The Kairali Ayurvedic Health Spa is located in a quiet by-lane of Chembur. Which is probably good because no one wants to near anyone who smells like they took a dunk in very strong smelling oils. But we knew that about Ayurvedic massages. They are vigorous for the most part, use a lot of oil (so much oil that I saw some people frying some bhaturas outside. Not really, but you could), and involve long, firm strokes.
I was invited by the PR person to avail of a service at their Mumbai centre – they have only one- in Chembur. I was in town that day and got stuck in some horrible traffic which means I reached the centre an hour late. Yes, I did apologise profusely. They were really nice and accommodating, they moved around a couple of other appointments to fit me in. And they knew I was coming and all that which is always super because I have had some horrifying experiences with PR people not communication with their brand. Here’s my review of the place and the experience.
The Kairali Ayurvedic Health Spa has been around for 12 years in the same place. And while they have a wonderful place, with a lovely, leafy verandah and what not, the space inside leaves much, much to be desired. The place gives you a 80s flashback and not in a good way. While the reception area is just about okay, the treatment rooms lack any sort of cleanliness or sophistication. The cupboards look old and unclean, the area around the mirror hasn’t seen a duster in many, many years, The place has fans working at full speed but I didn’t see an AC.
I didn’t have a chance to interact extensively with the people here because the appointment was booked by the PR person. But the people at the reception are polite and quite nice. There’s a doctor available for any concerns you may have who is quite lovely to talk to as well.
Once a few appointments were moved around, I asked them what massage I should go for an they suggested the Abhyangam which can be done as a one off massage. I was ushered into a room where two ladies – Reshma and another name too long for me to remember – told me where everything was in broken English. Once I had changed into a smelly gown which had clung to many bodies before me, I was made to sit on what was essentially two stairs. Reshma proceeded to give me a head massage with the oils. I was then shifted on the wooden table which serves as the spa bed. Here they used copious amounts of oil on me, asking me if the pressure was okay in some very basic English. If you want to keep any ounce of clothing on you besides the disposable panty they provide, this massage is not for you. It is also not for someone hoping for a relaxing massage. With long strokes, plenty of oil and vigorous massaging, this wasn’t something that I would turn to to unwind. The rather generous use of oil also meant that I was sliding up and down the table which I am sure wasn’t very cute.
Once the massage was done (my hair and face and eyes and pretty much any crevice had plenty of oil in it) I was made to sit in an Ayurvedic steam box while the ladies milled about, casually chatted and put stuff away. I was then asked to shower. I used a lot of the soap provided but the smell stayed on. Post massage, I was offered a warm drink too spicy for my liking.
I think the smell went after 3 baths. Too long man, too long for something that smells like that. I must admit, however, that the smell isn’t specific to Kairali.
That’s a wrap
Spa: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Spa
Service availed: Body Massage
The wallet is lighter by : Rs.2000 inclusive of all taxes
Get in touch:67,Rajita Villa,6th Road, Chembur, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400071 Call:022 2529 4477
Brands used: Company’s own
Hygiene of salon and professional: Absolutely average. Could use a lot of sprucing up. The device that warms the oils was coated in black grease.
Destress Quotient: 1.0 AAHs
Verdict: I do understand that this is possibly a case of acquired taste but I simply don’t understand the sorry state of affairs. Surely the accessories used can be clean? The massage was good if a tad too enthusiastic. And while it makes perfect sense to get someone from Kerala to give the massage, some basic language skills should be taught.
Therapists name: Reshma and another one.