It has been a busy March for The Leela group. On a spring afternoon early this month, there it was launching a fragrance brand — Tishya — at its swank Delhi hotel, with unique floral notes of lotus and Neelakurinji. Less than a week later, at the same venue, it held a very meaningful event with Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi for its Icons of India initiative, committing to sponsor ten child-friendly villages.
And then there it was in the Pink City, marking its presence in a big way at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), curating an interesting session on the tradition of the raaga with sarod player Ayaan Ali, violinist Ambi Subramaniam and singer Shekhar Ravjiani. The hotel group also facilitated some great conversations off stage at its luxe tent at the JLF venue, specially set up for authors, its guests and patrons. It signed off the event on a high note, hosting the glittering writers’ ball with some scintillating music and eye-catching decor at the palatial Leela resort on the outskirts of the city. The Leela is also in the midst of launching a wellness menu that is sustainable and mindful, which it is branding as Aujasya.
There is a new energy to The Leela, which is now well capitalised after its takeover by Brookfield Asset Management, and has not only been opening new properties at great speed but also been strengthening its brand through well crafted new interventions. From books, music, fragrances, wellness, personalities, to fitness and more, the hotel chain is carefully forging collaborations and creating new branded products and experiences that will appeal to the new luxe guest, who it thinks is a more conscious consumer and seeks much more than a great stay.
Experience of a lifetime
There is also an element of light-hearted playfulness in these brand experiences. Take the way Tishya’s brand immersion event for media was done — guests were blindfolded and asked to guess various fragrances, followed by a specially curated lunch where each dish was paired with an aromatic oil. Tishya is a range of bath amenities that you will find at every Leela Hotel and will also be retailed outside, with scope for adding more products — lobby to car fragrances. The products are 100 per cent vegan, paraben and SLS-free, developed with natural extracts and in recyclable packaging.
Every element – from the flowers chosen (Lotus because it was Leela founder Captain Nair’s favourite bloom, and Nilakurinji for its rareness — it blooms only once in 12 years) to the name Tishya, which means a sense of joy and happiness in Sanskrit, was painstakingly researched and deliberated over, says Anjali Mehra, Vice President Marketing, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, who has been passionately leading these brand experience projects over the last few months.
Back to our roots
A common theme running through all these experiences, says Mehra, is capturing the essence of India and celebrating its best. Take Icons of India, where it has so far handpicked sarod virtuosos Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash and Kailash Satyarthi, promising to associate with similar rooted personalities over the year.
At the writers’ ball at Jaipur too, the focus on drawing the essence of India was in evidence with the music performance by Rajasthan Josh, a collective of Manganiyar and Langa musicians, whose folksy repertoire had the guests on their feet, dancing away.
Aujasya, the wellness menu, which will be offered at all the Leela hotels, and which means vigour of life in Sanskrit, similarly draws its roots from local, sustainable food traditions including the use of millet. The focus, however, is on ensuring that taste is not compromised.
“We are curating exclusive, authentic and desirable experiences as we redefine luxury,” explains Anuraag Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
The journey of reinvention has just begun , but Bhatnagar and Mehra make no bones about making a play for the top spot in luxe for The Leela.