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Lakeside Idyll
Uniquely located on the banks of a stunning lake overlooking the estuary and the Arabian Sea is the Estuary Island resort at Poovar in Trivandrum, where the Svastii Spa promises the ultimate relaxing experience for the jaded spa goer.

Idyllic destinations come in many shapes, sizes and at various geographic locations. Located on the western seaboard, almost at the southernmost tip of India, the Estuary Island resort is particularly blessed to be positioned on the waterfront, at the meeting point of the backwaters, a lake and an estuary. The property’s vantage location allows for spectacular and infinite views of the Poovar backwaters and the Neyyar River that combine to meet the Arabian Sea in front of the estuary.

Kerala in the monsoon is like a bride decked out in her finery. Its lush greenery glows fiercely with the monsoon showers, and the aroma of the fertile warm earth wet with rain rises to meet you wherever you go. But at its most enticing are its spectacular backwaters and sandy beaches washed by the Arabian sea, a moody grey and stormy on some days and an inviting sunny, cerulean blue on others.

I am gliding along the Poovar backwaters, lucky to have a sunny day on my side, heading to the Estuary island Resort to check out their Svastii Spa. My two hour flight from grey rain-washed Mumbai was followed by a 45 minute drive on a road winding through coconut plantations and finally, this boat ride to my destination. Estuary Island has a huge waterfront promenade with a private jetty, where a very welcoming Dr. Sooraj, Regional Spa Manager of Svastii Spas, and Dr. Sharanya, Spa Manager greet me.

The Resort

Estuary Island is the flagship leisure property of the Thomas Group, which owns hotel properties in Kerala. Launched eight years ago, the resort is managed by JHM Interstate from September 2011.

From its sprawling sea face promenade abutting a vast coconut grove, to the resort building and independent villas set further back in the undulating hilly part of the property, Estuary Island is spread across 22 acres of land. The resort has 88 rooms, two swimming pools in different parts of the property, a picturesque restaurant edging out into the lake, and an independent Spa housed in a 3-storied villa. Currently under construction are exclusive Spa Villas where guests could enjoy in-room treatments.

Beautifully landscaped and planted with innumerable indigenous trees like mango, amla, and the ubiquitous coconut, newer plantations include flowering perennials and shrubs. This focused plantation has helped numerous birds and butterflies thrive in this hospitable habitat.

The Clientele

“We don’t offer ‘cookie cutter’ experiences” says Karan Bakshi, Regional G.M. Thomas Hotels. “We offer ‘authentic Kerala’ experiences through our staff you interact with, the local culture we showcase, and even the food you eat. But our guests have options. Considering that almost 90% of their guests in high season are from Europe, choices are important.

Contrary to the usual Kerala tourism circuit, the average stay at Estuary is seven to eight nights, and in high season between October to March, international guests could stay 14 to 18 nights, 65-70% using the spa. Indian tourists mainly come in the summer, from the April to September off season period, though this trend is changing of late. International guests are mainly from Europe – mainly the British, French and Germans. But of late, Russian guests are also arriving thanks to a direct charter to the nearby Kovalam.

I ask Bakshi the reason the property is so popular. “It’s absolutely the location! Where else but here at Poovar do you get the backwaters, the lake and the estuary overlooking the Arabian Sea?” he says. “And increasingly, guests are looking for places they can go to, and not be reached.”  According to him international tourists are drawn by Ayurveda, especially the German, Russian and Ukranian guests who are extremely knowledgeable. “Often, they have already done several levels of Yoga and are looking for a higher, more ‘authentic’ experience here. So we have to ensure that our Ayurvedic physicians and Yoga instructors have to be very good!”

Spa Design

The three storied Spa is in an independent villa on the property. The structure was originally designed as a Vaidyasala. A traditional stone small ‘deepa-stambha’ normally found in temples stands at the entrance, lit with a multitude of flickering lamps offering a warm welcome. The Svastii Spa also houses the original Ayurveda Vaidyasala, which it manages.

The entrance leads to an open veranda with the spa reception and long wooden traditional Kerala benches for waiting clients. Built in the traditional Kerala architecture, around a central courtyard, the ground floor has two consultation rooms for the Ayurvedic physicians, and three Ayurveda treatment rooms. According to Dr. Sooraj, Regional Spa Manager “Although Svastii is a new age spa, we were able to take over operations of the Vaidyasala because we are Ayurvedic physicians and we understand the mind body relationship”.  The second floor has seven treatment rooms exclusively offering Svastii treatments, and the top floor houses the salon and a gymnasium. A spacious open air relaxation lounge surrounded by trees on the second floor gives guests an opportunity to unwind post treatment.

Spa Treatments

While the most popular treatments are the Svastii Signature (60 mins.) and the Ayurvedic Intelligence (100 mins.), the spa menu offers a large range of new age Svastii as well as traditional Ayurvedic treatments. During the season the Vaidyasala which is Green Leaf Certified offers 100% genuine treatments, for which pure herbs are sourced for making the bundles and local pharmacies make exclusive decoctions and oils for clients.

Dr. Sooraj tells me that some of the more common problems among western guests are psoriasis, arthritis, back problems and Insomnia, which is common among singles. Most western guests are working class, in mid-management, up to 40 years old, and many would stay for a 7-14 day programme. Indian guests on the other hand are from the upper middle class to rich, and are not very aware of spa. But they are willing to experiment, and several extend their stay as they see benefits of the treatments.

The spa has eight therapists, three men and five women, three of whom are from the north-east. While all are trained to offer Svastii as well as Ayurvedic treatments, cross treatments are not offered in the Vaidyasala. Training is done by a trainer from Mumbai every six months, while a supervisor from the staff helps on a regular basis.

Spa Business

When Estuary island management was taken over by JHM Interstate, they brought in a host of promotions. Besides using regional sales offices across India, travel agents and tour operators, they participated in trade fairs. The ramped up their online presence and promotions, and saw a 150% increase in bookings through their own website and Expedia.

Very importantly they realized that all people who booked holidays were checking out their spa facilities on the website. “Earlier we had only pure Ayurvedic treatments and we realized the need to bring in modern Spa which would appeal to a wider audience. It is then that we decided to bring a Spa operator, and appointed Svastii in September 2012,” says Bakshi, who feels that this has helped position their brand at a better level.

Well-being Unlimited

As a destination spa, Svastii has the biggest advantage of its amazing destination. While the spa offers a range of treatments for the body, the beautiful waterfront gives an opportunity to relax, contemplate, meditate…and soothe the soul. A true mind-body connection indeed.

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Welcome to (the “Site”), a website owned and controlled by C&E Pvt. Ltd (“C&E”, “we”, “us”, or “our”). We operate the Site, and C&E products and services made available through the Site (collectively the “Services”), which make link creation in copied and pasted content effortless to readers and, in certain cases, enables easier searches from copied content. We provide this privacy policy to let you know what information we collect, and how we use it, share it and protect it.

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