Step into the shoes of a master sleuth like Sherlock Holmes as you dive into the captivating world of mystery-solving through Escape Rooms!
With its chain of 25 centres across India, the Escape Rooms – also known as Mystery Rooms – gives you the opportunity to solve a puzzle with its varied themed setups. You can dig out the detective in you to solve a crime, discover the killer or break out from a prison at these Mystery Rooms.
Our team at Animation Xpress recently embarked on a thrilling escapade at the Mystery Rooms in Mumbai where we got the chance to play Cabin in the Woods game. In an illuminating conversation, Sapna Bhutani, one of the visionary founders behind this enthralling venture, shared the intriguing journey of Mystery Rooms and offered a glimpse into their ambitious future endeavours.
The origins of Mystery Rooms trace back to the creative minds of Sapna Bhutani, Shikir Bhutani, and Prateek Panjwani, who, despite pursuing distinct professional paths, united to forge something extraordinary. Prior to starting the first branch of Mystery Rooms in 2014 at Rajouri Garden, Delhi, the three of them researched a lot and brought to life the physical format of Mystery Rooms. As an experiment, they created the first themed room – The Hurt Locker, which was a bomb defuse challenge. After its success, they added more themed rooms in Rajouri Garden centre and after months of research, they opened a new branch in Gurgaon the same year.
To sustain in the business, the company employs unique yet relatable themes for their rooms. As per Bhutani, “the creation of a themed room is not an easy process. It takes a lot of brainstorming and R&D on a regular basis.” Apart from R&D, a lot goes into the infrastructure side of the creation process, she explained. “Most of the themed rooms have a certain relevance to the popular Hollywood films, for instance Harry Potter.”
As of yet, Mystery Rooms do not offer virtual reality (VR) as a complete package, “but we have a part of it in the games which we offer,” Bhutani shared. “A game in our Hyderabad branch is partly dependent on augmented reality (AR). Currently we are not applying AR or VR as a whole but in some games, this technology might be used to solve a particular puzzle.”
Most of the people experience the Escape Rooms physically. But the company offers an online experience as well, wherein people can enjoy the theme and test their investigative skills while sitting at home. The online concept, which was started by the company during the Covid-19 pandemic, is still available.
As a marketing strategy for growth, Mystery Rooms started hosting birthday parties, movie launches, Kitty parties and corporate events at its branches. Soon, they started receiving positive responses from kids as well as adults who tried the various-themed rooms. This encouraged the company to venture into the cafe business with Masquerade Cafe in 2018. “We noticed that after playing in a themed room, the people visiting Mystery Rooms with their friends and family wished to spend more time with them while having food or drinks,” said Bhutani. So they added Masquerade Cafe in the same venue. At present, Masquerade Cafe is available in three Indian cities – Lucknow, Hyderabad and Jaipur. These outlets made with Mystery Rooms-styled decor, offer multi-cuisine dishes. The company has plans to open Masquerade Cafe in all the cities where the Mystery Rooms are currently available.
The founders have more in store as well. “We are planning to add more game rooms on a regular basis,” Bhutani revealed. “The vision is to make every room better than the last one and keep adding the “Wow” factor so that the people keep coming back.”
“We intend to expand to more Tier-II cities before starting a setup abroad. We want to have branches in all the cities of India. We want to make Mystery Rooms available to people just like Cinema Halls. It has to be a go-to place where people can indulge themselves as well as have fun.”