tactical. We like to describe it as a haven of spa luxury amidst the busy city of New Delhi.

What are the several local and global therapies offered in your spa? Kindly share the price range and duration of the spa treatments.

Our treatment menu boasts of signatures like The Royal Leela Facial which involves marma point massage and hot poultices for increasing cell turnover. This is perhaps the best example of how we amalgamate Western tools of in depth skin analysis and effective Ayurvedic techniques. Our Ayurvedic inspired treatments include the Pranadhara, the Kizhisvedana, Sukhadhara, Abhyanga and Shirodhara. Our Western holistic treatments include a range of facials, eye treatments, Stressbuster massage and aromatherapy. We have a finishing studio which offers the ultimate in luxury manicure and pedicures. Our price range starts varies from Rs. 4,500 for a one hour treatment to about Rs. 18,000 for a couple’s treatment package,

How are the therapists appointed? What kind of training does the staff undergo?

Therapists are appointed based on their techniques and soft skills. An understanding of what truly holistic spas are about is always an advantage. Our therapists are generally people who have a personal interest in wellness. Therapists receive finishing training in our very own Leela Academy at Mumbai before they are deputed to our various spas. Once on location they receive continued training by international trainers from ESPA on the menu.
What’s you view on training and certification available in India for spa therapists?

There is a sincere effort in regularizing training and certification for spa therapists by training schools in India now. With spa consciousness opening up more than ever before in India, I feel the emphasis and necessity for certification among spa therapist will only increase.

What is your strategy for client retention? How often you come up with exciting offers or discounts to retain your clients and to lure new members?

Our strategy for client retention is very simple. We encourage clients to keep coming back to the spa with offers that entice them based on their spa preferences. A lot of times these offers have to be tailor made to suit the client. Our offers are also planned based on season, any festivals and celebrations.
What are the expansion plans of your spa?

At the moment we are enjoying the unique layout of facilities that our spa offers. With a separate passive and active floor the spa journey for each guest is complete regardless of the purpose of their visit.

Which is your favorite spa in the world? Which spa therapy you like the most and why?

My favourite spa at the moment is our spa at The Leela Palace New Delhi. Tan Lepa ritual is a treatment I could enjoy anytime because of it being a complete spa treat. It includes an exfoliation, a dosha based mask and a marma point massage for the body. It is wonderful in establishing equilibrium and increase energy flow.

The Tan Lepa followed by a luxury pedicure from our finishing studio is the best combination of spa treats for me.
What is your advice to those who are planning to pursue career in spa industry?

To become a successful spa person, it is imperative to have a good understanding of wellness because it is with an aim at achieving wellness at various levels that our customers come to us. Along with this, as in any other business a good understanding of its financial aspects, product quality and marketing strategies helps to drive a successful spa business
Where do you see yourself and your spa 10 years down the line? What all efforts you are putting in to attain your future goals?

Ten years down the line, this spa will continue as a market leader. Backed by the strong vision from the owners at The Leela that this spa is guided by, it will definitely retain its strong brand presence and continue to offer impeccable service. As for myself, I will remain committed to bring about a happy marriage of ‘soft’ spa skills, science backed techniques and healthy financials in my projects. In terms of seeing myself in specific ‘roles’, it could mean looking after a large spa/ wellness resort or driving a successful multi spa business. The best preparation for this I believe comes from keeping my ‘learning’ mode on every single day at work and staying abreast of industry advancements.