Abhilash Mony, director of spa, Taj Dubai. Abhilash Mony, director of spa, Taj Dubai.

Was hospitality something you wanted to do, given that you studied the Ayurvedic form of medicine?

Hospitality was never on my mind when I started my journey in the study of Ayurveda, which is an alternative medical system used to balance the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of individuals. I was introduced to the spa industry through my work in Ayurveda as the same traditional science for healing and rejuvenation applied to the hospitality industry as well. As a group, Taj Hotels embraces the philosophy of Jiva, which is rooted in India’s ancient approach to wellness, so it has been a perfect fit.

Could you tell us a bit about your role at the hotel?

The spa manager’s role comes with several facets and my role includes managing customer service, finances, marketing, staffing and of course the daily operations. I believe a spa manager’s role is one of the most rewarding, exciting, mind-expanding and life-enhancing journeys possible. After managing the Jiva Grande Spa in a royal palace hotel — the Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, India — and the beach locales of Taj Exotica Goa, setting up Jiva Spa in a fast paced city like Dubai has been a special experience.

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How important are a spa’s operations to a hotel’s top line?

The spa and fitness centre of a hotel is a viable, revenue producing outlet, contributing increasingly to the hotel’s top line, hence the importance of a well-functioning spa adds tremendous value.

How have you positioned your spa in the market considering you have a different proposition from your competitors?

Ever since our entry in the Dubai market little over a year ago, we’ve seen a growing demand for organic spas. Jiva is the only Indian spa brand in the world with special spa therapies and experiences that awaken ancient healing, wellness and beauty secrets from within. We run a completely natural and herbal spa, taking inspiration from traditional royal rituals. Treatment products that we use are completely organic and natural, including the linen. In a world where a rising number of spas have brought in machines and supplements, at Jiva we are committed to using only pure and natural products and heal through touch for a completely natural and holistic wellness experience.

How do you ensure all therapists and masseurs stay motivated at their job?

Each of our therapists undergoes an intensive three-month training programme at Taj Group’s Ayurvedic training centre in India, along with know-how in the ancient Japanese art of healing called Reiki helping them stay centred in positive energy. We start the day with a prayer and self-healing. All our therapists have been with the spa since opening; this is a testament of our energies being completely aligned.

What are some of the trends you have observed in the spa industry?

People are waking up to wellness and are more conscious about taking regular breaks. This is the reason for the steady and mercurial rise of spas. We believe that a good spa must provide a calm environment to switch off and cleanse the weariness of the day, and leave you mentally, emotionally and physically refreshed. A growing number of men and women are waking up to the need of short getaways to the spa, either during weekends or after work hours.

What would you consider as some of your most notable achievements?

I revel in the success and the numerous awards and accolades that Jiva has received over the last few years wherever I have been in charge.

Top five tips to refresh yourself at work

1. Close your eyes and gently massage the temples with your thumbs and fore fingers.
2. Take a few deep breaths, keeping your eyes closed.
3. Stay hydrated, and drink approximately three litres of water a day. Keep a bottle of water on your desk, and infuse it with cucumber, mint leaves or any preferred flavour.
4. Have your lunch at a fixed time each day and don’t work whilst eating.
5. Make sure you have good back support, and your computer is at a comfortable height and distance.