Glamour elements to age old ayurveda in Sri Lanka:
Spa Ceylon a new dimension
Spa Ceylon is truly Sri Lankan, a luxury spa brand that has given
ayurveda a whole new dimension, infusing glamour elements to age old
ayurveda in Sri Lanka. In an exclusive interview with the Daily News
Business, Spa Ceylon Directors Shiwantha Dias and Shalin Balasuriya
expressed their views on the Spa Ceylon and its future growth plan for
both locally and internationally.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Directors Shiwantha Dias and Shalin Balasuriya
Pictures by -Ruwan De Silva
Luxury Ayurveda products
Q: With the launch of Spa Ceylon first store, what has been
the progress that Spa Ceylon made in Sri Lanka, what is the customer
response to your products; how has your brand been accepted in Sri
A: Our business has grown significantly with the launch of our
first store in Colombo. The response has been very good both locally and
internationally. The boom in tourism has been good for us. Spa Ceylon is
currently operating in nine locations across the island, with several
more new resort spa and boutique locations currently under construction,
Spa Ceylon is well on course to have 15 locations open in Sri Lanka by
end of 2012.
The products of Spa Ceylon are exported to Russia, Indonesia, Middle
East, Seychelles , India and South Africa. We are currently going
through EU registration process; with this, our products are expected to
enter European markets by the end of 2012.
The product range of the company is offered to distributors
internationally and spas are being franchised. Our parent company, which
is a BoI approved facility that has already established in the field of
Ayurveda and has the core competencies in manufacturing.
Q: How did you manage to create a luxurious spa brand in Sri
Lanka? How does the Spa Ceylon maintain the Sri Lankan identity with
your products, innovations, packaging?
A: Spa Ceylon has a differentiated product line, we combine
the essence of old Ceylon ayurveda heritage and wisdom and come up with
a range of very indulgent, pampering , luxurious spa ayurveda treatment
products, as well as living products to appeal to the consumers’ body,
mind and soul.
Prior to Spa Ceylon coming into operation, ayurveda was getting very
popular in Sri Lanka. However, the environment which was treatments
administered and the aromas and the oils were not too popular with up
market, elite, high spending tourists. We found a niche and opportunity
there to give luxury ayurveda offering which is not just as a medicated
line of treatments available.
Spa Ceylon is a lot about promoting health and wellbeing of
customers, we give it in a very luxurious form and has managed to create
a luxurious image for our brand, products and services as well.
Everything was about branding, the old Ceylonese heritages, the very
old Ceylon identity when it comes to our product line, packaging, if you
look at our packaging, we have insignia from royal Kandyan court . This
has given us a lot of resistance.
Even though, certain hotels are offering foreign spa experience to
their customers. But, Sri Lanka is blessed with this rich, natural
ayurveda medicine, possibly the best in the world. It is quite a task to
convince, create awareness among the customers on the importance of
having Ayurveda treatments.
Spa Ceylon Luxury Ayurveda products
Inside Spa Ceylon
Spa Ceylon has the capability, know how to do something unique to Sri
Lanka without the foreign influence , tourists coming to Sri Lanka look
for a destination specific experience , they are not coming here looking
for Thai , Indian or Indonesian experience. What they want is to try out
Sri Lankan food, culture, ayurveda, hospitality. We think there is huge
opportunity to create Sri Lankan experience and Spa Ceylon has been
successful in achieving the objective within a short period .
Spa Ceylon is a lot about promoting health and wellbeing of customers
, but we are giving it in a very luxurious form . We have created a very
luxurious image and appeal for our brand, our product and services. Even
if you are putting out a personal care product or spa product or
anything of that sort, it needs a story behind, it needs a science
behind it, it needs something little more, than what Spa Ceylon is all
Each of the treatments we offer has a unique back story that comes
from grand palaces of old age, Ceylon. So it is more than just a product
itself, it is the whole philosophy that comes in making this brand.
Q: Do you think that spa culture is growing in Sri Lanka?
A: There are spas popping up everywhere. With the conflict
ending in 2009, there was an impending boom in tourism, as such there
was a great opportunity in this sector . The spas that are popping up
everywhere is not the kind of spas we are trying to fetch, we are trying
to create an upmarket, unique destination experience through our spas
Q: How did you overcome the initial challenges of the
business; and what do you think are the challenges in respective
A: Setting up a luxury experience with Sri Lankan made
products is more difficult. There is a sense that Sri Lankan products
are not as good as international products, people considered “ayurveda”
as sticky, smelly and not comfortable treatment and it was more of a
medical science than a pampering luxurious well-being science that we
focused in . Getting over these two barriers was the most difficult task
at the beginning.
Spa Ceylon is staffed by well experienced spa therapists, beauticians
and doctors . We currently employ more than 50-60 therapists, of which
90 percent of them are local.
We have a online store , where we ship our products worldwide within
24 hours. A lot of tourists who come to Sri Lanka experience the Spa
Ceylon brand and take these products home as gifts for their friends or
business partners. If they are willing to repurchase these products,
they have the opportunity to order the required products through our
Since we are not in all markets; our online store really helps. The
online store was pushed forward fast, and it has become an amazing way
to interacting with clients as they are getting their products and their
needs and it's been quite popular since it was launched. We have a
facebook page with a large number of fans. we have positioned our brand
in such a way and ensure that our clientele and target markets are kept
informed and constantly engaging ourselves with the brand.
Q: What innovations can we look forward to?
A: We are developing several new product lines and are looking
at innovations for Ayurveda that is unique to Sri Lankans. One of the
ranges we are looking at incorporating into the spa and ayurveda product
is, Organic Ceylon Tea, which would be a completely new twist to the
local tea industry.
Q: Any promotional campaign coming up to promote your products
A: We launched the first of our larger promotional campaign
mid last year and portrayed what the Spa Ceylon brand was. Through this,
Sri Lankan royalty was brought on newer age basically giving the sense
that our client will be indulging in our products, spas or any of our
lifestyle products and they will be treated in royalty and will feel
like royalty . We are looking at extending it to the next step as the
Q: Spa Ceylon achievements?
A: We have been recognized in Asia’s Spa Award 2011, our
product line was nominated as one of the natural product lines of the
year and Spa rituals of Spa Ceylon were nominated as Spa Rituals of the
We believe this is truly an hievement for a young and growing brand
like Spa Ceylon and are expected to win in one of those categories this
year as well.
Q: How does your company make a responsible commitment for the
wellbeing of the local community?
A: We have a community trade programme in Kalpitiya where
organic Aloe Vera is grown by women in the area, we buy all their
products at a guaranteed price, this has not only empowered the women in
Kalpitiya but also provided them an alternate source of income.
We started a home garden cultivation project with the involvement of
100 families in Kalpitiya and are expanding the project by encouraging
them to grow more herbs.
Wooden packages which is a source for craftsmen in Kalutara and we
work with another NGO in the Meerigama area where they make reed baskets
for us . Palmyrah baskets are provided by the war widows in the Northern
areas. We have a lot more projects to give back to Sri Lanka and are
committed to empower the community that we are present in.