A new destination in India where wellness will meet the wanderlust

New healing resort a short drive from Kozhikode International Airport in Kerala

By Aftab H. Kola

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Fri 25 Mar 2022, 5:04 PM

Dubai-based conglomerate KEF Holdings will be opening a super-exclusive clinical wellness retreat near Kozhikode in the South Indian state of Kerala next year.

The Dh400 million (Rs 800-crore) integrated clinical wellness resort is coming up on 30 acres of sustainable, verdant land at Chelembra in Malappuram district. The resort is ideally located with the Kozhikode International Airport just a short drive away.

The high-end healing retreat will offer niche products and superior hospitality services, targeting tourists and wellness-seekers from the GCC, South Asia and Europe.

The resort construction has been taken up in two phases. Work is going on in full swing on the first phase which is expected to open in March, 2023, with 60 rooms. The first phase will have a solar park, an organic farm, landscaping and the first resort building among other things. The second phase, with another 70 rooms, is expected to be fully operational two years from now.

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Kerala Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas and the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Abdulrahman AlBanna, will unveil the brand and launch the second phase of works.

Faizal E. Kottikon, the enterprising chairman of KEF Holdings, talks about why and how they came to build the resort. "The idea of setting up KEF Clinical Wellness resort did not develop in recent times, it's a story that has been in the making for 40 years. The idea first occurred to me when I visited Auroville (near Puducherry, India) in 1983. People often think of wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc, but it is much more than that. Wellness is the holistic integration of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, nurturing the spirit and thus beating the stress. It is a way of life with principles that I have prioritized since the early years after my visit.”

Faizal E. Kottikon, chairman of KEF Holdings.
Faizal E. Kottikon, chairman of KEF Holdings.

He continues: “The dream is to build an integrated philosophy within a fully immersive health and wellness environment, with a School of Life, a School of Health, and a School of Happiness. The idea is to learn from nature, harmonize traditional and modern medicine towards better health, build healthy relationships with people around you, and learn to apply these practices every day, towards peaceful coexistence.” 
The resort experience 
The resort, punctuated by green spaces, will have a 130-room hotel offering views of lush green environs that promise serenity and peace. The architecture will reflect the boutique architectural experience of luxury, connecting strongly with the surrounding landscape through a harmony of contemporary design and traditional elements. The infrastructure and design of the space have been conceptualized by a world-renowned team of international architects and designers which include KEF designs, KKD, LAMI and SquareM.


One of the largest swimming pools with filtered water of 44,000 sq ft has been set up. Floating structures designed in the pool will enable guests to utilize it as a lounge space for recreational movement activities like yoga. An international, Michelin star restaurant is also another feature, which serves food based on Farm to Table concept, with organic, healthy cuisines to offer.

The healing touch

The wellness services will include integrated programs ranging from personalised prevention treatments, prediction and health enhancement programs designed to refresh one’s health and understanding future health risks. The tranquil space integrates both clinical and wellness services with experts from modern medicine through KEF Holdings' Meitra Hospital, along with traditional Ayurvedic, yoga and Tibetan medical practices, sound healing, sports and rehabilitation, healthy nutrition and a holistic living academy, all blended as a unique experience for the guest.

In short, it will be a comprehensive programme offering clinical wellness, spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthy cuisine and special programs. With medical supervision designed to support the processes of renewal and restoration, the experience looks at traditional diagnostics and therapy according to modern and complementary medicine.

Green initiatives

Rebooting your life will also mean a reduced carbon footprint as the resort is being developed keeping in mind green initiatives like solar power parks, tree plantations, high-tech organic farming, organically-grown food, water technology, composting and radiant cooling instead of air-conditioning.

Says Faizal Kottikon: "The resort is being built based on sustainable design principles from the choicest materials, colours and textures, using biophilic design standards, incorporating nature into the overall architecture, and creating social spaces that inspire connectedness and engagement."

KEF Holdings will be bringing the most modern and innovative techniques to the resort. There will be no air-conditioning but rather a radiant cooling. The walls and floor of the building are constructed by passing cooling and ventilation pipes through 3D panels. The resort will be fully powered by solar energy and water conservation through aquaponics, hydroponics and water harvesting. The aim is to become self-sufficient.

The outlook is especially rosy for a hospitality industry that’s Increasingly wellness-minded.


Has Covid-19 provided an opportunity?

Faizal explains: “The pandemic and climate change have shown us how fragile life is and how we need to prepare with resilient systems for situations beyond the pandemic. Today, more people are travelling in the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing their health and wellbeing and we need to start thinking outside the box while coming up with solutions to adapt.

"The resort is linked with Meitra Hospital, where we are incorporating a personalized health concept, supported by institutional knowledge from various disciplines in traditional and complementary medicine."

With wellness tourism being the fastest-growing sector in travel, having risen by 10% a year prior to Covid, a large number of people are now scouting for getaways where wellness meets wanderlust. A new destination beckons these people.

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