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Aitken Spence Hotels Bags Gold Once Again at the 50th CA Annual Report Awards

10 Jan

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC emerged victorious once again walking away with the Gold Award in the Hospitality Sector category at the prestigious of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards.

The golden jubilee of the annual report awards was held recently at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The competition which covers 22 sectors from small business categories such as NGOs, clubs, associations to large conglomerates had a total of 130 organisations submit their annual reports for the coveted awards this year.

The annual competition formulated to encourage transparency and accountability in financial reporting in the corporate sector recognizes companies which have demonstrated excellence in transparency, accountability and good governance via their annual reports. The evaluations were conducted under a stringent three stage system where the shortlisted reports were subjected to an industry expert panel review; the reports selected for the final stage were evaluated by a final panel of judge’s chaired the Central Bank Governor.

Mr. Susith Jayawickrema, Managing Director & Mr.Tilak Gunawardana, Vice President, Finance accepting the award & certification

Mr. Susith Jayawickrema, Managing Director & Mr.Tilak Gunawardana, Vice President, Finance accepting the award & certification

Sustainability, transparency and accountability are stringently practiced at Aitken Spence Hotels and winning this accolade provides a clear indication on its commitment to report on its economic, social and environmental impacts. “We see corporate sustainability as part of our core business strategy and ensure that our commitment is filtered down to every operation. This commendation reflects Aitken Spence Hotels’ track record of commitment to corporate accountability and championing sustainable tourism by producing industry best practices. We will continue to stay committed to delivering exceptional sustainable experiences to our guests whilst continuing to our stringent practices in corporate governance”, said Mr. Susith Jayawickrama, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels manages a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. The company’s expertise in hotel design, building and management is complimented by its dedication and commitment to excellence. Located in some of the key tourist locations, each of the properties cater to a diverse client base.

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Aitken Spence Travels the only DMC to be awarded Gold from PATA

30 Jul

Sri Lanka’s largest Destination Management Company, Aitken Spence Travels will be presented the prestigious Gold Award at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards 2014 ceremony, taking place on 19th of September, at the Diamond Island City Hall in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh for its “Elpitiya Plantations Excursions” in the Environment – Ecotourism Project category. Identified from amongst 181 entries from 66 organizations and individuals worldwide, Aitken Spence Travels has been recognized for its concept on tourism innovation and excellence.
PATA is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The PATA Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment; and Heritage and Culture.

“We are pleased to be the recipient of this prestigious award as the only Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka for the 2014 PATA awards.  Aitken Spence Travels is always thinking innovatively while placing importance on sustaining the environment that we operate in. Having developed this culture of differentiating ourselves, this award will inspire us to continue our efforts and fulfill the traveler’s needs” noted Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

The award applauds Aitken Spence Travels for successfully transforming the inconspicuous Elpitiya town – that has originated as a result of plantation industry, to an experiential tourism destination. With emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable practices, ‘Elpitiya Plantations Excursion’ is designed to offer the traveler a memorable experience with its incorporation of activities involving local culture and environment. A trek through the rubber and tea plantation with various native practices such as ‘tapping the rubber tree’ and ‘plucking tea’ contributes to the authentic experience and affirms why the outing is distinctive.

The excursion benefits all segments of stakeholders involved, especially the local community, as a result of healthy interactions between the traveler and the locals. Enriching their livelihood, building strong bonds through cultural exchange of practices has allowed Aitken Spence Travels to place Elpitiya on the map for eco-tourism.

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With a significant presence in Maldives and fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka. Partnered with the world’s largest name in travel, TUI Travel Plc, and with over third decade of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business. With the commitment towards offering sustainable tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is endowed the Carbon Neutral status by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund and maintains ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certifications.

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Aitken Spence Hotels Bags Gold Once Again at the CA Annual Report Awards

19 Dec

CA Acceptance Image CA 2013 Group ImageSri Lanka’s leading resort operator, Aitken Spence Hotels walked away with the Gold Award in the Hospitality Sector category at the recently concluded Institute of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards. The much anticipated event with its forty nine year old history was held recently under the distinguished patronage of Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa as Chief Guest.

The annual competition formulated to encourage transparency and accountability in financial reporting in the corporate sector recorded the highest number of registrations this year with a total of 126 entries vying for the coveted awards. This year’s competition revolved around the inspiring theme ‘One Destination – Towards Integrated Reporting’. The Institute of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards has been the focal point in inculcating financial reporting discipline in the corporate sector.

“We recognize that transparency and good governance play an extremely vital role and it is encouraging to note that due to global trends most companies are working to ensure that these vital areas are addressed. This win highlights the importance Aitken Spence Hotels gives to sustainability, transparency and accountability and provides a clear indication that the company’s ongoing commitment to report on its economic, social and environmental impacts” said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels manages a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. The company’s expertise in hotel design, building and management is complimented by its dedication and commitment to excellence. Located in some of the key tourist locations, each of the properties cater to a diverse clientele.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC Emerges Winners Once Again at the National Business Excellence Awards

3 Dec

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC emerged victorious at the National Business Excellence Awards presented by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka by being adjudged the winner in the Hospitality Sector. Aitken Spence Hotels, a pioneer in the local tourism industry, who has continually been in the forefront of developing efficient hotel energy management systems also emerged winners in the Excellence in Environmental Sustainability category.

 

 

Aitken Spence Hotels operates a chain of 25 hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. With many years in the hotels industry, the company’s expertise in hotel design, building and management is complimented by its dedication and commitment to excellence in everything on offer.

 

“We are delighted to be the recipient of this award, it is truly rewarding to be recognized for our continued commitment towards being a responsible business while contributing to the economic progress of the country”, said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Aitken Spence Hotels.  Aitken Spence Hotels has been pioneers in driving sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka.

 

As a measure of further commitment to the cause, Aitken Spence Hotels is participant to the United Nationals Global Compact  and undertakes the social obligation towards sustainable business practice. Aitken Spence Hotels align its operation and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.  As the leaders in “green” tourism, Aitken Spence Hotels has formulated strategies to ensure the protection of the destination, thus enabling it to retain its natural and cultural appeal over time.

 

Aitken Spence chain boasts of eco-friendly properties, such as Heritance Kandalama, situated in close proximity to two UNESCO world heritage sites and Desert Nights Camp, Al Wasil, Oman, rated as one of the top ten desert retreats in the world. The chain’s Heritance Tea Factory has been voted by the Independent, UK as one of the ‘Top Five Factory Hotels’ in the world and one of the best 100 places to stay in the world.

 

The National Business Excellence Awards is an annual award competition conducted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) with a view to recognizing business enterprises, which have demonstrated excellence in business, whilst contributing to the economic progress of the country. Applications for the awards were technically evaluated by a team of highly qualified professionals and the final selection was made by an expert Panel of Judges.

 

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Heritance Presents Junior Pastry Chef 2013 : A roaring success

17 Sep

Junior Pastry Chef 2013, presented by Heritance Hotels and Resorts, recently concluded the inaugural competition of its kind on the 18th of August 2013. This exciting edutainment event targeted at kids with a keen interest in culinary experiences, achieved its objective of educating aspiring young chefs and providing them with a platform to display their acquired culinary skills.

The competition was held over a period of three days which tested these little Chefs strengths and abilities. The weekend’s activities kicked off with a training programme conducted by celebrated Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe where he taught the participants the art of sugar crafting and decorating. The young participants were then given the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skill by making animals and figures from fondant. These individual creations were then mounted onto a cake which was auctioned for Rs. 167,000. This money will be donated to Anula Wijerama Children’s Home, Balapitiya.

Upon completion of the training workshops the participants were placed in groups and the semi final round commenced. The 10 best creations in the semi finals qualified for the final leg of Heritance Junior Pastry Chef. The creation of the ten finalists were judged by Chef Gerard Mendis, Chef Madawa Weerabaddana, Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, Chef Srimal Kulatunge .

Khashish Naraindas was adjudged the Heritance Junior Pastry Chef where she won a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 and a stay for her family at Heritance Kandalama. Sasandi De Silva was 1st runner up and clinched a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a stay at Heritance Tea Factory. The second runner up was Hana Cassim and she took home a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and a stay at The Sands by Aitken Spence.

The event was an initiative of the renowned culinary team of Heritance Ahungalla, the reigning winners of the Best Culinary Team, Best Hotel Team and Best Regional Team awards conferred by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka. The team led by Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, the only Chef in the World to have won nine Gold medals for individual events at the Culinary Olympics and the Culinary World Cup have received extensive recognition both internationally and locally for their culinary expertise.

The concept for hosting a competition of this nature was encouraged by the booming tourism industry in Sri Lanka and the growing need for chefs in the culinary world. “The competition was a success and we hope that through this programme, we inspired these young individuals to pursue their aspirations in the culinary field”, said, Mr. Refhan Razeen, General Manager, Heritance Ahungalla.

“We experienced world class service from the moment we arrived and the positivity and energy that surrounded the property was noteworthy. Although we were at Heritance Ahungalla to participate in a competition the staff at the hotel made the entire experience a truly memorable one and we look forward to our future visits to your other properties,” commented Mr. Mahesh Naraindas, proud father of Khashish, winner of Junior Pastry Chef 2013.

The event was made possible by the Main Sponsor for the event Stassens Group, media partners Maharaja Broadcasting Corporation and online booking partner Trekurious.
Khashish Naraindas

Creation of a participant

Heritance Ahungalla Once Again Home to the Best Culinary Team in Sri Lanka

6 Aug

Sri Lanka’s premier beach resort Heritance Ahungalla, emerged as the Most Outstanding Culinary Team in Sri Lanka after competing against both international and domestic star-class city and resort hotels at the 15th Culinary Art Competition held from the 2nd to the 5th of August. Heritance Hotels dominated the competition with Heritance Kandalama being adjudged the first runner up in the overall competition. Organized by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka, the culinary competition is part of the industry’s largest food and trade exhibition.

Maintaining its reputation for offering the best cuisine in the country, Aitken Spence Hotels won an unprecedented 150 medals including the prestigious award for the Most Outstanding Culinary Team in Sri Lanka.

There were 25 categories for the medals and the Aitken Spence medal tally displayed the sheer dominance the resort chain’s chefs had over its competitors in the field. World acclaimed Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe – Group Skills Development Chef, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels who led the team along with Chef Lalith Gunesekera – Consultant Chef, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements and Chef Kasun Premachandra, Executive Chef, Heritance Ahungalla whose continuous training and motivation guided the participants, were jubilant along with the teams from Aitken Spence Hotels who collectively won 16 special awards out of a total of 29 special awards. The special awards included the following: Most Outstanding Chef – Chef Y.K.P De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Pastry Chef – Chef W.M.J.A Bandara, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Apprentice – Chef L.H.S.N.R De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Bartender Mixologist – H.D.S.N Jayasekera , Heritance Ahungalla, Best Beer Cocktail –H.D.S.N Jayasekera, Heritance Ahungalla, Nescafe Creative Coffee- S.P.S Fernando, Heritance Ahungalla, , Best Sunquick Mocktail- H.D.S.N Jayasekera, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Wedding Cake Structure – Chef S G Wijesundera – Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Apprentice Hot Cooking Live – Chef L.H.S.N.R De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Plated Appetizer – Chef T.M.P Peiris , Heritance Ahungalla, Best Sri Lankan Meal – Chef Krishna Kumar and Chef C J Kumarasinghe, Heritance Kandalama, Best Arrack Cocktail – N.H Jayasinghe, Hilltop Hotel, Best Regional Hotel- Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Hotel- Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Culinary Team 1st Runner – Heritance Kandalama and the prestigious Most Outstanding Culinary Team – Heritance Ahungalla.

“I am tremendously proud of the achievements of our team, walking away with 150 medals from a competition such as this is a tremendous achievement. We constantly strive to be the best and are firm believers of ensuring that our future generation is provided with the knowledge required to take on the baton when required. Winning accolades such as this, year after year reaffirms our stance on the sustainable development of our future generations”, said Mr. Gemunu Goonewardene, Vice President, Food and Beverage, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka from their modest beginnings in 1988 has emerged as the premier professional body of culinary professionals in the hospitality trade.
A platform for recognizing true culinary talents, the competition symbolizes the pinnacle of excellence as hundreds of practitioners in the food & beverage industry in the country gathers to prove their mettle.

“Aitken Spence Hotels cater to a diverse market segment and are famed for its exquisite food and culinary art. Over a period of time the reputation gained in this specialisation has helped to position the chain of hotels as among the best in the region.
We recognize that our greatest asset is our staff at all levels who are loyal, dedicated and committed and work together as one team assisting and encouraging each other to be the best.” said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels is the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives with a portfolio of hotels in multiple locations in India and Oman. Its range of international award-wining properties, management & culinary expertise and environmental commitment has set industry benchmarks both domestically and internationally.

Most Outstanding Culinary Team – Heritance Ahungalla

Exterior shot of Heritance Ahungalla

Aitken Spence Managed Desert Nights Camp in Oman, Voted as One of the World’s Best

13 Jun

Desert Nights Camp, operated by Aitken Spence Hotels has been voted by the clients of Studiosus as one of the best hotels in their global portfolio. It also won  the Studiosus quality award for the year 2012. Studiosus is one of Germany’s leading tour operators offering outbound guided tours to a multitude of international destinations.

 

The accolade was awarded on the exceptional levels of service experienced by guests during their stay at the Desert Nights Camp gaining recognition as one of the best hotels in the world.

Located in Wahiba Sands in Oman this rustic beauty is surrounded by peaks of sand dunes, offering a natural protection from the temperamental sun of the Omani desert. The luxurious detached tented suites provide a lavish ‘chance of a lifetime’ experience. The camp blends in harmoniously with its environment and offers ‘zero’ disturbance to its guests. The unique desert experience provided in combination with an array of ‘wine & dine’ options enables one to capture the wonders of this property within its desert dwelling.
 
“We are extremely proud of this tremendous achievement. The team at Desert  Nights Camp led by Mr. Anurin Jansen prides themselves in providing exceptional service and winning accolades such as this attests to the team’s commitment” said Mr. Srinith De Silva, Chief Operating Officer for Oman for Aitken Spence Hotels.

 

Aitken Spence Hotels, the first Sri Lankan hotel operator to enter the Maldives in1993 and India  in 2007 broke new ground once again when they ventured into Oman in 2009 entering into a management agreement with Oman Hotels and Tourism Company (OHTC).

 

 “Aitken Spence prides itself in delivering incredible experiences and excellent standards of hospitality. With the vision, support and cooperation extended to us by Mr. Maqbool  Hameed Al Saleh, Chairman of OHTC, we have been able to  achieve great feats in Oman” , said Mr. Malin Hapuoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels. 

 

Aitken Spence is the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives. The Desert Nights Camp is operated under the management of Aitken Spence Hotels. Aitken Spence Hotels operates 5 hotels in the Sultanate of Oman.

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Congratulations!

30 May

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Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara Bags Global Award for Best Ayurveda Resort

22 Apr

Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara was recognized as the “Best Ayurveda Resort” at the 4th FIT Health and Wellness Awards held at ITB 2013 in Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade fair.

 

The FIT Health and Wellness Awards are presented in three categories- “Best Ayurveda Resort”, “Best Health and Spa Resort” and “Best Active Wellness Resort”. FIT Reisen is Europe’s largest tour operator for wellness holidays. The accolade was awarded based on guest experiences with similar resorts across the globe.

 

ITB Berlin 2013 is the world’s largest meeting point of international tourism decision- makers and business leaders. The global tourism industry acclaims this summits’ dual function of a travel trade fair, to be the largest in the world and it acts as a global platform for diverse resorts to present itself.

 

Since time immemorial, man has been engaged in the pursuit of achieving and maintaining an optimum state of health. The emergence of Ayurveda in 600 BC as a natural way of healing has grown in global popularity as it has evolved into a scientific system of holistic healing. The resorts novel delivery of a professional Ayurvedic experience without the compromise of luxury has enabled it to carve its niche in the minds of wellness enthusiasts globally. This has helped Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara pave its way to been regarded as the “Best Ayurveda Resort” per global standards.

 

Heritance resorts have been conscious about sustainable tourism practices and their commitment towards this is clearly visible in the unique designs and sustainable processes customized and implemented at each resort. Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara’s continued efforts to promote energy efficiency have provided a distinctive leverage against similar concept resorts. “Ayurveda has evolved into a holistic lifestyle system and it is viewed as a system of treatment and comprehensive health care. This view has been conceptualized to every aspect of the guest experience at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara which has earned the resort global acknowledgement”, said Mr. Samantha Gunarathne, General Manager, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara. A maintained promise of stringent standards of quality together with professional Ayurvedic treatments prepared by trained professionals has enhanced the delivered guest experience.

 

“The maintenance of constant innovation into adapting the traditional rituals of the Ayurvedic practice has helped Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara offer a differentiated unmatched experience. A consistent trend across the Heritance portfolio is the ability to incorporate the rich culture and tradition into the processes adopted by our resorts. This remains the core responsibility for our success”, said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

 

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator and one of the largest international hotel operators in the Maldives. The group also manages a portfolio of hotels in India and Oman. The company’s premier resorts operate under the brand Heritance. Image

Aitken Spence Hotels Sweeps the Board at National Business Excellence Awards

18 Dec

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC emerged victorious at the National Business Excellence Awards (NBEA) presented by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka by walking away with the Overall Silver Award, Hospitality Category Gold Award, Large Sector Gold Award and the Runners Up in the Capacity Builder Category.

The National Business Excellence Awards is an annual award competition conducted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) with a view to recognizing business enterprises, which have demonstrated excellence in business, whilst contributing to the economic progress of the country. Applications for the awards were technically evaluated by a team of highly qualified professionals and the final selection was made by an expert Panel of Judges.

“Aitken Spence Hotels’ enduring efforts in making tourism a sustainable resource is made tangible by winning accolades such as this. Winning four awards at the National Business Excellence Awards attests to the company’s commitment of delivering exceptional sustainable experiences to their guests”, said Mr. Tilak Gunawardana, Vice President – Finance of Aitken Spence Hotels.

“We are extremely proud of our achievement, sweeping four top awards at the National Business Excellence Awards is a noteworthy feat. Our team has made sustainability and integral part of our business operations as we recognize that sustainability is the only way forward. Being recognised for contribution we make to the economic development of the country while practicing sustainable business practices reflects on our commitment to corporate accountability and championing sustainable tourism”, said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels chain of hotels, located in strategic locations in Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Oman caters to a diverse market segment and is famed for its stellar service, exquisite food and world recognised sustainable initiatives. Over a period of time the reputation gained has helped to position the chain of hotels as one the best in the region.

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