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Heritance Hotels Achieves Travelife Gold Award

18 Mar

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Heritance Hotels, Sri Lanka’s leading chain of resorts, owned and managed by Aitken Spence Hotels is once again in the forefront of sustainability with all hotels in its portfolio being awarded the Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations Gold award. Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme – assesses a property’s performance in managing social, environmental and economic impacts. The Gold award achieved by Heritance Tea Factory, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Ahungalla is a testament to the chain’s deep commitment to sustainability.

Travelife is a practical tool which assists properties to monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts. The scheme which is supported by some of the largest tour operators in the industry helps hotels cut costs and increase sales, by improved sustainability. To gain Travelife Gold certification the hotel must meet the 150 sustainability criteria set by the scheme. This includes environmental issues, such as minimising waste and use of energy, water and chemicals, as well as taking positive action on social issues, such as employee welfare, working with the local community, child protection and human rights. Hotels must display how they are helping to support local businesses and protect local traditions and wildlife.

The Heritance Hotels portfolio underwent a stringent audit process which focussed on energy saving practices, waste management, emission and environmental sustainability principles followed by each Hotel. The audit results are scored on Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on the degree of the Hotels commitment towards the environment and locality in which it operates. Achieving Gold status is not an easy feat and it is a remarkable achievement that the entire chain achieved this accolade.

Heritance Hotels, a pioneer in practicing and promoting sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka, has taken numerous initiatives in ensuring that energy consuming assets have been managed effectively and energy conserving technology has been implemented at each resort. Heritance Ahungalla, one of Sri Lanka’s leading beach resorts, was the first hotel in Sri Lanka to receive the ISO 50001:2011 certification. Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, was the first net metered hotel in Sri Lanka and Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Kandalama were the first in the hospitality industry to utilize a biomass gasifier as a renewable energy source. Apart from the significant systems implemented at the resorts, all resorts use Sewage Treated Plant (STP) water for irrigation and have replaced incandescent lighting with CFL and LED lights.

The 7R recycling program practiced by all resorts in the chain strives for zero waste to the environment. All waste produced is recycled or disposed of with no impact to the environment in which each hotel operates. Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory have in-house green pavilions and eco centers where training is provided to guests and the community on the benefits and importance of recycling and reducing the impacts on the environment.

Heritance Kandalama has been identified as a bio diversity hot spot with surveys revealing that the 170 acres of owned and 50 acres of leased land preserved by the Hotel has 43 species of mammals, 173 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 82 species of butterflies and 125 floral species including trees and climbers.

Heritance Hotels is closely linked to each community it operates in with over 40% of its staff being employed from the local communities. In addition facilities such as the Arts and Crafts center at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara are provided for local craftsmen to showcase their talents and keep traditional crafts alive. This also adds to the local economy by ways of added profits to the community and promotion of local culture.

“We are extremely passionate about practicing social and environmental strategies and it is indeed motivating to be recognised for our achievements in this area. Our team constantly strives to ensure that we keep challenging ourselves and having gone through the stringent audit process it is encouraging to note that we have been benchmarked against other international star performers and have been awarded the highest accolade in the scheme”, said Mr.Susith Jayawickrama, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Heritance Hotels and Resorts, the premier brand of Aitken Spence Hotels operate a portfolio of four unique properties in scenic locations across Sri Lanka. Heritance Kandalama was named by The Observer of UK as one of the “Icons of Modern Hotel Design” and Travel + Leisure calls it one of the leading green hotels of the world.  Heritance Tea Factory was voted amongst the “100 Best Places to Stay in the World” by Sunday Times UK and was nominated in the list of “Top 5 Factory Hotels in the World” by The Independent, UK. The chain of hotels has been continuously recognized as a pioneer in sustainable tourism and continuously strives to sustain and innovate processes that reduce the impact of its operation on its surroundings.

Aitken Spence Hotels joins the digital revolution with its app for iPads

23 May

Aitken Spence Hotels broke new ground recently with the launch of its first digital application for iPads. The application was designed to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio spread across four diverse destinations; and covers the fundamental facets used by guests to decide on their preferred hotel or resort.

 

A holistic integration of the information of 21 hotels is presented in an interactive seamless platform enabling ease of navigation for the user. The app provides a brief description of each hotel affording guests a glimpse to the roots of the property. The types of accommodation that can be enjoyed by guests are also listed with pictorial representations of the room and its amenities. Information on hotel facilities, dining options, event spaces and excursions can be accessed at the tip of a finger. The information is complimented by an extensive gallery complimenting the sensory journey one engages with when browsing the app. It also provides a unified platform for feedback and reservation inquiries creating easy interaction between Aitken Spence Hotels and potential guests.

 

“The digital revolution has created a fundamental need for businesses to evolve their practices. The launch of an iPad app for Aitken Spence Hotels is one of the many initiatives lined up to evolve our practices to offer our guests an engaging and seamless experience The app is the perfect tool to create brand awareness amongst tour operators, destination management companies and tourists from around the world. We plan to evolve the services that can be offered through the app creating ease of access to the modern traveler” says Mr. Althaf Mohamed Ali, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator and the largest international hotel operator 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.

 

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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.

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

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

Heritance Ahungalla Bags Gold at National Green Awards

5 Dec

Heritance AhungallaHeritance Hotels was once again in the spotlight when Heritance Ahungalla was presented with the Gold Award at the National Green Awards concluded recently at the BMICH. Heritance Ahungalla has successfully taken over the baton from Heritance Kandalama, no doubt one of the greenest hotels on the planet who was awarded the Gold Award in the Large Scale Hotel category in 2011.

Sri Lanka’s entrepreneurs, industrialists, and other stakeholders who contribute their share for environmental conservation and anti pollution were recognized for their excellence in green practice, strategy and products. Organized by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), The National Green Awards scheme was initiated in order to provide an alternative system to controlling pollution and greening the environment instead of the existing command and control approaches and education & awareness programmes. The main aim of the all island programme is to promote sustainable management of the environment in order to achieve a green country through a clean green environment.

Hon. President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion which was held for the second consecutive year. Forty nine awards were presented under 16 categories with environmentally-friendly organizations being selected by an expert panel of judges after a lengthy review of their performance.

Heritance Ahungalla, a hotel committed to sustainable practices has been recognized both locally and internationally for service excellence, culinary expertise as well as its sustainability initiatives. The Hotel was certified for Energy Management System ISO 50001:2011 and was recognized as the first resort in the world to receive the certification. The Heritance Ahungalla Team consciously makes efforts to conserve energy and preserve the ecological balance around its stunning property. To minimise social risk in the environment the hotel operates, Heritance Ahungalla offers internships that also helps to build community relations. The hotel donates generously to the local community particularly to help children and elder care programmes.

“We at Aitken Spence Hotels have set a perfect balance of practicing sustainable tourism while ensuring our commitment to service excellence is maintained. It is a tremendous achievement that all our properties in Sri Lanka have sustainability policies which are adhered to stringently which has resulted in all our local hotels including Hotel Hilltop and Bandarawela Hotel attaining the prestigious Earth Check Silver status. We will continue to drive our commitment towards a sustainable operation with a sustainability focus that transcends beyond mere operational to one that is strategic, we seek to create an organization-wide culture that in turn will inspire individuals to act as catalysts for global change”, said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.
Aitken Spence Hotels 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 consisting of Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara.