Luxebook April 2024

MAR/APR 2024 WELLNESS SPECIAL Take a Break Sleep tourism, slow travel and other key trends that are defining the wellness industry

Slow travel. Sleep tourism..mindful meals.. the 2024 travel calendar is full for mostly everyone, but its stopped looking so busy for a handful of us. Almost as if this were a clarion call against mass tourism, wellness trends have been shaping the tourism sector, away from the bustle of city life, the stresses associated with the smartphone and giving us a chance to reset our circadian rhythm. Travel is increasingly associated with rest — and not checking items off the checklist. It might even involve a thing or two about working on our health, eating local and simple food, and abstinence. Wellness travel has been one of the key trends since last couple of years. We explore the interesting aspects of the ecosystem in our latest issue. Dig in! Payel Majumdar Upreti —Editor S O C I A L M E D I A ADVERTISING SALES Mumbai (022 - 6846 8500) Regional Manager (West) — Katty Gia (+91 98705 32295) • Senior Manager — Lamont Dias (+91 91674 14988) Delhi (011 - 4562 5810) Sr. General Mgr. (North) — Asha Augustine (+91 98182 80431) Kerala (+91 94140 69321) — Sanjai Krishnan Manager Mktg. Services — Salim B • Client Servicing Manager — Reshma Malvankar This magazine is printed by and produced by Mediascope Representation (India) LLP. Opinions herein are the writers’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mediascope. Editorial enquiries concerning the reproduction of articles, advertising and circulation should be addressed to: LuxeBook, Mediascope Representation (India) LLP., 51, Doli Chamber, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400005, India. • Email: Material in this publication may not be reproduced, whether in part or in whole, without the consent of the publisher. Founders — Marzban Patel / Anita Patel • Director Publishing — Indu Joshi Editor — Payel Majumdar Upreti • Writers — Arushi Sakhuja, Anushka Manik, Zara Flavia Dmello • Creative Director — Muhammad Jaan Faruqui THE GIST The Year of the Great Recharge

MAR/APR 2024 4 Rejuvenate & Relax 34 Interview 10 Slow Travel 36 Beauty Sleep 16 View From the Top 46 On the Horizon 40 Gig Travel 22 Hospitality Connect 28 Homes vs Hotels 2|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 CONTENTS

BY ANUSHKA MANIK The best spas around the globe Remember when they said, “Work hard, recover harder!”? As the world redefines its priorities, there’s never been a better time to prioritise self-care and rejuvenation. Step into a realm of serenity and indulgence as we unveil a curated selection of some of the world’s most lavish wellness sanctuaries. From the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to the epitome of pampering spa rituals, embark on a journey to restore harmony and vitality to your mind, body, and soul. 4|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|5 REJUVENATE & RELAX

Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Dubai Nestled within the lavish confines of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, a breathtaking Anatolian-inspired oasis on the iconic Palm Jumeirah, lies the esteemed Talise Ottoman Spa—an epitome of indulgence and rejuvenation. Housed in its own resplendent building within the resort, this award-winning sanctuary beckons with the allure of its magnificent hammam, a beloved gem adored by locals and visitors alike. One can step into a realm of unparalleled luxury by indulging in the Royal Ottoman Hammam experience—a sumptuous ritual that elevates the timeless tradition of Turkish bathing to new heights of opulence. What awaits you next is an hour of pure bliss, as skilled specialists pamper you with herbal elixirs and gentle exfoliation using traditional kesse mitts, leaving your skin silky smooth and radiant. Complete with an exclusive indoor saltwater pool and plush relaxation chambers, the Talise Ottoman Spa promises a transformative journey of relaxation and revitalization, ensuring you emerge feeling utterly renewed and rejuvenated. Six Senses Rome Spa, Italy Step into the lavish embrace of Six Senses Rome, where history meets contemporary chic in the heart of the eternal city. Set within the magnificent Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, this opulent retreat boasts 96 guest rooms and suites that pay homage to Roman tradition with a modern twist. From the classic Cocciopesto walls to the locally sourced Travertine stone, every detail exudes timeless elegance. However, the real treat lies within the renowned Six Senses Spa, where ancient Roman bathing rituals get a fun and fabulous makeover! Dive into a 10-step thermal journey that’s as refreshing as it is revitalising. Start with a hydrating shower before indulging in a warm Roman bath in the Tepidarium. Then, heat things up with steamy saunas and plunge into the icy coolness of the Frigidarium pool. Top it off with a refreshing splash in the Ice Fountain before lounging like royalty on warmed recliners. So why settle for ordinary when you can experience extraordinary wellness in the most fabulous way possible? Akasha Holistic Wellbeing at Lutetia, Paris In the ancient tales, before earth, water, fire, and air, there existed Akasha, the primordial essence from which all creation emerged. At Lutetia Paris, you’re welcomed to rediscover this sacred source through Akasha Holistic Wellbeing. Designed by the visionary Jean-Michel Wilmotte, this sanctuary beckons you to reconnect with the primordial source of creation. From nourishing cuisine to transcendental meditation, rejuvenating facials to invigorating workouts, immerse yourself in a holistic journey curated with Parisian elegance. Renowned as France’s premier hotel spa, Akasha at Lutetia Paris has been crowned ‘France’s Best Hotel Spa 2023’ at the prestigious World Spa Awards. Step into a world where every moment is a celebration of wellness and luxury, where you can begin or end your day in sublime harmony with body, mind, and spirit. Aura Spa, The Park New Delhi At Aura, the ambience is as enchanting as the treatments themselves, with natural slate, teak, ceramics, and mosaics setting the stage for an authentic spa experience like no other. Prepare to be pampered with specialised massages and signature beauty treatments, meticulously crafted using the purest ingredients sourced from herbs, spices, and florals. Drawing inspiration from Ayurvedic traditions, each therapy is tailored to harmonise mind, body, and soul, leaving you feeling blissfully rejuvenated. Yogis will delight in classes held on The Terrace, offering panoramic views of the pool’s reflective waters, while a wide range of massage techniques—from deep tissue to Swedish and reflexology— are available to cater to every need. But the pampering doesn’t end there! Aura Spa boasts a state-of-the-art gymnasium for daily workouts, a luxurious beauty salon for that extra glow, and a tranquil sauna chamber to melt away that stress. And for those seeking inner Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Dubai Six Senses Rome Spa, Italy 6|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|7

peace, daily yoga classes on The Aura Terrace offer the perfect blend of serenity and fitness against a backdrop of poolside serenity. Signature Spa Treatment at Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort Unveil the secrets of serenity with a decadent Turkish Hammam experience at the illustrious Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort. Transport yourself back in time 2000 years as you embark on a transformative journey of purification for your mind, body, and soul. Nestled within the tranquil confines of the resort, adorned with opulent Arabian decor, this 120-minute ritual promises an extraordinary escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. As you step into the sanctuary of relaxation, an invigorating steam infused with fragrant herbal essences will soothe your senses, preparing your body for indulgence. Delight in the rejuvenating sensation of a revitalising coffee scrub, unveiling radiant and glowing skin beneath. Surrender to the sublime touch of an aromatherapy massage, enriched with the essence of fragrant rose oil, followed by a decadent rose clay paste that gently detoxifies and nourishes your skin from within. As tensions melt away and harmony is restored, bask in the bliss of a heavenly head massage, soothing your mind and inviting a profound sense of tranquillity. To conclude this divine experience, savour a soothing cup of herbal tea, enveloped in a sense of restored balance, refreshed energy, and a renewed zest for life. Akasha Holistic Wellbeing at Lutetia, Paris Signature Spa Treatment at Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort Aura Spa, The Park New Delhi 8|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024

Bay Window The luxury of slow travel and how you can live it BY ZARA FLAVIA DMELLO The art of slowing down is now an answer to mass-tourism. Here’s how to participate in it 10|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|11 SLOW TRAVEL

Returning home from a vacation only to feel like you need another holiday to recover has been a pitiful paradox in the world of travel for decades. The demands of a 48-hour workweek persist, leave balances remain coveted and yet, ironically, the traditional vacation has become a sprint through destinations – a checklist of places visited, sights seen and islands hopped. The pressure to relentlessly complete all these tasks, supposedly “making the most” of the trip in a limited timeframe have left vacationers more exhausted than recovered. For those who aren’t so lucky as to live in sought after holiday spots and must make do with the grime and grit of fast-paced cities, perhaps the true key to rejuvenation lies not in the hustle and bustle to and from landmarks, but in the art of slowing down. Offering an innovative antidote to the conventional narratives of vacationing, Slow Travel, a burgeoning phenomenon, speaks a simple truth amid the chaos of modern tourism – the essence of a vacation lies its invitation to savour. This approach, lending itself to multiple interpretations, be it food, sceneries, inner thoughts, connections or relaxation, is steeped in tranquillity over indulgence. For luxury travellers looking to leave their daily lives behind in their home cities, incorporating these Slow Travel practices can welcome a transformative outlook to annual time-off, where we can reclaim our attention and redirect it to spaces and ideas we rarely focus on in our everyday. Digital Detox Many of us have found ourselves mindlessly scrolling through our devices, detracting from the opportunity to savour and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings while on holiday. Embracing the principles of slow travel, which encourages a more immersive and mindful exploration of destinations, has become increasingly important. Recognizing this need, resorts now offer digital detox programs that serve as a beacon for those seeking to unplug. At JW Marriott in Mussoorie – the Walnut Grove Resort and Spa, besides offering a serene environment in the hills, has also introduced Digital Detox Boxes in guest rooms, a thoughtful arrangement providing a secure space for guests to temporarily stow away their phones and disengage from screens. “Innovative features such as Digital Detox Boxes create a perfect haven for individuals seeking refuge from the digital clamour…” says Anoop Pandey, the general manager of JW Marriott Mussoorie. Similarly, commenting on the inception of their digital detox program, Sushmita Sarangi the Commercial Director of J Wellness Circle at IHCL says, “As the pandemic waned and people resumed inperson interactions, it became evident that many had become overly reliant on digital tools, making it challenging for them to connect with others in real life.” In this light, J Wellness Circle inaugurated their digital detox initiatives with Dristi, an eye therapy product designed to refresh and relax tired eyes, marking only the beginning of this journey of device-free zones, Digital Detox retreats. By opting to take a break from the incessant buzz of technology in these small ways, travellers can fully engage with their surroundings, fostering a deeper connection with the local culture, nature, and the people they encounter. Wellness In the constant whirlwind of our personal and professional lives, the concept of wellness often takes a back seat as we tirelessly strive to achieve external goals. Slow Travel, aptly named for its encouragement of a decelerated pace, provides an opportunity to shift this paradigm. Beyond the commonly perceived idea of connecting with one’s external surroundings, slow travel also invites individuals to turn inward and foster a connection with their inner selves which can be achieved through practicing wellness while on holiday. “Encouraging guests to slow down is about providing a counterpoint to the speed of modern life, offering a space where time feels a little more expansive.” says Randal Whelpdale, the General Manager at Coorg Marriott Resort & Spa. Here, personalised wellness experiences are integrated into the pristine wilderness of Coorg. In fact, personalised wellness has been adopted by most luxury resorts in an attempt to go beyond standardised procedures. At Chenot Palace Gabala for instance, a proficient medical team provides check-ups and stateof-the-art diagnostic equipment, to assess guests’ current physical wellness status to tailor each person’s treatments and action plan according to their individual needs. Furthermore, the General Manager at Chenot Palace, Rishad Sharifov posits a shift from traditional spa getaways to a stronger emphasis on preventive care within wellness tourism. He explains, “This change mirrors a broader societal trend where people are increasingly value proactive health measures.” In response to travellers’ shifting priorities, resorts across the globe have begun offering such proactive measures such as in the case of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s award-winning spa, listed among the best 10 spas in Dubai in 2022 for its signature Turkish Hammam. Among a range of services, the beachside resort offers two Thalassotherapy pools that help release tension from the muscles and improve blood circulations, speaking to the preventative care that guests seem to be seeking. Luxury Train or Yacht Travel Since forming a connection with ones surroundings and nature is an experience often missed in the haste of covering numerous spots in a single 12|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|13

holiday, trains and yachts present an elegant solution for those seeking to explore multiple destinations while also embracing the principles of slow travel. These modes of transportation seamlessly transport guests to prime locations, but also allows guests to discover beauty in the transitional moments and appreciate the liminal spaces of travel. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has long been a champion of the Slow Travel cause, with its restored 1920s and 30s carriages meandering through Europe’s picturesque and historic destinations. In 2022, the experience reached new heights with an elevated dining approach, collaborating with local farmers and producers along the train’s routes to craft seasonal menus that can be enjoyed aboard the classic conveyance. Similarly, in another part of the world, Belmond offers thoughtful experiences for travellers exploring Peru on the Belmond Andean Explorer, the continent’s first luxury sleeper train. Authenticity is paramount as it travels through the Peruvian Andes, not only to sustainability, the culinary team relies almost entirely on the 10 acre Ahilya Organic Farm to source local spices, vegetables, or nearby free range producers for meat and poultry. Their aquatic produce has ties to the local Holkar family business and neighbourhood fishermen ensuring not just that their menu celebrates the rich flavours and dishes rooted in Maheshwar’s terrain , but also that their carbon footprint is minimised in their support of the local economy. The sustainable sourcing of ingredients or use of local products may not seem like practice that are of interest, the reality is quite the opposite. Mr Hashan Cooray of Jetwing Hotels attests that most guests are inquisitive about the establishment’s sustainability with many even requesting the sustainability tour for in depth information by the hotel’s sustainability expert. By engaging in these conversations, guests seek to experience an authentic approach to Sri Lankan culture and cuisine. By the time it is time for guests to depart, they become so personally invested in their destination that they end up contributing significant amounts to the Loris Conservation Fund to support environmental conservation initiatives in the region. Such is the impact of sustainability in Slow Travel, providing opportunities for travellers to truly become involved in and form meaningful bonds with their surroundings. As travellers bid adieu to the traditional sprint through destinations, embracing the art of Slow Travel unfolds a transformative and enriching way to savour the true essence of luxury holidays. It is an opportunity to fully engage with your environment, foster connections, and contribute positively to the destinations explored. In a world rushing to tick off places, Slow Travel invites us to linger, appreciate, and rejuvenate, leaving us ready to take on our daily lives long after the holiday has ended. “Sustainability and slow travel are deeply intertwined, sharing core values and fostering a responsible, mindful travel experience…” — Sushmita Sarangi — J Wellness Circle providing journeys to Machu Picchu and a guided tour of Pisaq in the Sacred Valley of the Incas but also offering opportunities to explore Lima’s vibrant dining scene and connect with charming local communities in traditional villages. Small efforts like these on the parts of such travel packages do wonders for those looking to truly experience their holiday spots as travellers rather than tourists. For vacationers hoping to catch some sun by the sea, Aman’s Amandira, , the luxury hotel brand’s private yacht is a perfect fit, moving gently through the Indonesian archipelago, allowing guests to discover its hidden beaches and thriving wildlife. Embracing a Slow Travel approach, this five-cabin yacht, custom-designed and handcrafted using regional hardwoods, is available for the six-night Journey Across the Sea package. Amandira embarks from the Lombok Strait coastline to Moyo Island, offering two nights of glamping, scuba diving, and snorkelling—a seamless blend of luxury and immersion in nature. Sustainable Living Sustainability is intricately woven into the fabric of slow travel, where the intentional slowness and mindfulness allows for conscious choices, thus reducing ecological impact. Contrary to popular belief, Slow Travel is not only practiced through modes of transport – such as opting for cycles over cars, but also by choosing to foster a deep connection with their destination by either eating cultural delicacies made from native ingredients, living in accommodation built from locally sourced materials, and immersing oneself in the culture. As Sushmita Sarangi from J Wellness Circle puts it, “Sustainability and slow travel are deeply intertwined, sharing core values and fostering a responsible, mindful travel experience…Beyond minimising ones travel footprint, it also enhances Cultural Understanding through Deeper connections, respecting local traditions and preserving natural resources.” Staying true to this sentiment, at The Ahilya Fort Heritage Hotel, a four star resort in Madhya Pradesh also committed 14|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|15

Is the entrepreneur ecosystem fair to women leaders? BY ARUSHI SAKHUJA Unveiling the Perspectives of Women in Business In a world where glass ceilings persist but are continually shattered, the narrative of women in business is one of resilience, innovation, and relentless determination. As we delve into the stories of these trailblazers, we uncover a tapestry of experiences, challenges, and triumphs that redefine the landscape of entrepreneurship. Read on as we unravel the candid perspectives, insights, and strategies of these remarkable women who are not just breaking barriers but reshaping industries and paving the way for future generations. Facing page (left-right): Priyasha Saluja, Founder, The Cinnamon Kitchen; Mira Kulkarni, Founder, Forest Essentials Above (left-right): Ms. Shivani Agarwal, ANI Clothing; Ms. Shaily Mehrotra, CEO, Fixderma 16|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|17 VIEW FROM THE TOP

Building from scratch Starting a business from scratch is no cakewalk. Today’s thriving enterprises were once forged through perseverance, determination, and countless trials. Within each success story lies a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering resolve. These visionary women, brimming with ambition, navigated obstacles and embraced victories, bravely carving their path to success. But what sparks the flame of inspiration? For some, it’s about igniting a revolution; for others, it’s sowing the seeds of mindful living. Take, for instance, Mira Kulkarni, the trailblazing Founder of Forest Essentials. In the year 2000, armed with a germ of an idea, she embarked on a mission to redefine skincare in India. Recognizing the absence of high-quality Ayurvedic products in the market, she set out to fill this void. “In the early days, imported skincare products dominated the market, but they failed to match the potential of what we envisioned. Setting our sights on Rishikesh,the epicentre of Ayurvedic wisdom and wellness, I was struck by the discrepancy between the local offerings and the standards they should have met. Determined to change the status quo, I embarked on a journey of collaboration with esteemed Kara Desai Architectural Innovations Agreeing to the statement, Ms. Shaily Mehrotra, CEO of Fixderma shares, “In the dynamic realm of entrepreneurship, continuous learning stands tall as the pillar of triumph. Regardless of gender, mentors are the unsung heroes fueling this journey. They offer more than just motivation; they embody inspiration, lighting the path to our aspirations. As the business landscape evolves, their wisdom becomes our guiding light, navigating us through the maze of success and growth.” In the labyrinth of entrepreneurship, finding the perfect balance between mentorship and trusting your intuition is a delicate dance, as Ms. Priyasha Saluja, the ingenious mind behind The Cinnamon Kitchen, can attest. For her, the wisdom of mentors serves as a guiding light through the murky waters of business, offering invaluable insights from experience. Yet, she’s quick to caution against blind adherence, recognizing that every entrepreneurial journey is as unique as a fingerprint. “While genuine guidance can be a game-changer, it’s essential not to surrender your autonomy,” she advises. “Mentors provide perspectives, not prescriptions. It’s crucial to assimilate their advice, weigh it against your own instincts, and chart your own course. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success. Some of the most renowned companies were once dismissed as wild ventures.” Finding a spark of motivation in challenging times Amidst the unpredictable terrain of entrepreneurship, where obstacles loom large and victories are hard-won, maintaining a sense of motivation becomes a lifeline for those daring to chase their dreams. For Ms. Shivani Agarwal, the visionary behind ANI Clothing, striking a delicate balance between work and personal life is paramount. “In the delicate dance between personal and professional realms, I’ve learned the art of drawing a distinct line,” reflects the enigmatic entrepreneur. “For me, work isn’t a tether that binds; it’s a passion pursued with fervour. But once I exit those office doors, my focus shifts, and a new chapter begins.” “In the journey of facing complexities as an entrepreneur, spirituality has served as my guiding beacon,” shares Mira Kulkarni, the visionary force behind Forest Essentials. “When the world seems to spin out of control, tapping into that deeper connection provides an anchor of strength and clarity.” Meanwhile, Priyasha Saluja, the creative mind fueling The Cinnamon Kitchen, offers sage advice amidst the whirlwind of challenges. “In the face of overwhelming obstacles, it’s crucial to prioritise and create a roadmap of goals,” she advises.“By decluttering the mind and focusing on actionable steps, one can navigate the maze of tasks effectively. And amidst the hustle, nurturing a semblance of work-life balance becomes paramount, replenishing energy and igniting creativity for the journey ahead.” Prioritising self care “Entrepreneurship is a thrilling journey, but amidst the relentless demands and high-stakes decisions, self-care often gets lost in the shuffle. Yet, for the formidable women entrepreneurs of today, mastering the art of prioritising their own well-being amid the chaos is nothing short of essential. Vaids and modern biochemists. Together, we meticulously crafted a range of skincare products using only the freshest herbs, handpressed oils, and precious flowers, adhering to ancient formulations with unwavering precision. This marked a pivotal moment for the Indian Beauty Industry, birthing the concept of Luxury Ayurveda—a segment that had yet to be explored.” Sharing how being diagnosed with PCOS pushed her to start a health-driven dessert chain, Priyasha Saluja, Founder of The Cinnamon Kitchen reveals, “The original intention was never to embark on an entrepreneurial journey; however, my quest for healthier eating habits began when I was diagnosed with PCOS and sought ways to improve my well-being. What initially started as an online journey to educate others about the significance of nutritious eating sparked the idea of turning my passion into a business. I took a leap of faith, and The Cinnamon Kitchen was born!” The Influence of Mentorship in Business Growth Picture this: a group of savvy, ambitious women, armed with dreams, determination, and a sprinkle of sass, ready to conquer the business world. But behind every successful venture lies a secret ingredient: mentorship. It’s like having a fairy godmother in stilettos guiding you through the twists and turns of entrepreneurship, sprinkling wisdom and encouragement along the way. In this dazzling journey of growth and empowerment, mentorship emerges as the ultimate superpower, propelling women-led businesses to new heights of success. “Mentors provide perspectives, not prescriptions. It’s crucial to assimilate their advice, weigh it against your own instincts, and chart your own course. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success” — Ms. Priyasha Saluja — Founder, The Cinnamon Kitchen Forest Essentials Cinnamon Kitchen 18|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|19

Ms. Shaily Mehrotra, Founder of FixDerma and a staunch advocate for discipline, underscores the significance of maintaining a steadfast routine. ‘It’s crucial to prioritise self-care,’ she asserts. ‘I make it a point to integrate workouts and mental health practices into my schedule. A harmonious blend of a healthy body and mind is the ultimate recipe for triumph in both business and life.’ With her sage advice, Ms. Mehrotra shines a light on the indispensable role of self-preservation amidst the demands of a thriving career. Unlocking the secrets to radiant living, Ms. Mira Kulkarni, the visionary behind Forest Essentials, unveils her time-tested self-care regimen. ‘In the sanctuary of my morning routine, I dedicate thirty precious minutes to yoga, infusing my day with serenity and strength.’ But that’s just the beginning. Ms. Kulkarni indulges in the luxury of a massage, weaving it into her schedule a couple of times each week. Her pièce de résistance? The Radiance Facial—a cherished ritual of self-love. With the Tejasvi Ghee Cream from her own brand, she lavishes her skin with nourishment, gently massaging away tensions. Then, with a flourish, she steams her face with a hot towel, wiping away any remnants of stress. Complementing this regime with a refreshing ice cube, it’s her foolproof formula for delivering an instant glow. ‘Though not as frequent as I desire,’ she muses,“I’m committed to nurturing this routine, one radiant moment at a time.” A piece of advice ‘Passion fuels action,’ muses Priyasha Saluja, Founder of The Cinnamon Kitchen as she imparts wisdom to budding entrepreneurs. ‘Embark on your journey with unwavering zeal, and solutions will organically reveal themselves along the way. Entrepreneurship, at its essence, is a testament to resilience—a graceful waltz with challenges rather than a flawless performance.’ With her seasoned insights, Ms. Saluja breathes new life into the entrepreneurial landscape, showcasing the profound impact of embracing uncertainty on the quest for business brilliance.” Championing the empowering mantra ‘confidence is the key,’ Mira Kulkarni, Founder of Forest Essentials, extols the virtue of staying true to oneself. “Have unwavering confidence in your capabilities,” she insists. “Your journey doesn’t have to mirror that of others. If you possess enough conviction, disregard the naysayers who claim your dreams are unattainable. Embrace your unique path with steadfast determination and watch as the extraordinary unfolds.” ANI Clothing 20|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024

What’s cooking at RAFFLES: Alchemy bars for spa blends, mindful meals and bespoke wellness A conversation with Raffles Udaipur’s Director Mrs Jui Kulkarni on how Udaipur is emerging as a wellness destination BY PAYEL MAJUMDAR UPRETI 22|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|23 HOSPITALITY CONNECT

When an acclaimed international brand sets up a swanky hotel in Udaipur, the world sits up and takes notice. We caught up with Mrs Jui Kulkarni, the architect behind the plans of which led to the first Raffles hotel opening in India, in none other than the Venice of the East, as the city of Udaipur is often called. Ever since the property was established on the banks of one of Udaipur’s largest lakes, it has received recognition for its position as a wellness retreat, and won accolades for its spa centre. Mrs Jui Kulkarni Sharma is the Director, Triton Hotels & Resorts as well as Raffles Udaipur & Fairmont Jaipur. LuxeBook caught up with her for a conversation on their efforts to focus on wellness as well as the latest developments towards wellness in the hospitality industry. Raffles Udaipur has repeatedly been recognized for its spa services. How has the brand set things apart in that area? Raffles Udaipur has truly distinguished itself in the wellness sector by offering a comprehensive approach to well-being that goes beyond conventional spa treatments. Our Raffles Spa provides personalised treatments incorporating innovative techniques such as sound and crystal therapies, ensuring a deeply rejuvenating experience. Moreover, our Alchemy Bar within the spa allows guests to craft their own spa blends using natural ingredients, adding a bespoke touch to their wellness journey. What are the different kinds of wellness experiences offered at the property? At Raffles Udaipur, guests can immerse themselves in a wide range of wellness experiences tailored to their preferences. From indulgent spa treatments to mindful meals curated with locally sourced produce, every aspect of our property is designed to promote well-being. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as croquet and hiking along natural trails, providing opportunities for both relaxation and physical activity. What was the vision for Raffles in terms of wellness? Our vision for Raffles Udaipur was to create a sanctuary where guests could escape the stresses of modern life and focus on rejuvenating their mind, body, and soul. We aimed to provide a transformative experience that leaves a lasting impact on our guests’ overall wellbeing, setting a new standard for luxury wellness retreats. How does the architecture of the resort incorporate elements for wellness? The architecture of our resort is meticulously designed to promote wellness by seamlessly integrating with the surrounding natural landscape. Our outdoor spaces, including lawns and natural trails, encourage guests to reconnect with nature and engage in activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation. Additionally, the setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and abundant green spaces throughout the property further enhance the sense of tranquility and harmony. 5. Would you say all sorts of guests at the resort have wellness on their mind? While not all guests may arrive with wellness as their primary focus, we find that many are increasingly seeking experiences that promote their well-being during their stay. Whether it’s through leisurely hikes along our scenic trails or indulgent spa treatments at Raffles Spa, there are opportunities for guests of all interests to prioritize their wellness and unwind in our serene surroundings. 24|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|25

Raffles Spa offers personalized therapies designed to address different concerns such as relaxation, stress relief, and rejuvenation, ensuring that every guest receives tailored care to meet their individual wellness goals Tell us how the staff adds to the aspects of well-being and mental health of the guests? Does the brand take care of its employees from a similar perspective? Our dedicated staff plays a crucial role in enhancing the well-being of our guests by providing personalized service and creating a welcoming environment. Whether it’s offering attentive care during outdoor activities or providing guidance at Raffles Spa, our team is committed to ensuring that guests feel supported and cared for throughout their stay. Additionally, as a brand, we prioritize the well-being of our employees and offer various initiatives and resources to support their mental and physical health, fostering a positive work environment that translates into exceptional guest experiences. Is Udaipur a budding wellness destination in your opinion? Yes, Udaipur is indeed emerging as a wellness destination, thanks to its serene surroundings, rich cultural heritage, and growing wellness infrastructure. With the increasing demand for wellness-focused experiences, Udaipur has the potential to become a leading destination for holistic retreats and wellness getaways, offering guests a truly transformative experience amidst the beauty of Rajasthan. How has the food been incorporated from a certain wellness aspect? At Raffles Udaipur, we believe that wellness begins with what we eat, which is why we emphasize the use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients in our culinary offerings. From nourishing salads bursting with seasonal flavors to hearty soups infused with local spices, every dish is thoughtfully crafted to promote health and vitality. By offering mindful meals that prioritize both taste and nutrition, we ensure that guests can enjoy a culinary experience that supports their overall well-being during their stay. How do you incorporate wellness into the routine of a group or a wedding party? For groups or wedding parties, we offer customized wellness experiences tailored to their specific needs and preferences. From group fitness sessions to wellness workshops and personalized spa treatments, we ensure that every member of the party can participate in activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation, creating unforgettable moments of well-being amidst celebration. What are some of the specialized programs offered at the resort? Some of the specialized wellness programs offered at our resort include sessions with our in-house yoga expert, providing guests with opportunities to explore mindfulness and enhance their physical well-being. Additionally, guests can engage in a variety of outdoor activities such as segway rides, tennis, and mini golf in the lush lawns surrounding the property, fostering a sense of adventure and vitality. Moreover, our Raffles Spa offers personalized therapies designed to address different concerns such as relaxation, stress relief, and rejuvenation, ensuring that every guest receives tailored care to meet their individual wellness goals. 26|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|27

BY ARUSHI SAKHUJA Homestays are increasing their share of the pie in the hospitality market Home away from home Vacations and getaways are predominantly getting a new meaning with the rising culture of homestays mushrooming across the nation. Recreating the aura of a warm home that almost feels your own, tourists and locals are finding themselves increasingly attracted to the idea of simple living with home-cooked meals minus the frills and fancy luxury hotels offer. But that isn’t to say that a large section of the clientele still enjoys the luxuries and comforts the five and seven-star hotels and resorts offer. Until a few years ago, luxury hotels, with their opulent interiors, Michelin-star cuisines and impeccable services, have been the mainstay of high-end hospitality for decades. However today, luxury homestays are now coming of age in India. While not replacing luxury hotels, instead offering experiences that are more bespoke and steeped in history. “Heritage properties are steeped in centuries of culture, and in the post covid era, I believe the Indian traveller is more keen on discovering all the different aspects of it,” quoted Shambhavi Singh, Director at Royal Heritage Havel. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the idea of homestays grew more popular with the coming in of the pandemic, but it has continued to exist even thereafter. “The reason for this evolution has happened due to hybrid work models post-Covid wherein work from anywhere or work from home has become a reality,” said Jyant Singh, Founder & Managing Partner, TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts. Is the allure of finding a home away from home? Or simply being able to live in the moment and enjoy the smaller joys of life? What has been the major reason for the phenomenal growth. Be it a small cottage or a large bungalow, many HNIs today are converting their holiday homes to revenue assets in the name of homestays. High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs) are increasingly investing in exclusive properties, both globally and within India opines Devendra Parulekar, Founder of SaffronStays. “The choice of locations for HNI property acquisitions is diverse, ranging from the serene beauty of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa to the bustling locales near Mumbai and Pune, including Karjat, Lonavala, and the sought-after Alibaug – often referred to as the Hamptons of Mumbai.” SaffronStays Nandanwan Estate, Kodaikanal 28|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|29 HOMES VS HOTELS

With nomad visas and work-from-home becoming the norm, the flourishing of homestays seemed almost natural. Many saw this as an opportunity to explore a new city and find themselves a quaint home to connect with the local communities. With homestyle food and the comfort of lounging on a sofa in the living room or enjoying your very own private pool, patio and garden, the calmness of these homestays became more appealing. But it isn’t only for a single person, rather bungalows, havelis and farmhouses have seen an increase in demand. Nights booked at such properties have reportedly increased by over a whopping 30 per cent at Airbnb’s Indian homestay options from 2019 to 2021. The Rise of homestays Owing to India’s vast beauty, landscape, heritage, and architecture, the homestay market has been able to seamlessly capitalise on this diversity. Another silver lining these homestays offer are larger spaces compared to compact hotel rooms, while being lighter on the pocket. From cosy hill homes in Uttarakhand and Himachal to havelis in Rajasthan, tea gardens in Darjeeling and the pristine beaches of Goa you can find a myriad of homestays across the country. The truth remains that today, thanks to portals like Airbnb, Agoda,, homestays are getting their due. Online platforms and technology have been pivotal in the exponential growth of the homestay industry in India believes Parulekar. “These platforms serve as dynamic marketplaces, connecting hosts with travellers worldwide. They have streamlined the booking process, providing transparency, real-time availability, and user reviews. This digital evolution has empowered travellers, making homestay accommodations easily accessible and fostering a diverse hospitality landscape.” Shambhavi Singh believes that technology and such platforms, provides an accessible marketplace for hotel owners to increase their visibility through virtual tours, real time communication and secure payment options.“Collaborating with travel portals online also expands a property’s reach to engage with potential clients all over the world.” Increasingly, people travel to explore local culture and experience places while they travel to any destination. Homestays provide a personal touch and a unique chance for travellers to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions of India that resonates with the evolving preferences of modern Indian travellers. While they do provide profits to the former, they provide numerous benefits to the guests as well.An increasingly large number of individuals are opting to explore the local culture of space with the help of these homestays that are bringing them closer to a unique experience. In the realm of luxury travel, experiences are a major driving force to explore the unexplored. When it comes to the hotels versus homestays debate it seems as though cosy homestays present an alluring choice instead of the manufactured comfort of hotels. Staying with local hosts allows guests to interact with them, learn about their customs, taste traditional cuisine, and experience the warmth of Indian hospitality first-hand. While hotels offer luxury, functionality and convenience, homestays offer warmth, the luxury of space and allow you to be in touch with the roots of that location. TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts create unique Treehouse Experiences at each location for guests to explore the destinations. Although the industry has seen a rise globally, in India, curated and tailormade hyperlocal experiences, locally sourced food, privacy, and a dash of history are becoming the hallmarks of luxury homestays in India.“Homestay experiences contribute significantly to promoting local tourism and empowering communities in India,” adds Paurlekar. He believes homestays achieve this by encouraging guests to explore offbeat destinations, homestays drive footfall to lesserknown areas in the country, they distribute tourism benefits more evenly. “Additionally, the direct involvement of local communities in hosting and guiding enhances socio-economic growth, creating a positive impact on grassroots development. It’s a fantastic reciprocal effort where locals gain employment opportunities and a platform to display their hospitality skills, while guests have the chance to engage with the community and savour authentic local delicacies, creating unique and memorable experiences.” Further highlighting the benefits homestays offer Shambhavi Singh believes “A smaller inventory makes it easier for us to cater to their preferences, from curating cooking classes of regional dishes or a heritage bicycle tour through the old city to their itineraries. It is challenging to preserve the charm of a heritage property with constant enhancement to incorporate modern facilities.” In essence homestays offer varied experiences that hotels seldom do – and often aren’t equipped to provide. Homestays as a lucrative business Luxury hotels often require a hefty investment, on the contrary creating a homestay is far easier. Many individuals are converting their family home and holiday homes to a homestay included restoring its interior decor, floorings, and ceilings, while putting in modern amenities. Understanding the limited usage of holiday homes by owners, Jyant further added,“It becomes very difficult for home owners to maintain villas or second homes. A lot of companies in India are today able to look after these assets and create revenue streams for owners by using them as homestays or bed & breakfast places.” Similarly is the case with Royal Heritage Haveil in Jaipur. Reflecting on the past Shambhavi Singh told Luxebook that the Royal Heritage Haveli was her Devendra Parulekar Founder, SaffronStays Jayant Singh Founder & MD, TreeHouse Hotels Treehouse Chail Villas, Chail 30|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|31

maternal grandmother’s (nani’s) home, originally built as a hunting lodge for the Jaipur family. “My parents decided to restore it over the past 15 years. They originally started with 4 suite rooms, out of which we occupied three as a family. Today, it is an oasis of peace and, with only 23 suites spread over 05 acres of sprawling gardens and open courtyards.” An interesting insight is that homestays are not only a means for revenue generation but also a great way to revive history. Often homes passed on over generations as family inheritance are not used, given the high rate of resettling in metropolitan cities. But owners of such properties have begun to convert their ancestral both challenges and opportunities. Challenges include maintaining consistency in service quality, while opportunities lie in creating niche offerings, and adapting to changing consumer preferences.” Question is will homestays be able to sustain consistency and how soon will traveller preferences evolve? That is yet to be seen. houses into homestays which turn into lucrative businesses. Sharing an industry perspective, Parulekar agrees, stating that the trend of converting holiday homes into luxury homestays is driven by a desire to optimize these assets. “Homeowners recognize the potential to generate revenue while providing a premium travel experience. The demand for unique and personalized stays has propelled the transformation, offering guests a more authentic and immersive vacation.” Over time, holiday homes have evolved into luxury homestays by integrating upscale amenities, personalized services, and distinctive experiences. “This transformation not only caters to the discerning tastes of modern travellers but also positions these properties as lucrative revenue assets. The emphasis on quality, uniqueness, and hospitality excellence contributes to sustained business growth,” shared Parulekar. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the sector’s contribution to the economy will surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with a year-on-year growth of 20.7%. Leading hotel investment advisory firm Noesis, in its Home Away from Home report, has highlighted trends and opportunities in the luxury rental and boutique homestay sector mentioning that India’s luxury travel market is projected to grow at 11 per cent to 11.5 per cent which has reached around a whopping of 48 billion dollars in 2020 and expected to reach USD 1,198.3 billion in 2027. As the trend gains momentum, the transformation of holiday homes into luxury homestays becomes a notable phenomenon and the potential for luxury homestays in India is tremendous. However, the rise doesn’t come without its pros and cons. Parulekar states “The demand for authentic experiences presents Shambhavi Singh Director, Royal Heritage Haveli Royal Heritage Haveli, Jaipur SaffronStays Sundowner, Karjat Cibo Bistro, Royal Heritage Haveli, Jaipur 32|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|33

Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers needs no introduction. Based out of Jaipur, Yash Agrawal is the third generation of the Birdhichand family, known for being the jeweller to erstwhile royal families of the state of Rajasthan. Agarwal has a reputation as a meticulous designer, who immerses himself in subjects that pique his interest. He is involved in every aspect of the family business, which is a passion project as far as he’s concerned. With a legacy that spans generations, the brand is celebrated for its unwavering dedication to quality and enduring aesthetics. The jewellery from this atelier is known for its timelessness and grace. reflecting from the patrons who endorse its collections. They recently launched their latest collection, which includes motifs from across the country, quintessentially Indian in its make and style. Agarwal’s exquisite jewellery pieces reflect the beauty and essence of Rajasthan, by using vibrant colours and unconventional shapes, that exude a majestic aura. LuxeBook caught up with Yash Agarwal, the creative director of the brand, under whom Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas jewellers has been thriving. INTERVIEW How has Birdhichand innovated in its latest high jewellery collection? Birdhichand is a high-end, classic couture brand. We don’t change our collections very rapidly as these are heirloom pieces. For us the collection is always a journey. What we have done this year is paying more attention to the detailing of our pieces. More than the front, we have paid attention to the back. We have played with bold colours and multiple motifs. Describe your journey as a jeweller. What were the noteworthy moments of this experience? My journey as a jeweller began when I was 10. I was born into a family of jewellers. The discussions on our dinner table, family holidays were around jewellery. Trust me, I don’t have any regrets around it. It was this process that made jewellery into my passion. Throughout the time, I have always grown into my life and really thinking about its art and craft. There are end number of moments which are noteworthy, but some come to me instantly. One of them is when I was awarded the best jewellery designer by GIA (Gemological Institute of America), when I was the only Indian jeweller to work as an intern with Harry Winston and Tiffany’s. What are the challenges being faced by the jewellery industry right now. Any industry itself is a challenge, challenges are not just a roadblock but an opportunity to better yourself. Challenge in the jewellery industry is to always find the right material for the design. Natural resources being scared, and the quality of raw materials depreciating, the availability of those materials are becoming rarer. Has styling become a very important element for any jeweller? Style has always been an important factor for me. I can’t talk about other people but at Birdhichand, one of the most important things, we believe, is that when a particular style becomes the fashion, the stylist moves forward. It is one of the most major factors of our style ethos. What are some trend forecasts for 2024? We aren’t broad believers in trends – we believe what suits you, suits you. When you’re looking to purchase an heirloom piece, the trends can’t really determine your choice. Every personality is different, and every person will have a different perception for each piece of jewellery. I believe in good material and craftsmanship over trends. Tell us about your latest bridal collection. Our latest bridal collection is minimalistic yet bold, classic yet contemporary. We have used more white elements on the surface and given more colours on the bezel and edges. What are your opinions on mixing material in high jewellery? There isn’t a set definition for high jewellery. For me, high jewellery is something which is different, unique and a lot of style value to it. If to create that uniqueness, you have to mix two materials, metals, get two tones, palladium, gold, coloured stones, it is fine. We don’t however believe in mixing materials that are non-precious or synthetic. We don’t believe in the philosophy of making high jewellery with non-precious materials. Are Indian designs getting more popular on a global platform? Indian motifs and designs were always popular on a global platform. What is getting more attention is Indian style. How India has been portrayed is not just the inspiration of motifs. Globally, we are getting more attention in this aspect. People want to be styled like us. How has Indian jewellery been a stronghold of the Indian luxury market. One thing you keep a hold of, you don’t want to depart from, as far as Indian families are concerned, is Indian jewellery. It is an heirloom that you pass on to your daughters and daughters-in-law and so on. It is an utmost luxury product which is generational wealth. Indian jewellery is what makes up the majority of India’s luxury market. BY PAYEL MAJUMDAR UPRETI Yash Agarwal: ‘I was born into jewellery and grew up thinking about its craft’ 34|LUXEBOOK |MAR/APR 2024 MAR/APR 2024 |LUXEBOOK|35