Archive for the ‘Hotel news Sri Lanka’ Category

Eco Team unveils ‘Ahas Pokuna’


  • Sri Lanka’s first, all-suite, luxury, private bush walks camp

Diving into the history of the hill capital of Sri Lanka and the times when the Kandyan Kingdom was in uproar over the treaty signed with the British in 1815 and the subsequent breach of contract by the colonial masters, one finds the story of a family who had to withdraw to the jungles in the intermediate zone to avoid a complete massacre. With them were several loyalists and their families who created a new settlement and lived in harmony with the nature that surrounded them.

It is in this vicinity that Anuruddha Bandara; a pioneer in many tourism innovations and a fourth generation rebel descendent, created Sri Lanka’s first, all-suite, luxury, private bush walks camp, Ahas Pokuna. A lake that is fed entirely by rain waters is credited for the name of the locality, ‘Ahas’ being sky and ‘Pokuna’ being lake in the Sinhalese language. On the shores of this waterway is a wilderness retreat that allows guests to become one with nature and enjoy a tranquil holiday experience like no other.

Situated within a 2,300 hectare nature reserve, Ahas Pokuna is a 30 acre private reserve and houses three luxury suite tents complete with an arrival deck, sleeping tent, luggage and powder   lounge, a fully-fledged bathroom tent that has hot and cold water, romantic star bed/day bed for relaxation or sleep during the day or night, and the first-ever bush bath tub in Sri Lanka. All of this overlooks the grassland in the 1,000 square metres of private space protected by an elephant fence that is yours to enjoy during your stay. Ahas Pokuna is the only property in Sri Lanka that has a private star bed for each accommodation unit, making it one of the most ruggedly romantic locations to stay at.

For meals, guests need to take a short walk to the dining tent for contemporary, improvised Sri Lankan dishes that are prepared in true village style using local produce. The camp also offers outdoor dining, a highlight of wilderness living, to the light of a central campfire, accompanied by the sounds of the night. Before dinner, guests sit around the campfire with a bottle of wine and talk to the naturalists about the day’s walks or their experiences in the wild.

And what an experience it is. The camp itself can only be reached 30-minutes by foot. To ensure that guests have a true wilderness experience, the Eco Team has put together bush walks and treks that focus on wildlife that are rampant in the area.  There are many endemic and migratory birds as well. All “walks” are accompanied by experienced trekkers who know the forest paths and the best places to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. For those who dare to venture out at night, ‘night walks’ are customisable for fascinating views of the animals who come to quench their thirst at the waterhole under the cover of darkness.

Each of the camps has ample space for three persons, and the property has three such units for the moment keeping it intimate and simple. The limited accommodation also ensures maximum privacy and serenity for an undisturbed getaway. To truly experience the tranquillity of the great outdoors and bask in all that nature has to offer, Ahas Pokuna also arranges for yoga and massage sessions conducted by highly-skilled trainers and Ayurvedic treatment specialists. Established in December 2016, the bush-walks camp is another first by Eco Team who also pioneered tented safari to Sri Lanka in 1998, and introduced the first mobile hotel and first carbon neutral camp in Sri Lanka.

Source :–Ahas-Pokuna-

The secrets of Zinc Journey Sigiriya uncovered!

01Holding within her the mysteries and lore of centuries past, where dancing damsels, pools in the sky, structural wonders and resonating poetry spoke of grandeur never experienced before, the mammoth red hued colossus rises high from surrounding jungle against the tropical blue sky, every inch the queen of her environ.

This is Sigiriya, believed to have been formed from magma of an extinct volcano, the Lion Rock sitting 370 meters above sea level and home to the ingeniously crafty parricidal self-proclaimed King Kasyapa, whose eye for beauty is as synonymous as his eye for engineering.

It is within this esoteric beauty that Zinc Journey Sigiriya gazes up at the regal magnificence of a rock that remains integral to the history of this boutique property, speaking of tales past and journeys trod, ever since the British decided that this location would be their ideal home away from home.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya epitomises the artful blend of Sri Lankan hospitality with the elegance of colonial convention. It is an ideal combination that articulates the history of the Sigiriya Rest House as was its genesis and the contemporary persona gained from an international hospitality chain, whose brand philosophy for Zinc Journey is all about a ‘unique experience’. That unique experience begins no sooner a Sri Lankan welcome is bestowed upon you; a warm smile and hands clasped with ‘Ayubowan’ wishing you long life.

Enter the spacious lobby, minimalist in décor but elaborate in tasteful detail. Harboured almost secretively is a sprawling expanse of green where birds and bees regale stories as a gastronomic journey of multi-course cuisine flavoured for East or West is served with aplomb. This is where the colonialists’ love for good food and wine is well ingrained, carried forward centuries later in the very spot they may have played cards, smoked their cigars and enjoyed a hearty meal of luscious appetisers, delightful entrées, robust mains and a delectable dessert accompanied with a glass of the best. This is a canvas that Zinc Journey Sigiriya’s team of experienced chefs and highly-trained service cohort paint with style and flavour.

The comfort of the rooms knows no bounds. Delightfully cosy, each of these 20 rooms is each designed to relish the bygone architectural facet of a Sri Lankan home – the verandah, while inside, it’s luxury defined. Air-conditioned of course, the king sized beds with its Egyptian cotton bedding and linen, wall mounted LED TV and a well-appointed bathroom that expresses details of indulgence with its handcrafted toiletries reflects the allure that Zinc Journey boutique properties have garnered around the world.

But it is the magnetic charisma of that beautiful monolith that gives Zinc Journey Sigiriya the ultimate edge. From nearly everywhere in the property, the Sigiriya Rock can be seen in all its splendour. And hence it is no surprise that way before Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 from the British, colonialists scouted this beautiful little island nation in a quest for the most scenic locales in which to rest their weary heads on their travels across the length and breadth of the country.

These locations, popularly known as ‘Rest Houses’ were ideally not only to give travellers some respite but also to ‘rest the horses’ and it could be reasoned that it was ‘rest horse’ that eventually became ‘rest house’. Rest houses soon became ingrained within the hospitality culture of the country, used by the elite and later by the higher echelon of the public sector, where travel was compulsory and comfort imperative. One could surmise that the rest house culture is surely the genesis of the buoyant hospitality industry that now makes Sri Lanka one of the hottest destinations in the world.

At Zinc Journey Sigiriya, it’s the mystery of that majestic rock that yet holds the guest in awe. Steeped in history that speaks from the beginning of civilisation, the secrets held within the rock and the vestiges of the grand palace which was the haven of one of the most cruel yet clever ‘kings’ in the country, yet remains enigmatic. Some of his actions are recorded while others are shrouded in folklore as is the tale that Kasyapa, the son of King Dhatusena’s consort, drove away a group of hermits who had made the rock their home since the 3rd century BC.

But history does record that the young King may have had a touch of insanity stemming from fear, a hunger for power and a weakness of the flesh (he’s believed to have had 500 wives and concubines). That madness for power led Kasyapa to wall up his father to die a slow and painful death and seize the throne which belonged rightfully to his brother, Moggallana, who fled to India but later returned.

It is in fear for his life that Kasyapa ran to the monastery and decided that this rocky plateau would protect him. An ensuing battle saw Kasyapa, abandoned by his armies, commit suicide, though not before leaving an engineering and artistic legacy of extensive network of fortifications, vast landscaped gardens, yet functioning ponds, canals and fountains and the rock itself from which was hewed a colossal stone lion as the palace gateway which gave the rock its name, Sihagri, later called Sigiriya, with its canvas of world famous frescoes and 8th century poetry inscribed mirror wall.

It is this legacy of an ancient king, colonial habits, travellers’ tales and tangible wonderment that is well-entwined into the life and times of Zinc Journey Sigiriya. Whether you are adventurous, spirited, enthusiastic, relaxed, eco-oriented, a gastronomic connoisseur or avid historian, this boutique property is about authenticity, genuine hospitality and unique experiences. That’s the Zinc Journey ethos – one to be lived and to be experienced.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya is a Joint Venture of Ceylon Hotels Corporation and C G Hotels and Resorts.03

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Green light for five-star La Forteresse

La Forteresse (Private) Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Dhammika Perera-controlled Fortress Resorts PLC, will go ahead with its planned five-star property in Mirissa.

An application for the necessary approvals has been filed with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Bureau and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) and the company has already invested Rs. 364 million during FY16/17 towards the acquisition of land for the new hotel project.

The planning work on the property has already been completed in addition to land clearing and geographic investigations, according the Fortress Resorts’ latest annual report.

Additionally, architectural and structural engineering plans have also been completed and necessary applications have also been filed for water and electricity facilities.

Meanwhile approvals from the BOI have already been completed while Tourist Board officials have completed their initial reviews of the proposal as well as on-site reviews. Hence an official expressed confidence that the next phase of development will commence on schedule during the coming financial year.

The new venture will comprise a 66-room luxury resort featuring five-star class facilities and amenities set on a stunning piece of land on the popular Mirissa coastal region.

In recent years in particular, Mirissa has witnessed a remarkable transformation into a bustling new tourist hot-spot and we are extremely confident of the potential that this location will have to create another unique resort featuring the same seamless brand of tropical elegance for which the Fortress Resorts and Spas have become internationally renowned, the report said.

The Fortress Resort will also be closing operations from June 12 to July 25, 2017, as part of its ongoing renovation programme, which will see the complete reconstruction of our existing lobby to feature a timber finish and we will also use this time to modify the interior to add a further 30 rooms. (IH)

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First DoubleTree by Hilton upscale resort to open in Weerawila next year

  • KDU Adventures invests over Rs. 6 b to build 140-room resort Firm bullish on tourism, eyes three more hotel projects

  • KDU Group keen to list on CSE in the next five years Hilton says committed to contribute to SL’s travel and tourism

By Charumini de Silva

Global hospitality giant Hilton yesterday sealed a historic management agreement with KDU Adventures Ltd. to open its first iconic upscale 140-room DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarana Resort next year, with an investment of Rs. 6 billion.

The latest signing brings the current tally of Hilton pipeline hotels in Sri Lanka to seven properties, while this will be the first operating DoubleTree by Hilton property in the country.

The family-owned KDU Adventures Ltd. is a subsidiary of the KDU Group, which is the country’s largest tea producer with interests in hydropower, is now taking a bullish view on tourism and diversifying into it.

In a statement issued to mark the signing of the landmark agreement, Hilton Asia and Australia Senior Vice President Development Guy Phillips said: “As tourism in Sri Lanka continues to grow, expanding our footprint in developing towns, including Tissamaharama, supports our mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by being in destinations where our guests want to travel. The signing of DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila demonstrates our commitment to fill the existing gap of an international accommodation in the area, giving a clear first-mover advantage in offering our award-winning hospitality to both international and domestic tourists.”

KDU Group Chairman Saman Upasena said it was a mere idea of his to diversify into the tourism industry considering its growth potential in the country.

“We are privileged that a global leader like Hilton has agreed to manage Rajawarana Resort, which will be ready for operations early next year,” he added.

DFT-19-1KDU Group Chairman Saman Upasena (center left) and SEA and India Hilton Operations Vice President William Costley exchange the Agreement. Also present from left: KDU Group Deputy Chairman Thushan Upasena, KDU Group, Group Chief Executive Officer Susantha Pinto, Hilton Development Asia Director Kieran Bestall and KDU Group Director Deelaka Upasena – Pic by Ruwan Walpola

He was also upbeat about the developments taking place in Hambantota within the next few years as the Government has plans to build an industrial zone, where many foreign companies will set up their manufacturing bases.

Upasena also hinted that they aim to diversify into more sectors in the future and become more proactive in the corporate arena.

“Sri Lanka has always been an important market for us,” said Hilton’s Vice President of Operations, South East Asia and India William Costley, adding: “ We are grateful and humbled by the confidence and strength of our brands and really excited to work together and combine our expertise into the development of hospitality in Sri Lanka.”

He said the inking of this management agreement was another example of Hilton’s latest focus in finding the right strategic partners to do business with and expand their portfolio, in the right locations with the right brand.

“I am confident that this relationship will further develop as we identify other strategic locations in the country to expand Hilton and KDU’s portfolio of hotels,” he added.

Furthermore, he pointed out that DoubleTree by Hilton Rajawarana Resort is ideally placed for both domestic and international travellers and will be ready for operation in Q1 of next year.

Costley said Sri Lanka was an amazing country of diversity which was unique in Asia and globally and commended the country for attracting two million tourists last year and earning over $ 2 billion.

“Tourism will be an important, if not the most important, industry of Sri Lanka,” Costley said and expressed confidence in the country achieving the target of four million tourists by 2020.

Noting that all of Hilton’s brands are leaders in their respective segments, he said: “Today Hilton is among four of the top five global brands under development. More than one in five hotel rooms under construction globally is a Hilton branded hotel. Hilton wants to be the most hospitable company in the world by creating experiences for our guests, meaningful opportunities for team members, high values for owners and most importantly we want to give a positive impact to every community.”

Hilton was one of the first international hotel brands to enter Sri Lanka in 1987 and Costley reiterated that it was committed to contributing to the country’s growing travel and tourism sector as well as its social and economic progress.

KDU Group CEO Susantha Pinto told Daily FT that the firm has thus far invested around Rs. 4 billion and with the completion of the second phase total investment will be over Rs. 6 billion, which is funded internally by the company.

In addition to the property in Weerawila, he said the firm is now looking at three more hotel projects — a city hotel in Colombo and a lake front property in Dambulla, which they expect to brand under the umbrella of Rajawarana.

“In another five years’ time we are planning to list the company on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to raise additional funds and to further expand the company,” Pinto added.

DoubleTree by Hilton Senior Vice President and Global Head Dianna Vaughan, in a statement, said: “With a fast growing, global portfolio of more than 500 upscale properties, they were delighted to award their award-winning DoubleTree by Hilton brand as it is gaining traction in Sri Lanka. The DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila will mark the fourth upcoming DoubleTree by Hilton property in this emerging market. As the first upscale hotel in Weerawila, we look forward to delivering exceptional experiences to guests beginning with our signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie welcome.”

Located in the town of Tissamaharama, the resort currently consists of 80 rooms, including three suites and a Presidential Suite, with plans to expand to 140 rooms in the near future. The spacious and elegant banquet hall is ideal for the perfect celebration, be it a wedding, family gathering or corporate event. Located in close proximity to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, DoubleTree by Hilton Rajawarana Resort is centrally located within the reach of prominent tourist attractions in the vicinity, including the Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium, Udawalawe, Yala and Bundala National Parks, the Kataragama Temple, Kirinda and Wedihitikanda.

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Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing opens in Panadura

01Luxury comes to Panadura in the form of Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing, an all new property promising the best of lavish comforts with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The official opening of Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing took place on 4 June with the presence of Minister John Amaratunga and Paddy Withana, Chairman – SLTDA/SLTPB. Owned by Jie Zhong Jie Lanka Development Construction and Engineering Ltd., Jie Jie Beach is managed by Jetwing Hotels.

Break away from routine life and bask in the home of Sri Lankan hospitality, an easy alternative as Jie Jie by Jetwing is located one and a half hours away from Colombo. Placed on a glorious strip of beach, this tropical escape takes you into a world of its own with its ethnic design and open spaces. Being the largest luxury hotel in the area, Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing boasts of 180 rooms inclusive of Deluxe rooms and Suites with attached balconies and terraces overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean or the skyline of the city. These contemporary rooms are designed as such that guests are made to feel at ease in the comfort of the king-size beds, sitting area, air-conditioning, shower with hot and cold water, and much more.

Here, guests can find themselves savouring in the many gastronomic delights as the dining options vary from international cuisine with special attention given to distinct Southeast Asian flavours. Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing features two restaurants; an international restaurant serving buffet meals in local and Western fare, and a Chinese dining option dishing up authentic oriental delicacies named Golden Silk, manned by a Chinese chef. Feel free to satisfy your cravings here with the chefs being ever ready to prepare meals to your liking and be spoilt for choice when you indulge in our special Sunday lunch buffets.

For a more casual set up, the property houses a bar and karaoke lounge for those who wish to sing and dance whilst sipping on a casual drink. This is an ideal location to spend time and enjoy with your friends at the end of a hard day of work. You can also indulge in a more relaxed setting at the pool bar offering a wider range of cocktails and easy snacks. Switch off from the busy city life and embrace the beach breeze while watching the sunset at the pool bar.

Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing will be your go-to destination for your every celebration and event with a separate building dedicated to host your friends and family for a ceremony of your choice. The conference and banquet facilities are fully equipped to entertain large scale events at ease as the property houses four halls with glass decked interiors allowing you to have a backdrop of the glistening waters of the Indian Ocean. The banquet hall can accommodate up to 550 persons where large crowds can be entertained in a spacious setting. Your dream destination wedding can be hosted here with the best views and service offerings, which the property specialises in. There are also two conference halls and breakout rooms and one business centre, where your business arrangements can be met. From meetings to conferences and exhibitions, Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing encompasses unmatched spaces and services all of which is now not too far from the city.

With an expansive beach at your disposal and an inviting pool you can ease into to beat the heat, Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing allows you to unwind in seamless leisure. Heighten your restful stay by pampering yourself to a massage at the well-equipped in-house spa. If you wish to explore the city, feel free to visit archaeological sites in the vicinity from the Richmond castle to Pahiyangala or pay a visit to the historic Kalutara temple. The Bawa Trail is a must-do, where you are able to visit the Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunuganga or Bevis Bawa’s Brief Garden. A bike ride or village walk is the best way to spend time in Panadura.

Speaking at the press conference Minister John Amarutunga stated that there is no season in Sri Lanka – all 365 days are suitable for travelling and that Sri Lanka has everything a tourist is looking for. While admiring the design and construction of Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing the minster invited the investor to build many more hotels in the future. Jetwing Chairman Hiran Cooray went on to say that this property will be the largest that Jetwing will manage in the country. “We are privileged to be managing agents for the first property in Panadura and we have a few more hotels in the works to be opened in the near future,” he said.

Having constructed the Olympic Stadium in China in 2008 the Chairman of Jie Zhong Jie Lanka Development Construction and Engineering Ltd., Li Jian Guo was interested in building a hotel after a brief visit to Sri Lanka. “Within 18 months we had the soft opening of Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing. We wanted a professional body to manage and operate the hotel which is why we turned to Jetwing. We hope to invest on more properties in Sri Lanka with Jetwing,” he continued.

Pix by Kithsiri De Mel0204

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Debug Hospitality and Leisure launches Amber Collection in Sri Lanka

A pioneering concept to bring a new dimension of relaxation into the local leisure sector


The leisure arm of the renowned Sri Lankan brand Debug – Debug Hospitality and Leisure Ltd. – has officially unveiled ‘The Amber Collection’, the newest high-end offering by the company for leisure and business travellers. The collection consists of boutique service apartments called ‘Amber FR 16’ and a fleet of luxury houseboats ‘Amber Flow’. Debug Hospitality and Leisure officially unveiled this product at the recently concluded Sancharaka Udawa, the exhibition organised by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) to promote niche tourism products and services in Sri Lanka.

Expressing his views about their latest offering, Debug Hospitality and Leisure General Manager Chiranjeewa Amarasinghe said, “Each service apartment and houseboat of The Amber Collection have undergone a carefully thought through process of designing and structuring. It has helped us to present our customers with the best experience as well as strengthen Debug’s presence in the local hospitality sector with a high quality product. Both the service apartments and houseboats have been built with careful attention to detail, ensuring your stay is super comfortable with a plethora of amenities. I believe this new collection by Debug will bring leisure seekers and business travellers to the perfect getaway to enjoy a hassle-free day with a touch of class and calmness, offering a new dimension of relaxation.”

Located in the heart of Colombo, the spacious Amber FR 16 service apartments consist of four two-bedroom apartments and four studio apartments. With a varied range of facilities – a modern kitchenette, internet access, and tea/coffee making facilities to name a few, these service apartments are great for relaxation and work for any given moment. With its competitive pricing and central location to the country’s leading convenience stores, restaurants, shopping malls and entertainment venues, Amber FR 16 service apartment is an investment with a real value for its money. Debug’s novel concept in providing the ideal space and location to host an important meeting or create an everlasting memory of the perfect holiday with your loved one, is going to create a new horizon of opportunities for the Sri Lankan real estate market.

Debug Hospitality and Leisure will also launch ‘Amber Flow’, a fleet of luxury houseboats under The Amber Collection. The state of the art houseboats will have three 35m2 rooms with key facilities and excellently cater to all locals and tourists who love to savour a unique time by gliding over the picturesque waterways of the country, offering a perfect blend of modern lifestyle and experiential living. The first set of Amber Flow houseboats will roam the serene Bolgoda Lake at the reputed club house – The Marina, welcoming all abroad to experience an unforgettable stay.

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Sooriya Resort & Spa, latest addition to luxury hotels in Sri Lanka


Set on a hillock in a picture-perfect destination on the south-eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Sooriya Resort & Spa is a new four-star class deluxe hotel where the pristine golden beaches and diversity of wildlife meets to offer peace, tranquility and harmony to its guests.

The hotel located in Rekawa, Tangalle comprises 36 deluxe, luxury rooms and suites that offer stunning 180-degrees view of the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean with the privilege of having an access to a secluded private beach area and has an Ayurveda spa, fitness centre, outdoor pool and much more to make it the perfect venue for a relaxing, exhilarating and exciting get-away.

It has a lounge bar, dining restaurant with spectacular views of the ocean, conference facilities, 24-hour front desk and security, free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, wheelchair accessible whilst its rooms feature a variety of comforts fitted with modern technology and offers a spacious balcony with comfortable outdoor furniture. Rooms are decorated in color palettes to soothe the eyes, decorated with tasteful furnishings and offer the best in contemporary styles

The hotel is conveniently located close to many must-see destinations such as the most famous national park Yala which has the richest and most varied collection of wildlife in the country and known to have the densest leopard population anywhere in the world, Mulgirigalla – the finest ancient monument with an array of beautifully decorated ancient cave temples, Kataragama – one of the holiest sites on the island, held sacred by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike and pilgrims come here all year round; the whale-watching capital Mirissa also known for its coastal beach; country’s most perfectly preserved colonial town Galle Fort; among many others.

The hotel offers unparalleled guest services, including transportation, business services, beach access and airport drops to name a few. Bike hiring is available to guests and an array of activities such as cycling, fishing, etc. are on offer.

Rekawa is a fishing village with mesmerizing beaches on one end making it an ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming, set on a peaceful shore and surrounded by wild life nature at its best. Home to various types of aquatic life, Rekawa is a nesting hub for turtles. Further there are many turtle hatcheries close to the beach strip, dedicated in protecting turtle nests. Rekawa is undoubtedly one of the most serene and rewarding experiences imaginable.

From vast expanses of sandy shores to lagoons, to marshy habitats, to coral reefs and mangroves, Sooriya Resort & Spa places outstanding importance to protect and preserve the nature while making a promise to make the guest’s stay a lifelong memorable one.

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