Interview with Mr. Manish Puri, General Manager of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain
Mr. Manish Puri joined Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain as General Manager in November 2015. In his current role, he oversees all the operations and affairs of the retreat.
Manish has been part of the Six Senses family since 2008. He began his Six Senses career as general manager with the opening of Evason Ma’in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa in the Kingdom of Jordan. This was followed by five years in Thailand where he served as general manager of the award-winning Six Senses Yao Noi. Manish brings with him the varied experience of 23 years in the hospitality industry.
He started his hotel career as a management trainee in the Oberoi School of Hotel Management and worked in various food & beverage positions within the Oberoi group. His second appointment was opening the legendary Burj Al Arab in Dubai as private dining manager where he established dining standards for all suite guests, which included royalty, entertainment personalities and world leaders.
Manish returned to India and accepted the invitation to open The Leela Palace Kempinski, Bangalore. He was mainly involved in concept designs for restaurants, bars and banqueting and was soon promoted to Food & Beverage Manager. Next, he joined the opening team at one of the largest hotels in the country, Grand Hyatt Mumbai. Following his successful posting in Mumbai, he headed north to New Delhi and took on the role of Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage at The Imperial. He moved on to higher responsibilities at the Taj Hotels, Palaces and Resorts as Executive Assistant Manager.
Under his leadership, Six Senses Spa at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain was the winner of Best Destination Spa of the Year by SpaChina Awards 2016. Here are excerpts from SpaChina Magazine’s interview with Mr. Manish Puri.
Since you moved to Chengdu and Qing Cheng Mountain, what kind of impression do you have of both Chengdu city and Qing Cheng Mountain?
Known as the birthplace of Taoism, Qing Cheng Mountain is such a natural jewel, the most peaceful and secluded mountain. Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain was intentionally designed to step back in time to combine perfectly with the evergreen scenery, and the views of majestic mountains with ancient temples and traditional pagodas.
Compared with the other places you have worked and lived, what are the differences of Chengdu or Qing Cheng Mountain?
It’s such a delight to stay in a region which has four distinct seasons. One can feel a natural changeover of environment and landscape in all its beauty. China offers the world the heritage, customs and history of 6,000 years, and at the same time it keeps reminding you that this place is not only about the past, perfectly blending both to create a unique style and art. Qing Cheng Mountain is also a part of a UNESCO world heritage site which offers so much more value in experiences for our guests.
As this is the first Six Senses property in China, could you introduce Six Senses briefly to our readers? What makes this brand unique?
From its beginnings in 1995, Six Senses quickly became recognized as the hospitality industry’s pioneer of sustainable practices, demonstrating that responsibility can be successfully wedded to un-compromised high-end facilities. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas creates places in which to reconnect, in settings of incredible natural beauty together with exceptional guest experiences. Whether it be a Six Senses resort on a remote private island or a Six Senses Spa in an exciting urban setting, the touch-points are always decidedly the same. And while being part of the local fabric and culture, Six Senses is very much in tune with the wider world.
Unique and personal encounters are crafted by a wealth of experts from diverse backgrounds, from visiting spa practitioners and celebrity chefs, to star gazers, marine biologists and even our own international panel of wellness professionals. These fascinating folk complement our dedicated hosts and help to establish the quintessence of Six Senses.
At Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, sustainability is the hallmark of our bespoke approach to luxury. Sustainability ensures that we are preserving and conserving the local environment and culture/community where we are located and which make our guest experiences so memorable.
What are the guests’ profiles of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain? What kind of experiences are they looking for?
The guests at the resort are mainly from neighboring cities and towns of Sichuan who yearn for blue skies, open spaces and green environment, all this in a luxury setting with great food and service to complement. We also see increasingly guests coming from different parts of mainland China who come to relax and indulge themselves in wellness activities and spa treatments. The percentage of foreigners is low but increasing steadily due to the excitement of seeing the Pandas, climbing the much-renowned mountain, being part of the Sichuan culinary journey and living the Six Senses experience. The resort caters to both corporate guests coming for a group retreat and for tourists who come for relaxation or to be part of the many tourist experiences that are there on offer.
Do you have any special room or spa package specially designed with the concept of Qing Cheng Mountain?
We do have exclusively designed Chinese rituals based on Taoism to boost the body’s overall defense systems, cultivate radiance of spirit and restore balance to ensure positive health and longevity. We have designed a traditional Chinese treatment room to store more than 70 kinds Chinese herbal medicine. In additional, we have a traditional Chinese medicine doctor to guide guests and provide suggestions according to traditional Chinese medicine methods. We have also created an exclusive Tai Chi class at Puzhao temple taught by a Qing Cheng Tai Chi master, followed by a Zen tea ceremony and nutritious vegetarian breakfast served in Puzhao temple, which is unique and locally inspired.
How important is spa service for the Six Senses Brand? Why? Could you explain it in detail? Please also introduce one of your favorite spa treatments.
Yes, Spa and wellness treatments are very important to us and very much part of our core values and DNA. Spa is just part of the whole wellness idea we have. This wellness idea includes healthy eating through our nutritional guidelines, healthy living through our yogic, detox and sleep programs. Sleep health of our guests together with nutrition, movement, holistic therapies, mindfulness and smart technology that allows our experts to personalize wellness programs, are the core pillars of our innovative approach to heath – Six Senses integrated Wellness.
The Oriental massage has the elements and holistic feel of a Swedish massage and some of the techniques of a traditional Thai massage. Great for jet-lag or a massage to revive oneself after a tiring week.
Many luxury hotels report the spa business is not so good. What kind of problems are impacting the hotel spa business?
The Spa as a concept and business model is not doing that well for the moment, yet there is no luxury hotel opening without one. This is because hotel companies realize the importance of health, wellness, and treatments in the immediate future. It will not be just luxury, but a necessity for healthy living. Spas like in Six Senses resorts are offering much more than just massages. We have a large base of wellness programs and initiatives that result in healthier living.