Some journeys can be summed up in a photo, a tweet, a souvenir. But others are so filled with inner riches, they defy easy description. For our guests, this has always posed a challenge: How to best capture the world of luxury that is The Leela? For one visitor, it’s a lobby – and a welcome that makes her feel like royalty. For another, it’s discovering a hidden garden, guided only by the scent of jasmine. To some, it is small touches that few others notice – the warmth of a gesture, the extra care in the simplest dish. Finding the right words for this distinctly Indian brand of luxury is made all the more difficult because it is constantly being refined and enhanced by each person we invite to join our staff.
From the start, we have been on a continuous journey to delight each traveller who crosses our threshold. It is The Leela’s goal to provide the most demanding guests with memorable, magical stays that deliver the essence of India and discover a 5-Star experience found only in India, and only at The Leela. In a span of 30 years, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has grown to comprise a world-class collection of nine award-winning luxury hotels spread across key destinations in India with many more on the anvil.
The Leela story begins with its founder Late Capt. CP Krishnan Nair, and a deep hunger that fuelled his ambitions. Born into a poor agricultural family in Kannur District of Kerala, India, Capt. Nair joined the Free India Army in his mid-20s. He met Leela, the daughter of a successful handloom owner, who went on to become his soulmate, a life-partner and the leading lady in all his business ventures. After marriage, he resigned from the Army in 1945 and joined the handloom business, working his charm into the handloom industry, the world over.
Capt. CP Krishnan Nair took over as the CEO of the Producers-cum-Consumers Cooperative Society in Malabar, where the handloom industry was going through troubled times. Convinced that India had lost much of its arts and crafts in weaving during the colonization period, Capt. Nair prioritized the revitalizing of the dying handloom textile industry in the country. In 1951, he started the Leela Lace, a company that pioneered the fabric called ‘Bleeding Madras’, which went on to become one of the most sought after material in USA. He engaged with the best in the business and the long list of coveted clients included designers such as Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. Soon, his business grew. And as Capt. Nair’s travels increased, so did his exposure to some of the most hospitable and luxurious hotels of the world. He was greatly impressed by the high standards of hospitality at some of the iconic hotels of that time. During several interactions with General Managers of these hotels who would host him over lavish meals, he understood the finer nuances of what it took to make a luxury hotel.
So, well into his 60s, unsatiated with the innumerable crowning achievements of his earlier venture, he decided to embark upon his true calling in life – a journey into the world of luxury hospitality. A born achiever, he quickly set the footprints of an empire comprising of luxury hotels in India that would excel in comfort and offer global benchmarks in service whilst maintaining the traditional warmth and grace of Indian hospitality.
The Leela Mumbai opens in 1986
When actively scouting for land in Mumbai to construct his first hotel, he and his wife stumbled upon a vast tract of 11 acres situated close to the international airport. There was no other commercial establishment around it, except for a taxi stand that catered to travellers arriving at the airport. His wife Leela’s deep instincts that travellers to the airport would need a place to stay, prompted him to take up the challenge of building a luxury hotel without conducting a market survey.Till date there is no other hotel in the precincts of Mumbai that is situated as expansively as The Leela Mumbai.
At 64 years of age, when most people decide to rest on their laurels, Capt. Nair worked tirelessly to commission his first hotel in a record time of less than three years. A far-sighted and an avid marketer, he knew that he needed the brand to be marketed overseas. He tied-up with the Penta group, a subsidiary of Lufthansa for a marketing franchise. The Leela Penta in 1986. When Kempinski bought over the Penta group, the marketing franchise continued and the hotel was renamed The Leela Kempinski. Since 2013, the hotel has been rechristened The Leela Mumbai. Within three years of opening, The Leela Mumbai won the National Tourism Award for being the highest grossing foreign exchange earner. The hotel has never looked back ever since.
The Leela Goa opens in 1991
Buoyed by the unfathomable success of its maiden venture, The Leela Mumbai, Capt. C.P. Krishnan Nair set his sights on Goa. During his overseas marketing trips, he realized the enormous potential of a luxury beach resort in India that would provide an ideal tropical escape from the harsh winters of Europe. His foresight led him to establishing the most captivating resort tucked away on the southern tip of Goa, set amidst 75 acres of landscaped gardens.
Sprawled between the Arabian Sea and River Sal, the resort has been designed by the renowned architect, Tom Pugliaso, and it reflects the Portuguese and Indian heritage. The resort has 206 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites. The Club - a resort within a resort offers everything from limousine transfers from the airport to private plunge pools, dining areas and a designated Club beach. The Leela Goa, since its opening in 1991, has won innumerable awards, both nationally and internationally.
The Leela Palace Bengaluru opens in 2001
The foundation stone for The Leela Palace Bangalore was laid in 1997 by the then Prime Minister of India, Mr. H.D. Deve Gowda and the then Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. J.H. Patel. Drawing inspiration from the architectural style of the Royal Palace of Mysore, The Leela Palace Bengaluru stands majestically amidst the seven acres of lush gardens and a sparkling lagoon in the garden city.
The Leela Palace Bengaluru has garnered innumerable awards and accolades since its opening in 2001 and till date remains the only destination hotel in Bengaluru. The hotel has 357 luxurious guestrooms, multiple dining options and extensive banqueting and conferencing venues. The Collonade provides a world-class shopping experience and the luxuriously designed spa and a state-of-the-art fitness centre makes the hotel the first choice for business and leisure travellers.
The Leela Kovalam opens in 2005
The Leela Kovalam in Kerala is built on a cliff-top and spreads over acres of lush greenery. It is cradled between wide sweeping beaches and has a panoramic view of the famous Kovalam coastline overlooking the Arabian Sea.
The Leela Kovalam provides a perfect blend of traditional grandeur and a contemporary outlook. There is an array of superlative restaurants and lounges that specialize in traditional Ayurvedic treatments. Two stunning infinity pools overlook the Arabian Sea. The Club at The Leela has an exclusive International Spa, a Library Lounge and Living Room and is perched on a cliff overlooking the sea.
The Leela Ambience Gurgaon opens in 2009
The Leela Ambience Gurgaon is strategically located at the Delhi-Gurgaon border, with the capital city on one side and Gurgaon’s established business district on the other. The hotel is part of a lifestyle complex, offering 421 guestrooms, suites and Leela Residences. The restaurants and lounges offer innovative cuisines from across the world.
The Leela Residences, the luxury serviced apartments, redefine comforts of modern convenient living outside of a hotel room, but with all hotel luxuries.
The Leela Palace Udaipur opens in 2009
For centuries, visitors have marvelled at the royal splendour of Udaipur’s magnificent palaces and forts. The Leela Palace Udaipur is a jewel on the banks of the majestic Lake Pichola offering stunning views of the lake, City Palace and the Aravalli mountains. The hotel exemplifies Rajasthani palace architecture and evokes the grandeur of Udaipur’s rich and royal heritage.
The elegant and contemporary interiors of the rooms and suites at The Leela Palace Udaipur are embellished with traditional elements of Rajasthani design and artistry. With a lake facing pool, spa and an array of restaurants and superlative lounges, the palace provides a fairy tale setting for a royal Mewar experience.
The Leela Palace New Delhi opens in 2011
The Leela Palace New Delhi stands majestically at Chanakyapuri, in close proximity to the Diplomatic Enclave, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister’s residence, the Secretariat, leading Business Districts and historical monuments, making it a perfect choice for discerning business and leisure travellers. The Leela Palace New Delhi represents the magnificent architecture, grace and elegance of Lutyen’s Delhi. The hotel building has been L.E.E.D. Platinum certification.
It provides the luxury of oversized guestrooms and suites of 550 sq. ft and above, equipped with the latest technology. It has several uber chic restaurants and an exclusive Spa by ESPA. The hotel has redefined international benchmarks of luxury hospitality and has been conferred with innumerable awards and accolades, including being in the Top 4 Best of the Best Hotels in the World, by Robb Report in 2012.
The Leela Palace Chennai opens in 2013
The Leela Palace Chennai is Chennai’s only modern Palace hotel located in the precincts of Chennai that overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is in close proximity to the various seats of government and the leading business districts of Chennai. The hotel offers a luxurious experience, evoking the rich heritage of the palaces of Tamil Nadu in terms of grandness and space.
The opulent interiors of the hotel blends effortlessly with cutting edge technology in both guestrooms and facilities to provide an unforgettable experience. A mileu of exotic dining options, meeting rooms, premium lounge spaces, meeting rooms and a well quipped gym provide unparalleled experiences.
The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel Delhi opens in 2015
In late 2015, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi (earlier managed by Kempinski Hotels) was augmented to our portfolio. With this, we now have a presence across all major business districts of the Capital.
The Convention Centre is spread over 70000 sq. feet and comprises of one pillar-less hall that can accommodate roughly 3000 guests in theatre style and offers 13 break-out rooms and several outdoor options. The hotel has a total of 480 guest rooms and suites and has 3 separate entrances that allows multiple conferences and weddings to take place simultaneously.
The Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre by The Leela
Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre by The Leela, Gandhinagar is located in close proximity to the famous Dandi Kutir and well-connected to UNESCO’s world Heritage City of Ahmedabad.
The Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre draws an inspiration from the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Spread across 34 acres, it is one of the biggest state-of-art facility in India uniquely designed to combine a sense of aesthetics, functionality and flexibility.
The 20,000 sq m of Convention and Exhibition area has an abundance of natural light and airy spaces and is equipped with energy efficient lighting and water management. The Leela Ghandinagar which is expected to be completed by early 2019 will be a 300 room 5 star hotel built inside the complex.