Zulal offers ancient methods in a contemporary setting
Set to open this year in Qatar, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som was founded on a holistic approach to sustainable well-being. Managed and operated by Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Zulal’s mission is rooted in Chiva-Som’s wellness philosophy of balancing the mind, body and spirit. The resort will also introduce indigenous wellness knowledge embodied in contemporary Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM), according to Karen Campbell, business development director, Chiva-Som International Health Resorts Company Limited.
“In a goal to make a wellness lifestyle available to families and people of all ages, Zulal Wellness Resort will serve guests within two distinct areas—Zulal Discovery for families and Zulal Serenity for adults,” she said. “Zulal Wellness Resort is set to be the largest wellness destination in Qatar, and the first location for the launch of contemporary TAIM, which explores the healing remedies and traditions of the Middle East. Derived from the Canon of Medicine written by physician-philosopher Avicenna in 1025, TAIM is one of the cornerstones of the history of medicine. It includes diagnostic techniques as well as herbal and lifestyle remedies that will be introduced through consultations and the wellness treatment menu in the resort. Unique organic Zulal products and cuisine at the resort are also sourced from the natural bounty of Qatar and are delivered using the freshest local ingredients, healing herbs, minerals and marine flora.”
Local culture is on display throughout the resort from its distinctive design and architecture to its wellness offerings. Zulal Wellness Resort addresses the mind, the body and the spirit as a whole, Campbell said, in a journey that is truly focused on the preferences and goals of each person individually.
“While offering a wide range of evidence-based treatments from Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western origins, we also honor well-being principles that are rooted in Arabic healing traditions, providing over 400 treatments across the range of mental, physical and nutritional well-being,” Campbell said.
Along with the Indian and Asian-inspired therapies, Naturopathy and indigenous Arabic and Qatari cultural influences, TAIM is also a key principle of the cuisine and dining experience at Zulal.
“Nutrition is a significant and fundamental element, so Zulal’s team will include TAIM principles in their wellness-inspired cuisine using traditional Arabian superfoods including figs, dates, camel milk and olives—embracing the ‘food as medicine’ approach in preparing delectable meals to support guests’ health and well-being,” Campbell said.
As for its design, the resort is located in the private coastal region of Khasooma to the north of Qatar, with architecture that takes inspiration from biophilia, utilizing natural materials and elements of its coastal desert setting.
“The distinctive vernacular design and architecture, which resembles a sprawling village assembled around large lagoons, was conceived and inspired by the integration of natural elements—land, sea and shelter—to promote wellness while still staying true to the Qatari landscape,” Campbell said. “The narrative is in part inspired by memories of sea-bound travelers finding welcoming shelter in local villages.”
She added, “The design aims to strengthen guests’ connection to the environment and draw on the salubrious benefits of the natural world; reduced stress, blood pressure levels and heart rate, while increasing creativity and overall well-being.”
The name Zulal means “purified water,” which the design nods to through its incorporation of earth tones accented by coastal blue hues, light and airy interiors, lagoons and ponds.
Both Zulal Discovery and Zulal Serenity are based on this idea of sustainable wellness for all. More specifically, Zulal Discovery anticipates the needs of the modern family from interconnected rooms to age-appropriate facilities including nursery studios, family creative studios, family treatment rooms and a Family Wellness Center, Campbell said, encapsulating the belief of ‘healthy family’ and hopes to inspire wellness and sustainability for new generations.
The adjacent adult resort, Zulal Serenity, will cater to individuals, couples and small groups with access to a wide range of therapeutic and lifestyle-enhancing treatments.
“Undoubtedly the current world situation causes everyone a huge amount of stress and for some this may manifest in the form of depression, anxiety, grief and human disconnection,” Campbell said. “Lockdowns restrict physical activity, as do air pollutants, social and safety concerns and even weather changes. Physical wellness and movement are important keys to improving mental health as parts of a cycle that reinforces itself. Being in a resort or a new environment creates a moment for guests to reset that cycle and introduce a new pattern.”