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Invoking Royal Heritage
The Kaya Kalp Royal Spa brings its royal heritage to the forefront at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Writer | Sandhya Chipalkatti

Known for creating magnificent hotels influenced by emperors and royal dynasties, ITC has always built spaces that reflect their legacy. The latest luxury collection hotel in Chennai, the ITC Grand Chola re-creates the grandeur of the mighty Chola dynasty, intrepid seafarers who took their culture, religion and architecture across seas. The most enduring symbol of their cultural legacy is the traditional temple architecture developed during this period and the
hotel’s uniquely carved and the textured exterior reflects this
influence amply.
However, it is their highly acclaimed Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa that is the sole focus of my visit, keen as I am, to see how it lives up to its acclaimed reputation! Having previously experienced the Kaya Kalp Spa at the ITC Mughal, Agra and The Maratha, Mumbai, I am eager to see how the Spa recreates its famed experience here.

Built on 1.5 million sq. ft. of land once the site of a movie studio, the ITC Grand Chola is a magnificent edifice, which impresses by its sheer size. Most hotels have a frontage and an entrance. The ITC Grand Chola has four, facing the The Marina, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai North, South, East and West, reminiscent of temple architecture of the Chola kingdom. Each entrance takes you to a different part of the hotel and entering the main gates one almost makes a circumambulation or ‘pradakshina’ around the hotel to the entrance of your choice.

The grandest of the drop offs, to the West, also serves as the main gate. This entrance is fittingly called the Chola drop off and leads to the Grand Stairway in the palatial lobby at ITC Grand Chola – Sangam. The Sangam, as the name suggests, offers a grand experiential confluence of all that ITC Grand Chola has to offer, a carefully curated view of the hotel’s architectural splendour both interior and exterior, from this vantage point. Incorporating 10th – 12th century designs into a 21st century building seamlessly is indeed a task of great merit, which Smallwood Reynolds Steward & Steward LLC have accomplished.

Superlatives come easy when describing the hotel – one of the largest in India with 600 keys; the largest convention facility of 100,000 sq.ft; its Kaya Kalp Spa is the largest in the state and it has been certified as the world’s largest LEED Platinum Green hotel. It is obvious that the hotel marks the arrival of Chennai as a convention centre, and the hotel as the preferred destination.

Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa

At a luxurious 23,000 sq. ft., it is the largest spa in Chennai. Two marble columns welcome you into the Spa Reception. A massive crystal chandelier hanging overhead illuminates a lotus flower sculpture and Chola-inspired motifs. The signature red trellis design incorporating the pomegranate seen in other properties has been forsaken in keeping with the overall design concept of The Grand Chola. However, the colour red highlights the rich cream palette across the spa.

Two consulting rooms lead off from the reception area from where the guest is taken to one of the 12 beautifully appointed treatment rooms. The wet areas include the Steam, Sauna and Jacuzzi and pre- and post-treatment, guests can use the Relaxation Areas featuring individual lounging sofas which can be curtained off from one another, affording privacy. The spa’s Tea Lounge, offers a choice selection of herbal teas as well as a variety of rejuvenating fresh fruits and juices.

The Spa also features a ladies Salon, a Barber-shop for men, and a Yoga studio where personalised sessions can be scheduled. In addition, there are three spacious fully-equipped gyms and swimming pools – one each for the towers block, while the ITC One block and the Serviced Apartments block ensure that whatever your choice of room, there is a personalised pool and gym at hand.

The Concept

The very name means ‘rejuvenation of the body mind and soul’ in Sanskrit. Steeped in Indian tradition and healing rituals, the brand is exclusive to ITC’s Luxury Collection hotels across India. However, local rituals and ancient practices are adopted at each property and incorporated into their signature treatments. So just as the Moghul emperors’ favourite fruit, the pomegranate is central to rituals as well as design elements of the Agra property, it remains on the spa menu in all Kaya Kalp Spas.

The Treatments

The Kaya Kalp Royal Spa invites the guests to experience ceremonies and rituals inspired by the Chola Dynasty. The traditional methods and distinct treatments exclusive to this spa are ceremonies especially created to reflect the changing needs of all travellers.
Among these is the ‘Indian Spice Bathing Ritual’, an authentic local experience based on an ancient Tamil worship ritual in which all ingredients are prepared from natural sources. It starts with an exfoliating ritual using Indian herbs and spices, followed by steam, and then a body and hair bathing ritual to rejuvenate and uplift the body and mind. The ‘Essence of Chola’ massage is based on the long history of shared culture and knowledge as the Chola Empire journeyed through the Far East region. This unique blend of Asian techniques helps bring back balance at every level of being. The massage begins with body brushing; this massage technique uses a combination of Ayurveda,Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, and Japanese methods, in conjunction with a synergy of pure essential oils from flowers and herbal extracts that will enhance your experience of entering into a truly deep state of tranquillity.

Besides the signature rituals that include the Exotic Pomegranate Spa Journey and Passage to India Spa Journey, the spa offers a host
of international therapies designed to pamper and relax. Authentic Ayurvedic treatments such as ‘Spiritual Nirmal Kaya’ detoxifies the body, and ‘Spiritual Tatvasamyam’ treatment is based on balancing the five elements of nature—air, fire, water, earth and space (ether). It is a unique healing method, which aims at harmonising the different energies in the body and brings the five elements of the body into a balanced state.

“A visit promises to take
you on a journey of
relaxation and rejuvenation
through a world of regal
luxury and well being”.

Responsible Sustainability

The ITC Hotel’s credo of ‘Responsible Luxury’ has earned it the distinction of being the first to be recognised as the ‘Greenest Luxury Hotel Chain in the World’ where every hotel is LEED Platinum Certified.

ITC Grand Chola’s green initiatives will allow it to meet 100 per cent of its electrical energy requirements through renewable energy sources like the 12.6MW wind farm capacity to cater to the electrical energy demand of the hotel. The external areas and green roofs along with water harvesting structures will retain 100 per cent of storm water catchment on-site. Besides, use of water efficient fixtures will also reduce the building water use by 35 per cent and 100 per cent of the hotel’s waste will be recycled for useful purposes.

Subtle Luxury

The ITC Grand Chola exudes an aura of subtle, refined luxury in all
its aspects. This, even though the hotel has been lavishly built with choice marble, exquisitely sculpted by hundreds of local artisans and appointed with enormous chandeliers and statues on a grand scale. While subtle luxury is its hallmark, do however be prepared to be pampered to the hilt at the Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa!


Name of the spa: KAYA KALP ROYAL SPA

Address: ITC Grand Chola #63
Mount Road, Guindy Chennai 600032

Tel: +91442220000


Vice President South & General Manager ITC Grand Chola: Ranvir Bhandari

Spa Manager: SasakamolChamchoy

Spa Architect: Wilson Associates and Spa Synergy

Spa Area: 23,000 sq.ft.

Spa Team (No. Of Staff): 24

Full Capacity (Max No. Of Treatments a Day): Approx. 120 treatments in one day

Spa Facilities (Sections in the Spa): 2 consultation rooms, 12 treatment rooms, pre & post treatment relaxation areas, salon & barber

Product Partners: Pevonia Botanica, Forest Essentials and Jessica for Nails

Treatment Prices (Range): Starting at `4200++ (for body treatments)

Signature Treatments: Imperial Chola Ceremonies, Exotic Pomegranate, Spiritual Tatvasamyam, Spiritual Nirmal Kaya etc.

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