Heritance Tea Factory will be in the limelight once again at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards 2012 ceremony, taking place on 21st of April inKuala Lumpur,Malaysia accepting the Grand Award in the Heritage and Culture category. PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: marketing; education and training; environment; and heritage and culture. Heritance Tea Factory is the only hotel to be presented with a Grand Award, the other winners being the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, for Education and Training; Tourism Authority of Thailand for Environment; and Tourism New Zealand for Marketing. Heritance Tea Factory is the only hotel to be recognised as a Grand Award winner amongst 180 entries from 79 organisations world wide at the PATA Gold Awards 2012.
The award lauds Heritance Tea Factory for successfully transforming an abandoned tea factory building into an eco-friendly, world-class hotel while incorporating the culture of the locality into its operations.
Heritance Tea Factory the highest elevated hotel in Sri Lanka, situated 2 km above sea level was re-branded as a ‘Heritance’ property, Aitken Spence Hotels’ premier brand of resorts in late 2009 after a complete refurbishment. Recognising that a hotel does not stand in isolation but is part of its social and ecological environment, the group wanted a name that conveyed its commitment to the local community as well as to the expectations of discerning guests. Thus: Heritance – a merging of heritage and inheritance. The embracing of inheritance in the name acknowledges an appreciation for the inherited locality and environment of every Heritance property. It signifies a responsibility to safeguard and enhance for the future all that is inherited. The essence of Heritance is expressed in the service excellence and the local flavour, warmth and involvement that are hallmarks of a Heritance Hotel. It conveys a sense of duty for sustaining the natural resources of the locality of each property.
The idea of turning the tea factory on a hilltop towering over Hethersett village into a hotel was that of Aitken Spence director G C Wickremsinghe. Since it opened in 1996 it has become one of the world’s most unusual places for a holiday where one can truly experience life as it were on a tea estate during the colonial era. This depicts the true essence of a Heritance property where guests are able to experience the locality and community that surrounds the hotel.
“We are delighted to be the recipient of this prestigious award. Heritance Tea Factory has been able to very successfully project its historical and novel charm while still providing exquisite service and a world-class product to the discerning traveler. Receiving this award from PATA reaffirms our stance”, said Mr. Roshalal Perera, Executive General Manager, Heritance Tea Factory.
At Heritance Tea Factory addressing guests’ concern for conserving the environment is paramount. Hot water and central heating are provided by biomass from locally farmed gliricidia wood instead of from atmosphere-polluting, imported diesel while waste and water management is based on sustainable recycling processes; vegetables are organically grown or sourced locally, generating income for the area. Through its Welfare Society, the Hotel sponsors community development projects.
In order for the guests to experience the locality many excursions have been designed incorporating the local culture and environment. Guests can stroll on their own eco walks to explore the locality or join in organised trekking three times a day through the nearby Kudawatte jungle watching for birds and wild animals. The Heritance Tea Factory experience invites guests to take part in tea plucking and see the tea they have plucked being processed in the hotel’s Micro Tea Factory and have it presented to them in a packet the next morning. Other activities include mountain biking; mini golf; cultural events with the village community; and being pampered in a spa with a stunning view of the lush tea plantations.
“The essence of the Heritance brand is to incorporate service excellence and the local flavour and warmth in every one of our properties. It is overwhelming to be recognized by PATA for practicing what we truly believe in. We have once again putSri Lankaon the map by being the only hotel to be recognised as a Grand Award winner amongst a multitude of world wide applicants”, said Mr.Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.
Aitken Spence Hotels operates a chain of 25 hotels and resorts inSri Lanka,Maldives,IndiaandOman. The group has set precedence to other hotels on how they too can be effective responsible tourism players by contributing in terms of conserving the natural environment, protecting bio diversity, empowering local communities, supporting livelihoods dependent on tourism, preserving local traditions, arts and crafts and mitigating climate change especially by using bio mass as renewable energy.
The company’s premier resorts operate under Heritance Hotels & Resorts. The award-winning Heritance Hotels & Resorts portfolio consists of Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara.