Suriya Luxury Resort, a marvel of Asia opens

The super luxury Suriya Resort a five star plus Rs 900 million hotel was officially bestowed upon leisure lovers after a trial period of two months, said Suriya Luxury Resort (Pvt) Chairman Eric Suriyasena at a gala reception party thrown to over 700 guests in which more than 80 % were travel agents and hoteliers on Friday.

The service of the best staff trained around the world including Tyrell Wasalathanthrie, Executive Chef who is the President of the Chefs Guild and Janaka Withanapathirane, Pastry Chef trained in France, Sweden and Germany. The other staff too is well experienced with lots of exposure, selected from the best hotels in Sri Lanka to give the best service. Suriyasena said the guests who stayed at Suriya Resort during the trial period were so overwhelmed with the quality of the food, service, rooms, environment and atmosphere that they had made it a point to visit the hotel several times during period of two months. Also in the comments made on TripAdvisor too by guests, they have rated Suriya as the best in Sri Lanka.

The luxury resort hotel consists of six water bungalows which is a first in Sri Lanka and 56 keys out of which 42 are deluxe rooms and 14 suites. Another unique feature is that the gym and pub/restaurant too being constructed on water.Suriyasena said Basil Rajapaksa, Economic Development Minister termed Suriya as the best hotel he had seen in terms of layout and architecture participating as the Chief Guest. The Chairman commended his son Nilan Suriyasena for his contribution in achieving such brilliance in interior and architecture of the resort. He said his second son Ninesh Suriyasena, was the finance guy who sourced finances for the hotel and his third son provided consultation. They all received the accolades of Minister Basil Rajapaksa, he said.

Suriyasena recalled that at the time of purchase of the 11 acre land one fourth of it was covered with coconut plantation; the rest comprised a prawn farm and a huge pit. He said it was an enormous task to develop the property in an environmentally friendly manner to what it is now by bringing earth from outside and plantings thousands of tress to make it eco friendly that took a period of two and a half years. This hotel features water garden and art with a panoramic view of the sea, river and nature.

Another specialty is that teak and Kumbuk wood has been preliminarily used instead of cement structures to make the place environment friendly and also to give a real taste of Sri Lankan architecture. Even the restaurant doors and windows were made using local architecture sans cement blocks. The kitchen too is a unique open kitchen with a food spread that could not be found anywhere in Sri Lanka. Even Minister Basil Rajapaksa had acknowledged it to be the best spread, he said. Suriyasena appreciated the helping hand given by General Manager Lal Dissanayake in upgrading the property uplifting the management of the hotel and maintain the quality of food and service.

The hotel targets a high end clientele from Germany, UK, Europe and all other countries from Asia and the Middle East. Another spectacle of Suriya Resort is that guests from round the world could witness the Negombo and the Cultural Trangle cultures and atmosphere in the very same place in just a 20 minute journey from the airport.

With tourism booming another 14 water bungalows with a spar over water has been planned for next year.

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Colombo City Centre plans landmark apartment, hotel and lifestyle shopping mall complex

Colombo City Centre is in the forefront of the dynamic changes transforming Colombo into one of the world’s most exciting and picturesque cities. Centrally located and representing the best of Sri Lanka with an innovative design inspired by rich cultural heritage, Colombo City Centre envisages to be a brilliant new landmark in the heart of the city.

CCC Rendering View
The residences at Colombo City Centre are fully appointed and contemporary designed spacious, luxury apartments which offer an exceptional investment opportunity and the best of modern urban living in a truly out of the ordinary lifestyle. Inspired by the uplifting visual experience of overlooking the beautiful Beira Lake and a panoramic view of the city and coastline, every apartment offers a serene and spacious environment to enjoy the ever changing scenes in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

The residents of the apartments are free to enjoy all the star class facilities offered by Next Hotel Colombo. From the infinity pool surrounded by lush tropical plants and wooden pool deck, to the state-of-the-art gym, luxury spa, elegant cocktail bar, the Lennons Restaurant & Bar, meeting and banquet facilities, multifunction rooms and a hi-tech business centre in addition to the international food court, lifestyle shopping mall, supermarkets and 3D Cineplex. For the first time in Sri Lanka the residents of the apartments will enjoy a unique ‘keyless’ entry facility operated through a mobile phone.

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s top tourist destinations with tourist arrivals growing rapidly year after year. The vibrant economy is also attracting more global investment with large numbers of foreign businessmen visiting Sri Lanka. The Next Hotel with 200 rooms will be a star class hotel catering to the needs of the business traveller as well as holiday makers. In addition to star class requirement the hotel will feature unique ‘keyless’ entry to the rooms through the mobile phone. The Next Hotel is the flagship brand of Silver Needle Hospitality, and the first such hotel to be launched in Asia, after Australia.
The Lifestyle Shopping Mall at Colombo City Centre spanning 230,000 square feet and located on 5 floors is conceived to create the first international standard mall and a unique retail experience for Sri Lankans. It will showcase the most desired local and international brands and provide a vital hub for the community and a place where children and parents can come and relax and enjoy themselves. It will also consist of a food court with local and international cuisine, a 3D Cineplex, games and recreational activities.

Colombo City Centre is a joint venture project between Abans and Silver Needle Hospitality. The lead designer of this project is Aedas, an award winning global architecture firm. Gensler, the world’s biggest collaborative design firm is responsible for the interior of the hotel and residencies. SN Property, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silver Needle Hospitality is managing the execution of the project and international award-winning Project Management and Construction Consultants Gleeds Hooloomann are the Project Managers while Hong Kong based Husband Retail Consulting is responsible for retail planning and securing tenants for the lifestyle mall.


Jetwing Vil Uyana wins LCC Environmental Award 2014

Sri Lanka’s premier hospitality brand Jetwing was once again recognised for its novel approach to environmental luxury design and sustainable hospitality at the LCC (Lufthansa City Center) General Assembly Awards held in Dubai, U.A.E. on 29 November.

Jetwing Vil Uyana, a flagship property of the brand and listed by National Geographic Traveler in their Best Ecolodges of the World issue in 2013, was adjudged winner of the Environmental Award, which honours the best idea for a sustainable usage of natural resources with the aim to strengthen the awareness for environmentally supporting activities.
The Awards were open to LCC’s whole network, to 650 offices in 87 countries, with Jetwing joining the network in mid-2014 and attending the awards for the very first time. The victory completes an amazing year for Jetwing Vil Uyana, which won the Environmental Award at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council) along with its second PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Grand Award in 2014.
Set over an expanse of just over 24 acres, Jetwing Vil Uyana represents the rich potential in sustainable and eco-friendly destinations. Formerly an abandoned land used for sporadic agriculture, Jetwing transformed the property into a man-made wetland featuring two lakes and 30 individual dwellings over distinct habitats such as Water, Forest, Paddy, Marsh and Garden.
Over the years, the resort went on to be home to a variety of flora and fauna, such as the elusive loris, and also counts 20 species of mammals, 112 species of birds, 36 species of butterflies, and 35 species of amphibians and reptiles. Nature is highly respected, and provided ample space to flourish – with three acres being designated as a loris conservation site, the first in the country.
“The Jetwing family from the very beginning has been committed towards the environments in which we operate,” said Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing. “Jetwing Vil Uyana is certainly one of a kind, and it is a great honour indeed to be recognised at the first-ever LCC Awards after we joined the network. This award is not only a victory for Jetwing Vil Uyana, but also catapults the rich offering of Sri Lanka and its potential,” he continued.
The Lufthansa City Center (LCC) travel agency franchise is an affiliation of travel agency entrepreneurs, combining the flexibility and expertise of independent and IATA-licensed travel agencies with a complete service portfolio and world-wide recognition of its brand and its products.
With 650 LCC partners in 87 countries around the world, the network and brand has seen rapid growth since its introduction into the market in 1991. LCC ranks among the leading industry players internationally and its continuous success over the past 20 years of the company’s development is proof of the integrity of the Lufthansa City Center concept and stability. LCC members around the world turn over some EUR 5 billion per year.


Times UK names all three Uga Escapes hotels to Top Twenty

One of the world’s most respected newspapers, the Timesof London, has named all three of Uga Escapes’ currently active properties to a list of the Top Twenty boutique hotels in Sri Lanka.

The article, which appeared in the paper’s ‘Destinations’ section recently, lavishes praise on Uga Escapes’ acclaimed boutique properties, which have already won numerous industry awards, as well as certificates of excellence earlier this year from the trusted consumer review web site TripAdvisor.
Uga Bay at Passekudah is described in theTimes article as ‘a fusion of tropical and Mediterranean architecture’ with beach views from every room, while Jungle Beach at Kuchchaveli, north of Trincomalee, earns a bouquet for its ‘treehouse feel’ and luxurious ‘rustic-chic rooms designed like jungle cabins’. The latter, which World Luxury Hotel Awards in its July 2014 called the best hideaway resort on the shores of the Indian Ocean, is also the most complete architectural expression to date of Uga Escapes’ commitment to sustainability and oneness with nature.

The same ethos is also on display at Ulagalle, the firstand flagship property of Uga Escapes, set amidst deep rural countryside at the heart of Sri Lanka’s ‘cultural triangle’, the heartland of the island’s ancient kings, where ruined temples and monuments dominate a landscape of paddy-fields and lush forests. At Ulagalla, where wild peacocks roam the hotel grounds and exotic tropical songbirds call from every tree, the Times praised the ‘elegant suites with a contemporary colonial design’ and the chance to ‘get up close’ to the wildlife and exotic birds that roam its 58-acre grounds.
The birds of Ulagalla and its sister resorts were, in fact, recently the subject of a book by the well-known Sri Lankan ornithologist, which was published by Uga Escapes. ‘Birds of Uga’ features 92 species, with colour photographs, descriptions and space for spotters’ notes.

UgaEscapes seems to be on a roll these days: being featured in the London Times is just one of a string of recent achievements for the all-Sri Lankan-owned company. In early 2015, it will open its first city hotel, ‘Residence’, a restored and remodelledcolonial mansion at Park Street, Colombo. With other attractive properties scheduled to open in the south of the country in the near future, it will soon be possible for a visitor to explore all of Sri Lanka while sleeping every night in the luxurious, close-to-nature ambience of an UgaEscapes hotel.

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Luxury Green Hotel Award 2014 for Colombo Courtyard

The World’s Luxury Hotel Awards which is the pinnacle of achievement for luxury hotels worldwide selected one of Sri Lanka’s top business boutique hotels, Colombo Courtyard for the very first time a continent winner of the ‘Luxury Green Hotel’ award of the Indian Ocean in 2014. Awards are presented to luxury hotels in different categories on a country, continent and global basis.

The award is unique as it has to be voted in by tour operators, travel agents and hotel guests and then the final judges’ selection process takes form due to the entrenched competitiveness of the category. This makes the award very special for Sri Lanka expressed, Arun Thapar, owner of this urban boutique hotel, Colombo Courtyard.
Colombo Courtyard has taken necessary steps to be a carbon free hotel from day one of operations. Colombo Courtyard’s theme is built upon being an environmentally friendly hotel and with further initiatives of CarbonNeutral so that they would contribute to offsetting a small part of our Global warming challenges, in its own way. Colombo Courtyard has measured its Carbon Footprint for the period from January 2013 to December 2013 in accordance with the internationally recognised GHG protocol published by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
This independent assessment was conducted by the Carbon Consulting Company. The assessment quantified the hotel’s carbon footprint under three scopes. Scope one measured direct emissions released from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, including corporate car fleets, captive power generation facilities, or fuel combustion for heat which amounted to 18%.

Scope two measured indirect emissions associated from the generation of imported energy carriers such as electricity, heat and steam with a staggering 47.8%. Scope three measured all other indirect emission sources that are not released from sources mentioned under scope one and two which equates to 33.3% typically including business travel, waste disposal and outsourced activities.
All efforts that had been made by them to be recognised as a Sustainability Hotel, which has shown the way for them to achieve the accolade of being Asia’s first CarbonNeutral® City Hotel back in March 2014, which now has lead Colombo Courtyard to be the proud winner of the award, ‘Luxury Green Hotel’ stepping up to another level in their accomplishments thus far. Managing Director Arun Thapar went on to say that Colombo Courtyard was also the ‘First Luxury Business Hotel – Country Winner’ awarded by World Luxury Hotel Award in 2013.

Colombo Courtyard is centrally situated in the city which has easy access to all
the various attractions in the city like the Natural History Museum, the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa’s former residence, and of course the latest shopping arcade in independence square which is a must see, along with numerous other handicraft shops in Colombo.
Colombo Courtyard though a small Luxury, Boutique hotel supports various outlets like the Cloud Cafe, which encapsulates dining up in the stars on a starry night which is quite popular and frequented by discerning visitors who love the ambience and the food. Then the industrially themed Loft Lounge Bar, which has earned a reputation of serving up of delicious, award winning cocktails to tantalise those taste buds. The Scarlet Room, which offers some authentic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, where the Pappardelle Pasta and obviously all the original sauces are freshly prepared to tantalise your palate!
Amber spa at Colombo Courtyard being one of the last Spa’s to join the fray in the recent years, and has now gathered massive appeal as only few of them can boast of the Hot Stone Therapy carried out by our qualified Balinese therapist who administer more than just this, to a most relaxing aromatherapy session to unwind after a stressful day!

Most recently Sri Lankan Airlines has entered into a partnership with Colombo Courtyard, to offer its members a host of exciting offers and benefits. With this partnership, Fly Smiles members will now have the opportunity to earn miles for stays, Amber Spa treatments and dining at the Colombo Courtyard. The Colombo Courtyard Hotel is certainly leading the way to create new standards in the boutique hotel sector, which even other hoteliers are talking about.
The Awards account for over 50 categories in the luxury hotel industry and include amongst others Luxury Private Island Resorts, Casino Hotels, City Hotels, and Lodges. Award winners raised the bar of service delivery within the industry ever since as some of the world’s top hotels including brands such as Swissôtel, Inter Continental, Hilton, Kempinski, Anantara & Mövenpick Hotels compete annually to receive top honours. Over 1,000 hotels from 145 countries were nominated to participate in the world’s most prestigious Awards initiative for luxury hotels in 2014.
Winners are purely judged on service delivery and effective management voted for by International tour operators, travel agents and hotel guests who get the opportunity to cast their valuable votes annually, making the process fair and unbiased.
It is believed that World Luxury Hotel Awards category winners would serve as an inspiration to nominees and other luxury properties on the global front to raise their levels of service delivery in order to feel comfortable in competing on an international level and to set a benchmark for themselves.
Participation in the World Luxury hotel Awards encourages exclusivity and uniqueness, critical indicators that truly define a luxury hotel.
Achievements by Colombo Courtyard will go a long way to promote sustainable tourism in the country which was at one time looked down upon by the industry.

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Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya wins 2014 Gold Circle Award, one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group, has announced the winners of its prestigious 2014 Gold Circle Awards, given to accommodations around the world that embody the best qualities of the online hospitality industry.

The Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya has won the 2014 Gold Circle Award for the second time since we received the same in 2012.
Now in its sixth year, the Gold Circle Awards are presented to properties based on aggregate customer reviews, competitiveness of pricing, utilisation of’s custom-built Yield Control System (YCS), and a deep understanding of the complexities of the online booking industry.
The hotel was also highlighted as one of the best places to visit in 2012 by National Geographic channel.
In recent times the Hotel has made remarkable progress in enhancing the guest experience by making some innovative and timely additions to satisfy the evolving needs of its customer profile. These additions have resulted in the resort gaining high ratings on feedback sites on the internet, and more importantly has positioned the Grand Hotel as a must visit to every visitor to Nuwara Eliya, be it for an authentic cup of Ceylon Tea or an exquisitely crafted meal at one of the many restaurants.







The Coffee Bar, adjacent to the hugely popular Grand Indian is the most recent addition to the Grand experience, where an array of specialty Coffees accompanied by freshly made savories and crisp Pizzas awaits you. Opened in November this year, this classy café operates in partnership with Nacha Coffee, the award winning brand from  Thailand, and is fast becoming a hot spot, attracting both the young and not so young.

The Tea Lounge continues to attract the connoisseurs of the islands most famous beverage with Dilmah offering it’s repertoire of skillfully blended teas, while the Grand Indian and the recently opened Grand Thai offer authentic cuisine painstakingly dished out by two expatriate chefs from India and Thailand.
The very first day of the festive month of December saw yet another first at the Grand. A wood-fired oven, flown in from Italy now turns out pizzas like no other at the Tea Lounge.
No stay in Nuwara Eliya is complete without at least a glimpse of the grand outdoors of this hill station. The Resident Naturalists of the hotel will be only too happy to accompany you on one or two of the many walks and treks showcasing the pristine beauty and exciting flora and fauna of the region.
With many special events and programs for both children and adults lined up, christmas time at the Grand promises to be a warm and delightful affair, with kids parties, theme nights, the cookie huts,  carols and Santa all there to celebrate this special time of year. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Dinner is when our Chefs hold nothing back and present a fare which is probably the biggest buffet spread out side Colombo, with over 200 items on offer.
The Grand Hotel stands today as a premier property offering nothing but best for its discerning customers and will continue to create value and grow in the coming months and years.


Taking hospitality to new heights

Institute of Hospitality unveils their latest plan to align tourism professionals with industry goals

By Senuri De Silva
The Sri Lankan chapter of the Institute of Hospitality has plans to develop the human resources required to meet the needs of the tourism industry, which is showing rapid growth.
This announcement, which also listed events that are scheduled to be held next year, was made at an occasion held in Colombo last Friday.
The Institute of Hospitality is an internationally recognised institute with a 75-year history and while bring rooted in the UK, it can now claim activity in over 100 countries around the world.
While welcoming members from all sectors of the hospitality industry, the institute opens up many opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing among stakeholders in the industry. Membership covers students, associates, full members and fellow members.
The development of manpower in the hospitality sector needs to go hand-in-hand with the development of tourism and increase of foreign investments as more international hotel chains open branches in Sri Lanka.








Institute Chairman Sidath Kodikara pointed this out, saying: “The Government of Sri Lanka has identified tourism as a lucrative source of foreign exchange and accordingly it has become a necessity that we concentrate on increasing the accommodation capacity to serve tourists with better knowledge and awareness that is on par with international standards. The Institute of Hospitality, together with the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, has identified the need to focus on aligning tourism professionals in the industry with these macro goals.”

Institute of Hospitality Treasurer Eraj Abeywardena added: “By attracting foreign investors, especially with large hotel chains opening their properties in Sri Lanka, we can accelerate the development process. The state initiative to introduce leisure management as a prime subject in schools and universities is another encouraging move towards addressing the shortage of trained and professional staff in the industry.”

The institute has also been active in developing the wealth of human resource, taking their workshops, seminars and training programs to stakeholders in various parts of the country. Workshops and seminars have been held in Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bentota and Negombo, with plans to include workshops in Jaffna to next year’s rotation as well.
They covered subjects such as supervisory training, the enhancement of culinary skills among food and beverage professionals and continuous professional development for bartenders. Participants at these events benefit from training conducted by specialists from around the world and receive a valuable certificate attesting to this fact.

The focal point of each event calendar is the Chairman’s Black Tie Dinner, a glamorous six-course dinner which was held in October 2014. The 2015 dinner will be held around September and provide valuable opportunities for networking and fellowship among industry collaborators.
In addition to this, another highlight of 2015 will be the much-anticipated annual international conference, with the participation of renowned local and foreign industry experts.
Furthermore, the institute has held workshops on awareness of modern tourism for A/L students, with the hope of generating interest in the industry among schoolchildren by informing them of its potential career opportunities.







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