Dubai: Dubai-based KEF Holdings is all set to take up a Dh400 million integrated clinical wellness resort project in Kerala, and said to be the first such in the south Indian state. The company, which operates out of DIFC, had acquired the 30 acres needed for the development in Calicut district in 2010.
KEF – known for its engineering-related ventures in the UAE and hospital projects in Kerala – will have the ground-breaking for the project next month and with the first phase scheduled for completion in March 2023. A second phase will be delivered in 2024.
“The emphasis is on the ‘clinical wellness’, and we will integrate Ayurveda, Tibetan healing, natural and Western processes,” said Faisal Kottikollon, founder of KEF Holdings. “This will be quite different from the ‘wellness’ concepts that are being used so frequently these days.”
What KEF is trying to do is be the first-to-market with an integrated clinical wellness offering. Until now, most ventures have focussed on a particular aspect, such as Ayurveda, for instance. The Dh400 million project will also try and leverage Kerala’s return as a tourism destination after being undone by two years of COVID-19 and a devastating flood that ravaged the state.
It as then that Faisal and Shabana Kottikollon launched a foundation to take over a government school in Kerala - the Nadakkavu School - as part of a 'transformation' project. The Nadakkavu model has been replicated in 966 government schools in Kerala and covered 2 million students. The school was built using prefab technology in 90 days.
It led to the setting up of KEF Infrastructure in Krishnagiri, which became the largest prefab factory in India. The concept was to manufacture schools, hospitals and commercial buildings in a factory and assemble on-site.
KEF Infra was acquired by Japan's SoftBank-backed Katerra in 2018.
Keeping it all sustainable
The resort will be built as per the latest sustainability concepts, with the intention of being a “net-zero” carbon emitter. For future water needs, the project is ‘harvesting’ rainwater in tanks totalling 10 million litres in capacity. “The plan is to collect 40 million litres each year, retain 10 million and use the rest for the organic farm that is part of the development,” said Kottikollon.
We have started bringing out fresh produce from the farms – for new, we are selling to retailers and wholesalers in Calicut. Once the resort is commissioned, we will use all produce grown for our own needs.
Hotel and hospital
The resort will have a 130-room hotel component, which will be managed by KEF. These details are yet to be worked out. “Wellness is about holistic integration of body, mind, and spirit,” said Shabana Kottikollon, Director at KEF Holdings.
All that we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our overall state of wellbeing. For an inclusive space and catering to all, clinical wellness is the need of the hour.
Recruitments are on for the various positions that will be created in future at the resort. This will include a core team of doctors and associated staff as well as personnel for the hospitality element. “The plan is to be a 400-strong workforce by the time of the second phase completion,” said Faisal Kottikollon.
“The resort, which is 15 minutes from Calicut airport, will also have close links with the premium Meitra Hospital that we own and operate. It’s about KEF playing a part in element of a person’s need for physical and mental wellbeing.”