The principal designer behind the six beautiful Roseate hotels and resorts around the world, Smriti Bhatia is a reflection of the Zen-like spaces she creates. Her favoured palette of neutral shades and ability to create a cocoon of serenity in the middle of a city, all echo her calm demeanour. Bhatia’s latest venture, The Roseate Ganges, a luxe retreat in Rishikesh was conceptualized in collaboration with Studio Organon, a New Delhi-based design and architecture company. The chic hotel was awarded the Best New Resort in India in 2019 by the Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association for being the only hotel in the region that offers a plush stay experience.
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A minimalist at heart, Bhatia credits her no-frills beauty routine as the secret behind her glossy hair and glass skin. “I don’t like to use make-up on a daily basis and when I do, I apply the bare minimum—just a kajal, mascara and lipstick,” she says.
When she isn’t busy designing luxury hotels, Bhatia works on restoring heritage buildings—her second passion. Currently, she’s working on reviving New Delhi’s expansive Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the 15th-century tomb Gol Gumbad.
Here, she talks to us about all things beauty and how sustainability is a huge part of her work today:
ELLE: What are your thoughts on sustainable living?
Smriti Bhatia: More than a trend, sustainability is the need for the future. We have to work towards reducing the wastage of resources and tapping into more renewable ones. I try to do my bit by consciously switching off lights when I leave a room, using minimum water, opting for handloom fabrics and re-wear all my clothes. My interest in reviving buildings was sparked by this passion. I think we have an amazing, though easily forgotten heritage that should be restored and presented to the world in the best possible way. My dream is to make low-maintenance and self-sustaining structures.
ELLE: What does beauty mean to you?
SB: It may sound cliché, but beauty comes from the self-belief, confidence and happiness that one exudes—it’s about the complete aura a person projects.
ELLE: The best skincare advice you’ve received.
SB: My mother taught me to apply raw milk to my face every day and also henna to my hair. I really believe that’s the secret behind my good skin.
ELLE: Your ideal fragrance is…
SB: A mix of floral and woody notes or lavender. While Calvin Klein’s Eternity is an all-time favourite, right now I am using Hermès’ 24 Faubourg.
ELLE: What is your fitness routine?
SB: I don’t go to the gym, instead I do yoga to improve my physical and mental strength—it is truly a holistic form of exercise. Walking and jogging amidst nature also really relax me, so I alternate between both.
ELLE: Speaking of de-stressing, how do you manage to stay on top of your work deadlines?
SB: First, I count all my blessings. Second, I remind myself that this is a temporary phase and will soon pass. This immediately gives me a lot of strength to deal with the problem head-on. To calm my mind, I like to mentally chant the Gayatri mantra and meditate to Shirdi Sai Baba.
ELLE: Is that what helps you maintain a good work-life balance as well?
SB: A little bit of time management and organization at the beginning of the day really helps me. I list down two or three important things and plan the day accordingly. I wake up at around 6:30am; send my kids to school and then exercise. I spend the first half of the day around the hotels or at any ongoing project site. The second half is usually spent with my children, doing my work by email or attending phone calls. At the end of the day, I reflect on how I spent my day and feel satisfied when I tick things off that list.
ELLE: Three wellness destinations on your bucket list.
SB: I have never been to one, other than The Roseate Ganges in Rishikesh. I’d sure like to plan a visit to Naad Wellness in Delhi and Vana in Dehradun someday.
Photograph (Smriti Bhatia): Adil Hasan; Styling: Tejaswini Sinha; Hair and make-up: Looks Salon; Location: The Roseate, New Delhi