‘Six Senses Vana is a refuge for all beings’
The wellness retreat has always believed in crafting wellness journeys which are unique to each guest, says Jaspreet Singh, General Manager, Six Senses Vana
Beginning 2023 with a journey of self-discovery, health and healing in the Himalayan foothills of India, Six Senses, recognised for establishing the early benchmarks for the hospitality industry, brought into its portfolio Vana marking the launch of the brand’s first dedicated wellness retreat in Dehradun. An amalgamation of ancient wisdom and innovation, Six Senses Vana aims to immerse guests into a personalised wellness journey by offering health and healing through ayurveda, yoga, Tibetan medicine and natural healing therapies combined with a rich daily activity schedule, deep commitment and personalised support.
Sharing his views on how different an experience would be now that there has been a strategic and wellness alliance between Six Senses and Vana, Jaspreet Singh, General Manager, Six Senses Vana, says, “Six Senses Vana is progressively introducing wellness enhancements to our existing offerings. These include new signature programmes such as Eat With Six Senses, Sleep With Six Senses, wellness screenings, biohacking and alchemy bar workshops, each aimed at enhancing your wellness goals. Recently introduced, Cinema Paradiso, an outdoor experience with F&B, conducted in unique spaces such as outdoor pool on a full moon day to create a wonderful cinema experience and multi-sports arena for guests to work on movements through sessions of tennis, badminton, paddle courts, football, basketball and some net practice.”
The property will also welcome children aged six and above to learn and thrive with Grow with Six Senses. “This programme presents learning opportunities that help kids navigate and derive meaning from their natural surroundings through art, music, movement, storytelling, and newly built interactive spaces. Earth Lab, a place dedicated to engagement, innovation and communication about the sustainability work happening on and off-site at Six Senses Vana, will also follow later in 2023,” he says. The guest stays will be elevated further with Unique Excursions having an authentic experience representative of local culture and improvements on ‘hospitality’ with personalised GEM service for an efficient and exceptional service.
Emerging wellness and sustainability trends in India
Post-pandemic, the cognisance towards wellness-focussed travel has increased tremendously, feels Singh, adding the demand for experiences that are rejuvenating and speak to guest’s overall wellbeing has been greater than ever. “Six Senses Vana is way ahead of its time as its foundation was to build a place for those who seek wellbeing and what lies beyond conventional understanding. Harmony, nourishment and wellbeing are here for all on a journey. Since inception, we have believed in crafting wellness journeys which are unique to each guest,” he says, adding international travellers consider wellness-oriented and sustainable travel important “with over 81 per cent confirming this to be the case as per the recent Sustainable Travel Report 2022 by Booking.com and 79 per cent prioritising wellness-oriented travel over the last two-three years as per a recent survey by McKinsey. The trend shows sustainable places which are ecology conscious and wellness-focussed are more preferred.”
Signature experiences and unique offerings
“Six Senses Vana aims to protect and nurture, providing space to discover and flourish. Our unique offerings include Ayurveda, Yoga, Tibetan Medicine and Natural Healing Therapies combined with a rich daily movement schedule, deep commitment, and personalised support. Nourishing cuisine, experiences for all the senses and a kind-hearted team complete the retreat,” informs Singh who feels during the first quarter, business looked uncertain owing to the uncertainty looming around with third wave of Covid19 at its peak and visas for international travellers still restricted. “If we go by overall year’s performance, the business was pretty good with the surge of domestic travel which is true in almost all geographies,” he says.
The focus towards uncharted unique properties has been on the rise as the world emerges from the after-effects of the pandemic. The travellers are more inclined towards experiential, community based cultural tourism as they seek a different and deeper way to experience destinations and Nature. “The wellness journey of a guest at Six Senses Vana in itself is all-encompassing and experiential in nature. Set in a dense Sal forest just outside Dehradun, with the Himalayan foothills in North India, Six Senses Vana is a refuge for all beings, people, plants, birds, butterflies and monkeys. From the moment you arrive, when your forehead is dotted with crimson and you don your loose-fitting kurta pajamas, to the moment you leave, and your wrist is tied with a red-string blessing, this soothing space serves as a leveler where you can come as you are and connect to each other and Nature without hindrance,” he says.
On his expectations from 2023 on the business front, Singh says, “Upward and onward. Particularly with rebranding and enhancement in our core offerings with elevation in customer experience, we expect a strong business year in 2023.” To attract international travellers, Singh wants to extend authentic wellness offerings integrated with nutritious cuisines and a kindhearted team. “People have always been travelling to Vana for wellness that continues with Six Senses brand collaboration. The enhancements and core offerings will remain our unique selling points to keep engaging with international travellers,” he says.
Sustainability is a way of life at Vana which is quite evident in its design, art, materials, water management, plastic free approach and textiles made only with natural fibres. “From the outset, the retreat was conceived on the Green Building Concept to be a part of the existing landscape, Sal forests, Mango plantations, and Lychee trees. Awarded LEED Platinum status in 2015, we are India’s first retreat to have attained this standard of environmental design. Interiors ensure natural ventilation in enclosed areas, and exteriors are lush, left to their most organic and natural form,” informs Singh proudly.
Since the early days of Vana, sensitivity to ecology has played an intrinsic role in its thinking, creating and maintaining harmony with the natural world. Energy, water and waste are managed effectively in LEED Platinum certified buildings and all textiles and solvents are sourced in compliance with sustainable standards. “These principles are aligned to core values at Six Senses, communicated through the Earth Lab, where guests are encouraged to be the change they want to see during hands-on and light-hearted workshops. Regenerative travel experiences will offer guests a tangible connection to the local community and wildlife projects, infusing their Vana journey with purpose and positive impact,” he says.
“The vision is to deepen and strengthen the current offerings, complement it with signature offerings of Six Senses, and bring it to a broader global audience. The Retreat until now was a hidden gem but with Six Senses coming in, combined with strong distribution channels & marketing efforts, the intention is to share the ancient wisdom and unique wellness offerings at Six Senses Vana with a much wider base in India and across geographies enabling them to achieve their wellness goals,” Singh concludes.
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