130-year-old Hotel Nippon refurbished and now open

0504Hotel Nippon was one of the oldest first five hotels in Sri Lanka which is the main landmark of Slave Island, Colombo 2, is 130 years old. It started as a mansion apartment complex during Colonial era,

Nippon, one of the oldest buildings in the vicinity, is now open for business and has undergone a complete renovation; whilst maintaining the old exterior, the interior is all brand new, apart from a few ornamental and iconic pieces from its past.

Hotel Nippon has undergone a complete facelift and change of status. It has been given the care and attention that any heritage property deserves. The investment towards its renovation has amounted close to Rs. 400 m. This restoration of the building was not easy, it took two years, but it was worth the time and effort, as it has completely changed the status and standards of the hotel.

The building was first built as Manning Mansions, apartments for the British during their rule. It was then converted to Hotel Polski briefly and then Hotel Nippon. Since the civil unrest in the 1980s and the subsequent war that followed, the hotel had fallen into a state of dormancy and mismanagement. However, since the end of the war in 2009 and the following tourism boom, it was blatantly time to put in work to the once glorious Hotel Nippon and revive its true standards.

It is owned by four brothers, V.K. Chandrasena, V.K. Vasan, Dr. V.K. Vasan and late V.K.  Prasannan (all sons of the late Mr. Vethody Kumaran). Dr. Vasan spearheaded the renovation and refurbishment and has undergone more than a few sleepless nights in an effort to restore Hotel Nippon back to its former “glorious” standards.

The hotel aims to cater to a completely new demographic and is equipped and designed to receive guests with various needs, including medical tourists, budget travelers looking for a more sophisticated level of accommodation, the business tourist for location of the hotel is very central and 10-15 minutes away from the central business district and other major venues and institutions in the city and it has 49 bedrooms.

They have maintained some key elements of the building’s history, like the 130-year-old burma teak staircases that run through two areas of the building and the 130-year-old antique Seth Thomas grandfather clock.

The iron beams that run through the skeletal structure of the building are all still in place since the time Nippon was first built as Manning Mansions and in fact have embossed seals on them that state their factory of origin – all from England during the mid-1800s (19th Century). All though these are not visible right now, they are very much restored and still what keeps this magnificent building intact at its core.

Even though a lot has changed since its inception, and even though the initial theme and food styles may have altered over time, there’s one thing that has remained rock solid and unchanged – the recipe of its Nippon Rolls, especially the Nippon Mutton Rolls.

It has been overwhelming to hear the stories that have been relayed over the last couple of months. People get absolutely nostalgic and swear that the first bite of the Mutton Roll just takes them decades back into their past, to some of their fondest memories. Almost all the stories begin with “When I was a kid…” and end with “…I am so happy that these rolls are back.” It is impossible to describe how touching it is to hear these stories and how lucky the family feels to be a part of this legacy that their Grandfather, the late Vethody Kumaran, left behind, which they say is truly amazing.

The KAFÉ focuses on providing the best quality at the quoted price range. All its items (including bread) are made in-house and there are two Chefs from Kerala, who provide Kerala snacks and meals to the gradually expanding menu. It also is ideal for the executives and corporates working around the area as it hosts an executive lunch buffet throughout the work week while special promotions and deals will be on offer from time to time.

See website http://www.hotelnipponcolombo.com/ for more information.07

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/599249/130-year-old-Hotel-Nippon-refurbished-and-now-open#sthash.JoS2j14N.dpuf

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