Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas in Solan is the only wellness retreat offering functional medicine therapies in northern India.
Niraamaya Wellness Retreats, which has properties across Kovalam, Thekkady, Kohima, Goa and Kumarakom, entered into a partnership with Suryavilas Luxury Resort & Spa, Solan late last year to expand its footprint in northern India. We spoke with Gaytri Bajaj, Managing Director, Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas, Solan about the partnership, the wellness centre, and growth of wellness tourism in a post-Covid world. Excerpts from the interview:
TD: How have you reimagined The Suryavilas, Solan?
GB: The Suryavilas, Solan has been imagined as a ‘shining city on top of a mountain’. A product of a family dream, which came to fruition in 2008, it offers a fantastic spa since its inception. After partnering with Niraamaya Wellness Retreats in late 2020. Suryavilas was rebranded Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas after the introduction of a three-storey wellness centre in February 2021.
TD: Suryavilas was a holiday resort for over a decade. Why did you decide to promote wellness tourism?
GB: Niraamaya Wellness Retreats is known for its picturesque locations, distinctive hospitality, and bespoke wellness. The objective of the partnership with Niraamaya was to introduce pathbreaking rejuvenation and bespoke wellness to the guests in this serene location.
Niraamaya Wellness Retreats is known for its unique collection of boutique properties across India that offer transformational experiences for a sensory journey. The retreats are an embodiment of wellness and luxury, integrating a seamless blend of regional heritage and culture. With Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas Solan, we wanted to bring the rich experience and their expertise in curative and restorative wellness. This is the first time that a chain like Niraamaya has entered this region and brought with it these life-changing therapies that have been hitherto unavailable.
TD: You must have invested significantly in setting up a wellness centre. This at a time when the hospitality sector is badly affected by the pandemic…
GB: We had already planned to open in the month of April 2020 but because of the pandemic, we had to delay our launch. It has always been our dream to offer wellness programmes to our friends, family, and our guests at Suryavilas. The partnership with Niraamaya will allow us to do just that, and help bring their signature wellness programmes and holistic healing experiences to Suryavilas.
For centuries, people have been coming to the Himalayas in search for healing, peace and Nirvana. They appeal to the spiritual traveller as well as those looking for wellness breaks due to the high altitude, the fresh air, medicinal herbs and mountain water springs. It is an ideal location for anyone looking for long-term wellness and we offer a bouquet of services ranging from yoga, Ayurveda, functional medicine programmes, to relaxing spa treatments.
TD: Could you share details of someone who has benefited from treatment at the wellness centre?
GB: Early this year we had a 47-year-old patient who enrolled in our post-Covid care programme. She was struggling to regain her physical activity levels and had acute pain in her legs. Her immunity was weak and she was not able to cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the disease. The treatments included IV therapy, colon hydrotherapy, far infrared sessions, oligoscan, and various other therapies. Dietary interventions were also customised as per the doctor’s suggestion and based on her medical condition.
Her programme was designed evaluating her symptoms, to help her recover and build immunity.
TD: Do you feel that in a post-Covid world, people are far more concerned about their health and keen to visit wellness centres?
GB: We believe that the entire industry will pivot towards the unexplored and the underappreciated world of wellness. Not only would this hold true for the hospitality industry, it would also hold true for all aspects of human existence. People travelling on business would also want their life or their travel to have some aspect of wellness. People travelling for leisure breaks with their family would want some aspect of wellness, people living at home and not travelling anywhere would start introspecting whether they are doing things that take them closer towards holistic wellbeing.
A definitive trend that we are seeing emerge is that people are taking frequent holidays and they would discover the virtues of travelling and spending time with their near and dear ones. People are becoming more demanding on an entirely new set of parameters, hygiene being right on top. We also believe that the fundamental concepts, such as the sense of space and design, will also change. People will not like to holiday in very large and opulent hotels. They will appreciate holidays that are more private and offer the luxury of space in the lap of nature.
TD: What kind of response has Suryavilas got for its wellness centre?
GB: Since its launch, the curative wellness programmes have seen steady growth at Niraamaya Retreats Suryavilas. While functional medicine has been in existence for three decades now, it has gained popularity and acceptance in the last few years. We have received a good response to our introductory 3-nights programme and the immunity rejuvenation programme. Between February and April, we had over 50 guests who opted for the wellness treatments.