Ruth Werner – The Swiss roots of Somatheeram!
Sometimes it is simply many, small coincidences that add up to something big.
This is also the case with the founding story of Somatheeram. Ruth Werner is one of the formative people without whom the Somatheeram would not have existed.
From the idea to the decision: The foundation of the Somatheeram
At the end of the 1980s, Polly Mathew and Tresa Polly, the founders of Somatheeram and Ruth Werner, daughter of the Swiss hoteliers Walter and Elisabeth Märky, met in Germany.
This was the beginning of a long and intergenerational friendship between the two families.
Ruth Werner was looking for a good Ayurveda clinic in India for her first Ayurveda cure.
Polly Mathew and Tresa Polly, both avid Ayurveda enthusiasts themselves, pursued the idea of establishing India’s first Ayurveda resort:
Authentic Ayurveda nestled in a tropical garden and oceanfront location.
At that time, few were familiar with the Ayurvedic philosophy of healthy living outside of India. The Ayurveda centers in the hinterland of Kerala were medically good Ayurveda clinics. However, they did not meet the demands of spa guests in terms of accommodations and spa atmosphere.
After Ruth’s first Ayurveda trip to India, organized by Polly Mathew, the idea had turned into a decision: Polly Mathew and his family would establish Somatheeram, India’s first Ayurveda resort, and Ruth Werner would support and guide the process!
End of the 80s – Ruth Werner with Polly Matthew and Tresa Polly,
together with their youngest son and a friend.
Ruth’s work and influence on the Somatheeram – Philosophy:
Ruth’s history and experience in the hotel industry make her an ideal supporter of Somatheeram: Her parents were owners of the traditional Hotel St. Steffani in St. Moritz. Ruth made her own experiences in the hotel business, among others in London, Paris, Florence, Andorra, Allgäu and on Jersey. With her brother Moritz Märky, Ruth took over the management of the exclusive 2nd generation family hotel from her parents in 1954. The Hotel Steffani is one of the oldest and most exclusive hotels in the world spa resort of St. Moritz and is now managed by the fourth generation.
The experience Ruth brought to the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort still influences us today. The idea of designing the Somatheeram as a spa resort with individual bungalows in traditional Kerala architecture is largely due to her influence. Also, two of our most popular Kerala houses, Jeeva Jyothi and Illam, were designed and built according to Ruth’s ideas.
But also our claim to offer authentic Ayurveda in a natural and relaxing vacation ambience is based on Ruth’s ideas.
Many of our re-bookers will certainly remember Ruth and the times and conversations they shared with her at Somatheeram: Since the founding of Somatheeram, Somatheeram was Ruth’s second home. She enjoyed spending several months a year at the Kerala house Illam, with a direct view of the sea and Somatheeram’s palm garden. Today it is Ruth’s sons, grandchildren and nieces who follow in her footsteps and visit Somatheeram as an oasis of rest and remembrance.
The roots of Somatheeram are thus, strictly speaking, not only German-Indian, but German-Swiss-Indian!
Ruth Werner passed away on 30.11.2022 in the presence of her family.
We thank Ruth for her work and the innumerable positive conversations, which made us today with what the conception of our founders and also Ruth’s conception of an Ayurveda center was:
A place of rest and recovery that at the same time reflects the diversity and beauty of Kerala!
In loving memory of a life well-lived: Thank you for your being and work, Ruth. Rest in Peace.
Family Polly Mathew & Tresa Polly and Management Somatheeram