Cinnamon’s city hotels and Nature Trails launch ‘Colombo City Excursions’


Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Head of Eco Tourism and Nature Trails Chitral Jayatilake


Cinnamon’s City Hotels Cinnamon Grand Colombo, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo and Cinnamon Red in collaboration with the Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts wildlife and adventure tourism arm Nature Trails have launched ‘Colombo City Excursions’, activities that wrap unique experiences in and around Colombo for travelers interested in discovering the city’s unknown sights and sounds.
Masked by the hustle and bustle, whizzing vehicles and an ever expanding skyline, the city holds a wealth of adventure in every nook and corner. The latest Cinnamon collaboration puts the spotlight on these wonders through a number of exploration tours. Designed by travel experts, the tours cover culture, history, nature, food, architecture and the island’s multi-ethnicity. The tour packages also promote the idea that one can witness Sri Lanka’s diversity in the city.
Nature tours 
Two nature-based excursions have been launches; a bird watching excursion to the Thalangama Lake and a river cruise down the Kelani River.
The Thalangama Lake hosts a variety of birds, insects and mammals and is one of Colombo’s best wetland habitats. This trek is planned out around two small lakes where guests can witness an array of birds and insects in their natural habitat. The urban wetland is also one of the best places to spot the endemic purple faced leaf monkey. An influx of migratory birds can be found here from November through to March.
For the Kelani River cruise, the longest river in Sri Lanka; one can choose a three-hour long cruise along the river up to the Historical Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya or a cruise along the Hamilton Canal up to the Negombo Lagoon. Flowing from the Sri Pada Mountain Range to Colombo, the cruise captures parts of Colombo’s scenic beauty amidst tranquility and quietude.

Architectural tour 
The architectural tour consists of visiting Colombo’s spectacular buildings, some of which were erected during Colonial times. Places of visit include the Old Parliament (1930), Galle Face Hotel (1864), Independence Square (1948), Race Course (1839), Dutch Hospital (1681), Town Hall (1927), Galle Face Green (1856), Old Colombo Light House (1829), Colombo Light House (1952), Grand Oriental Hotel (1870) and the Cargills building (1844). The tour will shed light on design transformation that took place during the rule of the Dutch and the English. A shopping spree in Colombo’s core commercial district, Pettah is also part of the expedition.

Religious and historic tours 
Two tours cover the historical and ethnic diversity of the country; one is a stopover at sites of religious worship of the four major religions practiced in Sri Lanka, and the other is a trip to the Bellanvila temple to admire the murals that decorate the Shrine Hall. It also includes visits to St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, Red Mosque in Pettah, Kovil on Vauxhall Street, the Gangarama Temple and the Seema-Malakaya in Colombo 2. As part of the tour, a stop at the Colombo National Museum has also been arranged to further educate guests on Sri Lanka’s rich history.
The second tour includes visits to the Bellanvilla temple, for its shrine hall with beautiful murals and unique styles of painting and drawing by artist, Somabandu Vidyapathi who was 67 years of age when he took upon the work in 1990. He was 75 by the time he completed the murals in 1998. His creativity can be seen in an area of 4,632 sq ft of walls. Adding to the historic value is the temple’s sacred Bodhi-tree, which is believed to be one of the 32 saplings that sprang from the sacred Bodhi-tree in Anuradhapura, which was planted in the 3rd century BC.
Sri Lanka’s rice and curry is loved world over for the careful play of fragrant spices. Cinnamon Grand’s village in the city Nuga Gama serves authentic Sri Lankan cuisine from various parts of the country. The ‘food’ aspect of the expedition will be created here, with the ‘ammés’ sharing their secrets of cooking with guests, giving them a one-of-a-kind introduction to local fare. A plant tour is also part of the package, where guests will be able to walk among the medicinal plants that are grown in the Nuga Gama compound and used for cooking.
This is just the beginning. Once operations are under way, the number of excursion packages will increase to cover more areas of interest. The packages can be tailor-made for groups to incorporate two or three of the above.
As a hospitality chain that takes pride in culture, tradition and all things Sri Lankan, the move to create memorable experiences within the city for guests is looked on as an opportunity to open up the country’s mesmerising diversity to the world and enhance the lifestyle experiences of city tourists. Mainly promoted with the in-house guests and tour groups, these packages can also be purchased by anyone with a penchant for curiosity and discovery
John Keells Holdings Executive Vice President and Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Sector Head-City Hotels Rohan Karr assured that the partnership between the Cinnamon’s city hotels and Nature Trails will only grow from strength to strength, to include a host of activities that are both out-of-the-box and educative.
“We are at a very exciting juncture in Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry. There is constant evolution and transformation, etching exhilarating chapters each day. In our vision to grow as a brand that truly embraces Sri Lanka and all it offers, I believe initiatives such as this is key. With the partnership forged, we are filling a void that would promote both the brand as well as the country,” Karr said.
“The profile of guests staying at city hotels, mainly comprise businessmen and professionals. Leisure experiences are generally associated outside of Colombo,” he continued. “However, even the corporate travelers staying for shorter periods now have an opportunity to discover the city’s diverse attractions. These customisable packages have been created keeping in mind the needs of travelers’ that are in the city for a shorter stay and have a limited time-frame.”
Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Head of Eco Tourism and Nature Trails Chitral Jayatilake added that as a part of their efforts to promote the country’s distinctive beauty and age-old charm, the Colombo City Excursions will continue to come up with more tours and packages in the future. He explained, “These are but a few packages at introductory level. On the drawing board is a list of tours that are bound to be more exciting than the previous. We are working hard to build excursions that anyone would love to experience; not just once, but many times over.”
Affordably priced, the packages can be reserved through Cinnamon Rangers who will be stationed at the Cinnamon’s City properties.




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