• The Leela

About Us

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.

Early Years

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.

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