I first visited RAAS Jodhpur in March 2014 and was immediately enthralled by its unexpected location in Jodhpur’s ancient city walls in the gaze of one of India’s largest forts. The energy felt so raw and palpable and I knew it would be the perfect place to launch our first ila only spa, and a wonderful showcase for the exceptional Indian ingredients and ancient healing arts at the heart of the ila experience.
Recruiting the right team was absolutely essential and everything fell into place with the appointment of Faraaz Tanveer as Wellness Director. Faraaz is an inspirational individual whose purity of mind, guidance and experience has been instrumental in helping the spa reach its full potential. It has been amazing to hear such positive feedback from guests in such a short period of time since we opened, and I am really looking forward to visiting the team again in 2015.
Interview with Faraaz Tanveer, Wellness Director, ila only Spa, RAAS Jodhpur
How did you come to join the team at RAAS Jodhpur as the Wellness Director?
In short: Denise called, I answered!
I had worked with ila before for a wellness centre project in Dubai and have always loved the philosophy and treatments. After my Dubai stint I spent a year in Rishikesh (India) learning and teaching yoga and meditation and then the following year travelling across India facilitating wellness workshops. During this time I was in touch with Denise and we were on the lookout for an opportunity to work together again.
I love that ila walks the walk – Denise has a personal relationship with all the suppliers and the products are completely natural and pure. Each bottle is hand blended and packaged with love and all treatments are firmly grounded in deep knowledge of eastern healing traditions.
An ila treatment is a guided meditation – no less. And there is no greater fulfilment I know of than to be able to take someone to that place: to introduce them to this beautiful possibility in their consciousness – where they can get a taste of their own being, pure bliss.
So when the RAAS opportunity came up we both agreed this is it! I finished a consulting project in Doha and came down straight to Jodhpur to start in October.
What makes the ila only spa at RAAS Jodhpur so special?
RAAS Jodhpur is a heritage property where an old haveli (mansion) has been converted into a modern contemporary boutique hotel, while still retaining the rustic charm of the original building. The design and architecture of this hotel have won rave reviews and awards since its opening.
The ila only spa is housed in one of the oldest parts of the mansion – a 250+ year-old complex with an open courtyard in the middle. The ‘Puja Sthaan’/ place of worship dedicated to Mataji is situated near the entrance. The treatment spaces are located in traditional rooms with high ceilings. The whole spa lights up beautifully in the evening with little earthen lamps.
The energy of the place is very grounded and calm. The place of worship and daily rituals perfectly complement the ila vision. I think it is the most ideal place for launching the first ila only spa. Both ila and RAAS aim to present tradition in a contemporary setting while still maintaining the essence. I am fortunate to be a part of this collaboration.
What feedback have you been receiving from the guests so far?
The feedback from guests has been very good! Everyone loves the rustic charm of the set up and also the way it lights up with diyas (earthen lamps) in the evening. The guests especially love the facials and yoga classes. Some of them commented that before ila they never realised that a spa treatment could be so deeply healing. The guests also appreciate the care and effort that our team puts in towards maintaining positive energy in the area by performing the morning and evening prayer rituals.
I love the glow on their face when they step out of the treatment room. It reminds our team why we do what we do!
The team have a wonderful daily ritual, can you tell us more about it and how it helps the team connect to ila?
We start the day as a team with an ‘aarti’ at the ‘puja sthaan’/ place of worship. An aarti is a traditional vedic rite where we show reverence to the divine and ask for blessings through invocations, prayers and rituals. Our team does a short aarti with chanting and an offering of sweets. This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a group and set the intention for the day.
We also perform an evening prayer around sunset at the same spot when we softly chant some mantras and sit in silence for a few minutes. This is an opportunity to wind up the day with awareness and to clear the energy of the whole space.
ila’s healing philosophy focuses on the principles of love and awareness. These practices act as daily reminders of the same.