Archive for November, 2014


Aerial whale watching has been widely acknowledged to be the most eco-friendly, nonintrusive way to observe these majestic giants

Trekurious, in partnership with Simplifly is offering travellers to Sri Lanka the unique and exclusive opportunity to take to the skies and experience non-intrusive whale-watching.

A first-of-its-kind experience in Sri Lanka, Aerial whale-watching offers travellers the best perspective to appreciate the visual treat of entire pods of Blue Whales and Sperm Whales, as they migrate along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka from December toApril.

While Sri Lanka has many whale watching excursions by sea, environmentalists have voiced serious concern about the stress caused to the whales due to the noise and fuel pollution from the many vessels crowding popular whale watching sites. Continuing to crowd the whales with hundreds of boats in an unregulated manner will result in the animals simply moving away and to find other migratory routes.

Launched by Trekurious and Simplify with the aim of promoting responsible tourism, aerial whale watching has been widely acknowledged to be the most eco-friendly, non-intrusive way to observe these majestic giants.

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world where travelers can experience aerial whale watching, and it is an important step towards showcasing that tourism can co-exist with nature.

Operating from the Koggalla airfield, a few minutes is all that’s needed for guests to experience a unique widescreen perspective from the skies. The aerial viewpoint provided is a photographer’s dream, and the variety of marine life visible, from dolphins, to sea turtles to sting rays, is a treat for any naturalist. The return flight will take the traveller along the beautiful white beaches of Weligama. Sacred temples, vast mountainscapes and the fabulous Galle Fort are just some of the incredible sights that can be seen.

This December, Trekurious together with Simplifly gives you the chance to witness the deep blue’s most magnificent creatures from a pedestal in the sky. Take flight over Sri Lanka’s pristine southern coastline and witness a rhapsody in blue as majestic whales play on the ocean’s surface, large pods of dolphins skip in carefree frolic and sea turtles plod away in thoughtful meander. Ecofriendly and truly awe-inspiring.

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Mandara Resort and Spa Weligama nabs Golden Award

Palihawadana receiving the award from Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dullas Alahapperuma.

Mandara Resort and Spa in Weligama was awarded the “Golden Award” at the Matara Chamber of Commerce & Industry Annual Business awards. This was for the hotel’s unblemished superiority in quality assurance by considering various facts.

Managing Director, Sagara Palihawadana said that future plans for the hotel include the opening of another hotel in Nuwara Eliya in the near future.

Mandara Resort and Spa in Weligama is the second hotel project of Palihawadana, first being Mandara Rosen at Kataragama another four star luxury hotel.

In 2009 Mandara Resorts (Pvt.) Ltd, was opened as a B.O.I. company during the height of the terrorist activities to have a beach hotel to serve the customers requirement of a ‘long stay by the beach’. A land by the beach side of River Polatumodra was purchased by the Company overlooking Weligama Bay in the latter half of year 2003 for this purpose.

The hotel consisting thirty rooms of resort type with a financial cost of Rs. 350 million, approved by the Sri Lanka tourist Board , the hotel was constructed and commenced operations by the middle of year 2009.

The Resort hotel has a large open swimming pool with fiber optic lights to illuminate in the night. It was the first pool with fiber optic to be built in the South. Some rooms with their own plunge pools and others with Jacuzzis were constructed and the hotel is classified as a four star luxury boutique hotel.

In 2014 a banquet hall and another twenty rooms were added to facilitate the guests and which is presently in operation.

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Through the looking glass

The first ever Glass fronted pool in Sri Lanka and in the Asia Pacific region was unveiled to an exclusive crowd last week at the Calamander Unawatuna Beach Resort.

And it was truly a night of craziness as Chairman Roman Scott was tossed into the pool soon after his welcome address to officially inaugurate the event. Spanning a length of 25 meters with a modified, tempered and laminated 48mm glass wall, it truly takes the level of swimming in a pool to a whole new level in the country.

So, for the ones who want to take an underwater picture without getting your camera wet – well now there’s safer way of doing it.z_p33-Through02.jpg

Speaking to Roman Scott the day after the launch, he added that this is just the beginning of more to come at the hotel. “We are planning to have the biggest outdoor 2 acre Jacuzzi pool (first of a kind) and children’s swimming pool by Summer 2015.

We are also looking at introducing and building a miniature Golf course which we will extend to Kandy to continue the rest of the game”, Roman added.

This property is one of the oldest resorts in the island and it was built in 1982 with just four rooms. It was later extended to eight rooms and as Roman puts it he likes the sense of history – the story of a bunch of guys with a cool beach and property and it was the coolest place for Germans and Dutch to hang out as well. Today it boasts of 83 rooms with comforts of a 5-star standard property.

From what it was four years, the saddest of the property is that there no more a beach. There is a just pile of rock to break the z_p33-Through03.jpg

Waves, but those rocks don’t dishearten the travelers looking to unwind under the sand and hear the waves.

Calamander has set up their 680 Blu Bar which is unique in every manner. Facing the beach the guests have the chance to lounge on their big beach chairs drawing in the rays of the sun to get that perfect tan while the bar boys whip up a cool cocktail to slowly add some cool refreshment to your body. The best part is you get to enjoy one of the most gorgeous sunsets ever on a clear cloudless day when the sun slowly sinks behind the backdrop of a beautiful rock temple. In the night the bar area becomes more romantic and these lounge chairs becomes love chairs as you cuddle up next to your loved one and watch the stars and enjoy the sounds of ocean. An unlike other resorts, guests can walk into the restaurant overlooking the beautiful Una waters in their swimsuits and do not have to worry about a dress code and other rules and regulations. Their cuisine varies from the local palette of curries to the typical Italian cuisine of Pasta and even Pizza.

The pizza can be ready made then and there and guests have the opportunity to see how it’s down while sipping some hot espresso. Guests can unwind and have fun in ways possible – they can go kayaking, do some yoga with an instructor that comes there, play some tennis, badminton, volleyball and other water sports. So with this and more to come in 2015 I believe it’s time to make plans for a weekend in Unawatuna to experience the Glass wall pool and see how funky it is for yourself.

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Proprietor of Villa Mayurana Thomas Stillmann, hosted the launch of the Cinnamon Experience and officially presenting this experience to the national and international media, tour operators and an array of private guests and introducing his stunning villa and Cinnamon estate in Ahangama, Galle.

Guests at Villa Mayurana enjoy more than the Cinnamon, as breath-taking views are magnificent backdrop to this unique Cinnamon experience. Surrounded by a Cinnamon plantation, this elevated oasis is the perfect setting to discover one of Sri Lanka’s most prized exports and assets – True Cinnamon.

The Portuguese first discovered Cinnamon in Sri Lanka. They identified it as a wild tree, researching its benefits and designing a method to cultivate and harvest it. In time, Cinnamon cultivation and export became one of the prime assets as Sri Lanka produces 90 percent of the world’s supply of True Cinnamon.

While both Sri Lankans as well as tourists to Sri Lanka may enjoy the experience quickly, what few are aware of is that Sri Lanka is the only place in the world where True Cinnamon can be found. And while prices of Cinnamon rocket internationally, Sri Lanka has always appreciated Cinnamon as the curries and sweetmeats often include the use of Cinnamon as an aromatic ingredient.

This spice is used in both sweet and savoury foods, has a highly fragrant aroma and is incredibly beneficial for health and is used frequently in traditional ayurvedic remedies.

Cinnamon isn’t as well known as its tea export counterpart. Many that live and visit Sri Lanka are sure to visit tea plantations and see tea pluckers’, but Cinnamon cultivation is a very unique process, and also a scarcely known operation. It is truly a one of a kind experience that is both interesting and different.

The Cinnamon Experience isn’t just informative; it is also a hands-on experience, encouraging guests to get their hands a little dirty (or Cinnamon-y) and strip down some Cinnamon sticks for themselves. It is paired with delicious Cinnamon teas (iced or hot), and Villa Mayurana’s delicious homemade Cinnamon biscuits.

Guests booked in for a lunchtime get the chance to experience and complete their day with a carefully curated 4-course Cinnamon infused lunch.

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Hotel booking site launches with new business model for Asia

There is a new player in the competitive world of online hotel booking. Launched this week, is set to break new ground with a unique business model and a focus on business travellers across Asia and beyond.

“The online travel space is really a single landscape – it’s all mass market, discount focused and ripe for disruption,” said Kaligo Co-Founder and CEO Kyle Armstrong. Where Kaligo sets itself apart is that it is totally customer-centric; it’s all about helping customers earn thousands more airline miles or points for their hotel stay.

And with 300,000 hotels in 200 countries, there are plenty to choose from. How is Kaligo able to do this? The handful of players that dominate the landscape spend vast amounts on getting themselves noticed. Take Priceline Group. It has six online travel brands including, and KAYAK. Last year its online marketing costs surged 41% to $ 1.8 billion, outpacing sales growth of 29% and accounting for 3% of Google’s ad revenue.
As a smaller, niche player with its sights set on the business executive market, Kaligo instead invests in rewarding customers for their loyalty, passing them the savings on advertising and marketing in the form of airline miles or points: often 10,000 per night, enough for a free flight or upgrade.
And there’s no better time for an innovative company to be doing this. More SMEs are moving away from relying on travel agents and allow their staff to book their own travel. It’s this band of frequent travellers – business executives, sales representatives, those who travel regularly for work – that Kaligo is targeting.

“Most are on the road all the time. They work hard and earn their miles with their flights, but for the amount of money they spend on hotels versus flights, the rewards they get are tiny. We are looking to flip the model,” said Armstrong who was previously General Manager of Consumer Travel ASEAN for American Express. And it’s not just the SMEs. Google was one of the first big corporations to do away with a corporate travel agent, giving staff control over their own travel budget.
And Armstrong expects more multi-national companies to move in this direction. It’s easily done when the same staff already have frequent flyer accounts such as Asia Miles, JetPrivilege, AirAsia BIG or British Airways Executive Club that they can use to earn on Kaligo. With the site’s simple and intuitive design, enjoying greater rewards becomes effortless, further sweetend by an oftentimes generous first booking bonus.
Hotel searches are automatically ranked by Kaligo’s proprietary algorithm, leveraging metasearch technology to help customers find best rates and the greatest rewards value. TripAdvisor ratings complete the picture. By moving out of the mass market game and focusing on a booming niche, Kaligo is able to offer its customers much more. “We’re smaller, but at a customer level the value we offer is huge,” said Armstrong.
Established in Singapore in 2014 and with offices in London and Sydney, is changing the way travellers book accommodation online by offering greater rewards than ever before. With a specialist team, co-founders Kyle Armstrong and Sebastian Grobys who share backgrounds in travel, banking and loyalty have built a uniquely customer-centric site. Choosing from over 300,000 boutique and chain hotels at competitive rates, Kaligo customers earn thousands more miles and points, to the extent that one single booking can mean a free flight, upgrade or lifestyle treat. Partnering with world class airline and loyalty brands, Kaligo aims to deliver the broadest and best range of redemption options.

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The Theva Residency wins Agoda Gold Circle Awards 2014, 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 Theva Residency ( was the only stand alone boutique hotel in Kandy to win the award in Sri Lanka.
The awards are given to partners who are committed to accommodating the unique needs of the online booking industry, which has seen significant and steady global growth as technology continues to make online booking faster, easier and more convenient.
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. For details email or call +94 81 7388296 – 99.

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Ayurva Traveller for outstanding relaxation

By Waruni Paranagamage

‘Ayurva Traveller,’ which makes vacations outstanding while giving priority to relaxation and rejuvenation and inspiring travellers to lead happier and healthier lives, can now be experienced in Sri Lanka and Maldives and is ideal for those who seek relaxation beyond normal holidays.

Ayurva, which stands for Ayu – Life, R – Relaxation and Va – Vacation, is ideal for those who wish to detach from their busy lives and focus on themselves, to find inner-peace with meditation and grace and energy with yoga and be rejuvenated and revived with healing spa treatments, immersing themselves in endless luxuries.
Today the world wellness tourism is a $ 439 b market, which is expected to grow by around 50% to $ 678.5 b by 2017. The focus markets for Ayurva Traveller will be Japan, Turkey, China, Sri Lanka and Europe. It is estimated that an international wellness tourist spends approximately 65% more per trip than an average international tourist. Japanese and Chinese travellers are especially interested in domestic wellness tourism.
Ayurva Traveller provides an opportunity for travellers to embark on a journey where they focus on personal wellbeing, centring on the mind, body and spirit.
It is aimed at middle age individuals, female travellers, solo travellers and corporate travellers who seek luxury via mind and body cleansing and relaxed holidays.
Ayurva Traveller Managing Director Nilusha Kodithuwakku said: “We discuss with the management team and service team to offer better service. A different lifestyle is offered via yoga and meditation. We have a nice team with us.”
Kodithuwakku said that the demand for the world wellness market is growing due to the heat crisis, stress, ageing population, urbanisation, loneliness, etc. “As a result, we need to tap the market. We are looking to work with select luxury resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which are equipped to provide travellers with the necessary facilities for detoxifying and relaxation routines.”
According to Spafinder 360, research has shown that 85% of people return from vacations less rejuvenated than when they left.
Ayurva Traveller asserted the hallmark of an Ayurva Traveller experience will be customised, pre-booked packages which allow resorts to prepare better. This gives holiday-goers the liberty to completely immerse themselves in the holiday without a worry. Travellers can make their bookings online and upon arrival at the resort, will receive special value additions. Ayurva Traveller will also offer special wedding packages inclusive of resorts, photographers and photo shoot locations.
With special tailor-made packages to suit the needs of every individual, Ayurva Traveller has tied up with award-winning resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka to provide an authentic wellness holiday experience.
The travellers can experience personalised wellness programs, stress reduction programs, healing practices, programs for lifestyle changes and sleep enhancing programs in the resorts. The wellness package of the hotels includes detoxifying body massages, herbal drinking, yoga, nature walks and fitness sessions with fitness consultants on body balance.
Kodithuwakku added: “Our objective is to combine luxury travel and spiritual journeys in exotic locations with total convenience via a holistic holiday package which travellers can customise based on their preferences.”
As a social welfare initiative and a way of giving back to the community – which the traveller will also be aware and a part of – Ayurva Traveller will pledge $ 1 from every package sold to the charitable organisation Emerge Lanka Foundation, which supports underprivileged Sri Lankan girls.

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